NFL Betting: Patriots -130 Remain Atop the AFC Championship Race

Jason Lake

Friday, November 20, 2015 6:13 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 6:13 PM UTC

In the AFC, there are the New England Patriots, and there's everyone else. The NFL odds say the Patriots are more likely than not to defend their conference crown.

Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 18: 39-34-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 22-29 Total

The last time we saw the New England Patriots, they were pulling yet another rabbit out of their hat. Down 26-24 to the New York Giants (+7 at home) with under two minutes remaining, and having already dodged a bullet when video replay overturned an Odell Beckham Jr. touchdown catch, the Patriots drove far enough for Stephen Gostkowski to nail a 54-yard field goal with one second on the clock. Final score: New England 27, New York 26.

With the win, the Patriots stay undefeated at 9-0 (5-3-1 ATS), and they're still the top team on the futures market by a fairly wide margin. The NFL odds for Super Bowl 50 have New England pegged at around +300; for the AFC Championship, the Patriots are outright favorites at around –130. The word inevitable is being thrown around quite liberally these days, but the defending champs have a way of making these coin flips land in their favor.


Eight Years After
It's pretty clear that the Patriots have outperformed everyone else in the league thus far. Their efficiency numbers at Football Outsiders did take a hit after that Giants game, though, falling from +40.0 percent DVOA to +34.5 percent. Equating this team with the magical 2007 Patriots is a bit of a stretch – that team finished the regular season at +52.9 percent DVOA. But this is still one of the best football teams ever put together.

Or at least it was. Injuries are chipping away at New England's air of inevitability; WR Julian Edelman (foot) is the latest casualty, joining RB Dion Lewis (knee) and several offensive lineman on the sidelines. The betting public doesn't seem to care, though, which only further damages whatever value the Patriots have as a viable NFL pick.


Hold Your Horses
On the other hand, New England's top competition in the AFC took a step back in Week 10. The Cincinnati Bengals (8-1 SU, 7-1-1 ATS) are no longer undefeated after losing 10-6 to the Houston Texans (+10 away) last Monday, and the Denver Broncos (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS) are in big trouble after Peyton Manning fell apart in a 29-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5 away). That leaves both teams well behind the Patriots at around +400 on the AFC Championship futures market.

There are only three other teams in the AFC with winning records through Week 10, and of those teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4 SU, 6-3-1 ATS) have the best shot of winning the conference at around +850. But fans haven't quite given up yet on the Indianapolis Colts (4-5 SU and ATS), who are still on top of the awful AFC South. Maybe QB Andrew Luck will get back on track when he returns from his lacerated kidney in 4-6 weeks – if it isn't already too late by then. The Colts will pay out at +1050 if the prolate spheroid is with them.

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