Before just betting the total in Broncos vs. Patriots, read this report. This NFL Handicapper has done his due diligence investigating the odds and shares every worthwhile betting option.
Odds Overview: Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS) welcome the AFC champion Denver Broncos (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) here at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro in the can’t-miss game of the week and what could end up being an extremely important contest in the jostling for homefield advantage in the AFC playoffs. Oddsmakers have made the visiting Broncos 3-point favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) with the Total Points anywhere from 54½ (Pinnacle) to 55½ (Station Casinos) early on in the week. The Money Line (Winner) NFL odds have the Broncos priced at -187 (Sky Bet) with the Home Underdog Patriots at +150. The Broncos Team Total Points is 28½ (Paddy Power) while the Patriots Team Total Points has been set at 26 (BetVictor).
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s (formerly LVH SuperBook) 2014 Games of the Year odds—released every summer before the season starts—on this matchup were Patriots -1½, so what these first eight weeks of play have pretty much told us is that these Broncos are a better squad than they were last year. And a theoretical 4½-point swing in that line compared to the current one hanging on the board reveals this, especially against a team like New England, which also is seemingly playing a little bit better than last season. And for both, most of that improvement so far this season can be attributed to play on the defensive side of the ball.
The Broncos and QB Manning (112-91-6 ATS Favorite) are playing some really good football right now and after failing to cover the point spread in their first 3 games of the 2014 NFL season, Denver has reeled off 4 straight W’s ATS and definitely deserve to be the Favorites here despite the site. Manning (69-55-5 ATS Away) and his deep cast of receivers are ranked #3 in the NFL in Passing (297.0 ypg) and the defense is ranked #1 against the Rush, but it needs to be noted that 5 of the Broncos first 7 games this season have been played at Home in the Mile High City. Veteran Manning (174/252, 2,134 yards, 22 TDs) will no doubt be putting the ball in the air quite a bit on Sunday afternoon—as will Brady—and with WRs Demaryius Thomas (47 receptions, 767 yards, 6 TDs, 16.3 ypc), Emmanuel Sanders (47 receptions, 634 yards, 4 TDs), Wes Welker and clutch go-to TE Julius Thomas (30 receptions, 327 yards, 4 TDs) at his disposal, who wouldn’t want to throw almost every down?
On the injury front, Denver RB Montee Ball (groin), CB Omar Bolden (concussion) and LB Steven Johnson (ankle) are all listed as Questionable for the game on Monday, but when you’re playing the Patriots in Foxboro—where they haven’t lost all season (4-0)—and you can put your shoulder pads on, the Questionable probable can be read more like ‘Should Play’ although obviously there are different realities for different players.
New England Patriots
One slight advantage the Patriots have, besides playing on their own sacred Home FieldTurf is that they have an Open Date next weekend in Week 10 so they can, as they say, pretty much “leave it all on the field.” But that is just a cliché and some little cute words and probably don’t fit here when you’re talking about a team intent on getting back to the Super Bowl and winning it this time around. But they can, and will go out, but still have to worry about then traveling to Indianapolis in Week 11 to dance with Andrew Luck and the Colts (5-3). And the Broncos have the Raiders on tap anyway, so maybe that qualifies as an Open Date in its own cruel NFL sense?
New England has been incredible against the Pass so far this season and rank #2 in the NFL (21.9 ypg) but here against the man who passes like Picasso painted, the Patriots will really be up against it and will need to play great, get an occasional break or TO and have the crowd be in the game for all four quarters. But no one would be surprised at all if New England defeated Denver here in this situation. The Patriots are 4-1 ATS L5 against the Broncos and a sparkling 4-0 ATS here at Home in New England.
Like Manning, Patriots QB Tom Brady (181/281, 2,059 yards, 18 TDs) has some nice receivers to throw to in TE Rob Gronkowski (40 receptions, 558 yards, 7 TDs) and WRs Julian Edelman (45 receptions, 467 yards, TD) and Brandon LaFell (11 receptions, 124 yards, TD against the Bears in a 51-23 win last weekend in NE), but as far as depth and overall talent, the Broncos are better and more prolific Brady (66-48-4 ATS Home, 31-16-1 ATS Underdog) will not be intimidated though and will try to engineer a win out of this by trying to keep the ball out of the hands of Denver and Manning as much as possible.
Regarding injuries affecting Week 9 NFL odds, New England's OL Cameron Fleming (finger) and DB Nate Ebner (finger) are both listed as Questionable, so, for the most part, both teams will enter this game relatively healthy.
Best Betting Approaches
As mentioned, both teams’ defenses are improved this season, but the 54½-55½ Total hints at an obvious Pass-Fest in Gillette Stadium and anyone betting the Under may want to watch safely from under their favorite blanket. But with a possible A.M. snow shower and a high temperature of 41° forecast for Foxboro on Sunday (The Weather Channel), athletic hands that were warmer for weeks may have trouble doing the things athletic hands do when the weather’s warmer. With Denver Overs 5-2 and New England Overs 6-2, you can see why the linemakers made this Total so high and with Manning and Brady you’d expect as much. And with both teams in the bottom half of the league Rushing (Broncos #21, Patriots #17), they’ll try to stick with what’s worked. And with the Broncos #1 against the Rush, Pats coach Bill Belichick (144-109-5 ATS) is probably working on some funky new pass play right at this very moment. But the team that does end up being able to run the ball the best may get the bacon here.
Before making your NFL pick, there's one noticeable thing when perusing the Patriots (7-2 ATS Home Favorite in 2013) schedule is that New England has played a very weak Home schedule so far which has resulted in wins against the Raiders, Bengals, Jets and Bears—teams with a miserable combined SU record of 8-21-1. And that’s not good Ella. What Denver and coach John Fox (34-25-2 ATS) will likely do is concentrate on trying to limit Gronkowski from getting open at the key moments and putting as much pressure on Pats QB Brady as possible. And they have the horses on defense like LB Von Miller to do just that. And with their fantastic offense and solid special teams—rookie PK Brandon McManus out of Temple is 6/8 FGs, 28/28 XPs—the Broncos should be able to find a way to top the 30-point mark, making that Broncos Team Total Points Over bet (28½) a winner as a team (NE) which allowed 22 and 25 points respectively to its mediocre AFC East foes the Bills and the Jets may give up a billion here on Sunday. This is hyperbole. Denver won’t score a billion points.
As far as the trends go, besides New England’s 4-0 ATS L4 at Home against Denver, the Patriots are also 6-1 SU L7, 9-3 ATS L12 overall at Home and 5-0 Over L5 at Home while the Broncos are 4-1 ATS L5 as well as 4-1 ATS L5 Away. Additionally, the Favorite is 4-0 ATS L4 in this series. But all these numbers have made me nothing but dizzy and all we really care about is can we find a way to make a shekel or two here? And I think by simply laying the 3 and taking the better team with the chip on its’ big Blue and Orange shoulders is the way to go in a game that might not end up being as close as some may think.
Free NFL Pick: Broncos -3 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Free NFL Prop Pick: Emmanuel Sanders Anytime TD Scorer (Broncos)