Earlier this week we previewed Sunday night's Broncos-Patriots showdown in Foxboro, with a look at the betting line and a pick on the spread. Now we'll take a look at the total on this game, and offer up another free pick, for what it's worth.
Most books we visited earlier this week opened the NFL odds total on
this game at right around 55.5. But that must have been a bit too much for most
bettors because as of Saturday morning most books had dropped that total to
right around 53.5. Some of that, though, might be due to expectations of some
inclement weather for this game.
Broncos-Patriots Last Week
New England racked up 390 yards on a very tough Carolina defense last Monday, and had a chance to win the game, had that call on the final play gone the other way.
Denver, meanwhile, beat Kansas City last Sunday night 27-17.
Both those games played UNDER on the totals.
The forecast for Sunday night in Foxboro calls for clear skies, cold and windy – temps in the teens, winds gusty 20-30 MPH, wind chill possibly in single digits. Yikes. Not exactly great conditions in which to throw the ball a lot, or catch it, or kick it.
Manning tends to throw a lot of balls that wobble; they get to their destinations, but with him, timing is key. Throwing ducks in gusty winds might be dangerous.
Brady, on the other hand, throws a lot of tight spirals, which are much more conducive to success in gusty conditions.
Kickers can play a big part in whether a game goes OVER or stays UNDER on the total. Three or four field goals can be the difference.
Denver kicker Matt Prater is 14-for-15 on field goals this year, with a long of 54.
New England K Stephen Gostowski is 24-for-25 on 3-pointers this season, also with a long of 54.
But we doubt there will be any 54-yarders attempted Sunday night, if the weather forecast holds true.
Broncos-Patriots Recent History
These two teams met last season, on a late afternoon in early October, with Manning at QB for Denver; the Patriots came away with a 31-21 victory.
New England built a lead that stood at 31-7 late in the third quarter, before Denver scored twice to make the score respectable. The game sneaked OVER its total of 51 when the Broncos scored the last touchdown of the game with six minutes to go.
The teams combined to accumulate over 830 yards of offense that day.
Denver WR Wes Welker, the former Patriot, suffered a concussion in last week's game against Kansas City, but recent reporting indicates he'll play Sunday night.
But Broncos TE Julius Thomas, who's caught 45 balls this year, 10 for scores, hurt a knee last week, and he's listed as questionable as of Saturday morning.
On the other side of the ball Denver S Rahim Moore is out for the rest of the regular season with a leg injury.
New England, meanwhile, is banged up on defense, with three Week 1 starters out, and three regulars in the secondary listed as questionable. So Belichick will have to work some magic with his stop unit.
Broncos-Patriots Betting Trends
Denver is 8-2 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Broncos games have averaged a league-high 65 points.
New England is 4-6 on the totals, as Pats games have averaged 45 points.
Our Take on Monday's Total
Over the years the 13 Brady-Manning match-ups have averaged 50 points per game.
Much of the total on this game will come down to whether New England can grind out some drives on offense, and keep Manning on the sidelines. The Patriots might be banged up on defense, but the wind and cold might help negate that. The running games will be very important, and we think both teams might run with success. That will keep the clock running.
So for a game that will be played at night in late November in New England we'll go with the UNDER for our free NFL pick on the total for this game.
NFL Pick: Take the UNDER 54 offered at Bovada.