Super Bowl Picks: New England Patriots to Represent AFC?

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 9:42 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 9:42 PM UTC

Revisit the Super Bowl XLIX betting odds as Tom Brady and the Patriots look to overcome the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game, en route to a fourth Super Bowl title.

Winning Conference Odds: AFC +130 vs. NFC -150
In spite of being the most successful quarterback still alive in the playoffs, odds makers appear to snub Brady and the Patriots across the board. The NFC Conference nudges ahead of the AFC Conference in futures betting markets, thanks to the Super Bowl favourites Seattle Seahawks leading the charge. That said, the Patriots are priced at competitive +180 NFL odds to win the Super Bowl XLIX, just slightly adrift of the Seahawks at +115 to win Super Bowl XLIX. And they'll look to their wealth of experience as well as the blatant snub across sportsbooks as a source of motivation.

We share ten NFL Futures Picks for this year's Super Bowl here.

Brady and the Patriots Bidding For Fourth Title
A day after setting a new record for most NFL touchdown passes in the postseason, Tom Brady and the Patriots remain the second favourites to win the Super Bowl at +180 (down from +300 NFL odds at the Divisional Round). They are two game-wins away from accomplishing the feat; only the Colts and then the winner of the NFC showdown stand in their way.

Although it's been a decade since their last Super Bowl title, Brady and Belichick remain the most successful tandem in the postseason. Together they've led the Patriots to 11 Division titles over a 12-year span (a record no other franchise can claim) and they claimed their 19th playoff victory (the most of any coach-QB tandem) at the expense of the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round last weekend to improve to 19-8 overall. The pair has guided the Patriots to unrivalled success, capping it off with three Super Bowls in five appearances.  And this weekend, they'll be making their ninth AFC Championship game appearance, looking for their sixth Conference title en route to potentially a fourth Super Bowl victory.


Divisional Round Betting Recap and Odds
The book closed on the Divisional Round with the New England Patriots nudging slightly ahead of the Baltimore Ravens in consensus betting. Patriots had 53% of the market in spread betting and 59% of the market for straight up betting. While the OVER garnered 59% of consensus bets as well. Tale told, the Patriots cashed as the home favourites and the OVER 47.5 (down from 49 in early NFL betting markets). Only the Ravens pulled off the cover as the 7-point road pups in the 35-31 loss.

All in all, the New England Patriots punched at their perceived weight class (See Table 1.). From the start of the playoffs, they were deemed the team to beat in the AFC. Indeed, in week 17 ESPN NFL Power Rankings they were the top team to beat in the NFL until the meaningless loss to the Bills in the final week cost them top spot, ceding it to Seattle.



By the numbers, compiled by the various rankings schemes available to NFL bettors, Tom Brady's performance was middling (See Table 2) at best. He comes in 5th in QBR according to ESPN NFL Power Rankings. Those NFL bettors that tuned in to the game though know his performance belies that modest QBR. In fact, the Patriots were entirely invested in Tom Brady and his indisputable credentials. Leaning almost exclusively on his passing game rather than any rushing game (Patriots had just 14 rushing yards and seven carries by running backs), Brady carried the burden admirably. Twice he rallied the Patriots to erase a 14-point deficit and he engineered the most memorable scoring drive in which Julian Edleman's 51-yard pass to Danny Amendola tied the score 28-28 before capping the game with game winning touchdown pass to LaFell.


Table 2: Offensive Stats/Performance for Quarterbacks

AFC Championship Game Preview and Odds
The heroic effort by Tom Brady and Company to reach a fourth straight AFC Championship game has earned them a date with the re-emerging AFC powerhouse Indianapolis Colts. Heir-apparent Andrew Luck has guided the Colts to their first AFC title game since their heyday with the Peyton Manning. Ironically, Luck accomplished the feat at his predecessor's expense, beating the Broncos at Mile High on Sunday Night and, in turn, sending seismic shockwaves through NFL betting circles.

For Tom Brady and the Patriots, the absence of Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the AFC title game may be a fortuitous twist of luck (small letter 'L'). Last season, the Broncos beat the Patriots 26-16 in the AFC title game. The year prior, Baltimore Ravens  derailed the Patriots in the AFC title game 28-13. Coming up against an inexperienced Andrew Luck at this stage of the playoffs might prove deciding.  Certainly, the edge in playoff experience combined with home advantage tips the scale towards the Patriots on the NFL odds board.


NFL AFC Championship Game Betting Analysis:
Patriot  opened as the -280 home favourites to win straight (or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice) and as the 7-point home chalk. Along with home advantage, form and experience, the Patriots' 42-20 decimation of the Colts on the road earlier this season adds weight to their NFL odds and, most likely, has the balance of consensus bets tipping in favour of the Patriots at early doors. (See Table 3).


Table 3: Consensus Bets Midweek

While the New England Patriots have the edge over the Colts in consensus bets at midweek, it's only a nominal edge. The way the market shares are split, the Colts may yet close the gap. Indeed, at some sportsbooks the NFL betting lines are moving against the Patriots, coming down from 7-points to 6.5-points already (as already noted in the above chart). Clearly, the public is buying what the Colts are selling.


NFL Betting Verdict
This is the best matchup the New England Patriots could have hoped for when the NFL playoffs picture emerged. Having overcome the dangerous floaters Ravens, to avoid serious contenders Broncos for a date with "paper champions" Colts instead is an auspicious scenario. That's not to dismiss the Colts out of hand, but given Luck's lack of experience at this level (this is the biggest game of his life in the NFL to date), Brady and the Patriots have to fancy their chances.

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