Free Expert NFL Picks: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/31/2014
I definitely believe the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady rivalry hype gets a bit sickening after a while, but there's really no argument that these are the two best NFL players of this century and perhaps the two best regular-season quarterbacks in league history. I frankly don't think there's any question that Manning is the best with his record five MVP awards ( a betting favorite at Bovada to win No. 6), the single-season and career touchdown record, and single-season and soon-to-be career passing yardage mark (Manning is 4,740 yards behind Brett Favre, so next season). Brady has two MVPs but trumps Manning's Super Bowl rings 3-1 -- and Brady has Gisele Bundchen!
Sunday is the 16th career matchup between the two. Brady leads 10-5, but in the playoffs it's 2-2. Manning does lead 2-1 in AFC title game matchups. Will this be the last time we see this? You can never rule it out with Manning at 38 years old and Brady at 37. However, they sure do appear to be on a collision course to play this January in a second straight AFC title game. In fact, Bovada offers a Week 9 prop on that possibility, and strangely no is a -500 huge favorite. That there is a Broncos-Patriots rematch is +350. Even if they don't play then, both guys are as healthy as you could ask for right now and playing at extraordinarily high levels. They each seem good for another couple of seasons.
Broncos at Patriots Betting Story Lines
This game could easily determine the top seed in the AFC. The Broncos (6-1) have the best record in the AFC with New England (6-2) right behind. If they finished with the same record, the winner Sunday would then have the tiebreaker. The Bengals (4-2-1) and Colts (5-3) probably are the only other teams that have a realistic shot at knocking one of these two out of a top-two seed. San Diego (5-3) is pretty good but clearly will finish behind Denver in the AFC West. At Sportsbook.ag, the Broncos are -110 favorites to win the AFC Championship and Patriots next at +550. Indy (+700) is the only other team under +1300.
Both the Broncos and Patriots are on extremely impressive four-game winning streaks. Denver's four are all by at least two touchdowns and include wins over very good teams Arizona (only one-loss team in NFC), San Francisco and San Diego. In that run, Manning is 100-for-141 (70.9 percent) for 1,320 yards, 14 TDs and two picks. Manning won't break the yardage and TD records he set a year ago, but his completion percentage is slightly up and so his rating. The Broncos don't miss Eric Decker at all as Emmanuel Sanders has been a terrific replacement. He has 47 catches for 634 yards and four touchdowns. Tight end Julius Thomas is tied for the NFL lead with nine TD catches.
Denver doesn't really have any new major injuries to report. Former starting running back Montee Ball remains out, but he probably lost that job to Ronnie Hillman regardless. Hillman is dealing with a shoulder problem but will play and doesn't expect to be limited at all.
I admit that I was among those who thought the end was near for the Patriots following their ass-kicking on “Monday Night Football” in Kansas City in Week 4. Brady looked old and his receivers terrible at that point. So of course the Patriots have taken off since then, winning three of the four in this winning streak by at least 15 points. The quality isn't quite the same as Denver's streak (Jets a common opponent in there and New York nearly won in New England in Week 7) with the Patriots' top win coming against Cincinnati. Brady has been better than Manning in the past four games with Brady completing 100 of 134 passes (74.6 percent) for 1,268 yards, 14 touchdowns and zero picks.
Rob Gronkowski looks healthy now, catching 27 passes for 411 yards and four touchdowns during the winning streak. Brandon LaFell also has had a couple of big games in there. I still have concerns about the New England running game after losing Stevan Ridley for the season a couple of weeks ago. Ditto the defense, which lost linebacker Jerod Mayo for the year. Also, end Chandler Jones missed New England's last game with a hip injury and may not be back for six weeks. He has 4.5 sacks.
Broncos at Patriots NFL Week 9 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Denver is a 3-point favorite (-120) with alternate lines of 3.5 (+105) and 2.5 (-145). The Broncos are -165 on the moneyline and the Patriots at +145. The total is 54. That's easily the highest on the board. No shock there. The Broncos are 4-3 against the spread (1-1 on road) and 5-2 "over/under" (1-1 on road). The Patriots are 4-4 ATS (2-2 at home) and 6-2 O/U (3-1 at home).
Denver is 4-1 ATS in its past five vs. teams with a winning record. It is 8-3 ATS in its past 11 after scoring more than 30 points in the previous game. The Patriots are 6-0 ATS in their past six at home vs. teams with a winning road record. New England is 2-5 ATS in its past seven against the AFC. The over is 7-2 in Denver's past nine road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The over is 4-0 in New England's past four at home against teams with a winning road record. Denver has failed to cover its past four at New England.
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots Expert NFL Picks and Betting Predictions
As if we needed more story lines there is this: The Patriots have won 33 straight regular-season games at home against AFC opponents. That should have ended last year when Denver led 24-0 at the half, but the Patriots won 34-31 in OT, the biggest comeback win in team history. The Broncos then pretty easily handled New England in Denver in the AFC title game. Also, this is Brady's 200th regular-season start. His 154 wins already are a record by far for most in 200 games even though he's still on 199. Manning (136) is No. 2, by the way.
I believe certainly at home Denver wins this game by at least at touchdown. Neutral field as well. New England is just crazy good at home this time of year. But it didn't look great in home wins this year vs. Oakland and the Jets. Maybe those were trap games. I'm leaning Denver and will give the 2.5 points. Go over.
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