After clinching the AFC East crown for a seventh consecutive season with last weekend’s lopsided 27-6 win over Houston, the New England Patriots host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in their final home game of the regular season as huge 14-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The victory over the Texans ended New England’s first two-game regular-season losing streak since it dropped a pair of straight-up decisions in September 2012, and it improved the team’s record to an AFC-best 11-2 going into Sunday afternoon’s Titans vs. Patriots betting matchup at Gillette Stadium.
The win also ended the Patriots’ recent drought at the sportsbooks, where they failed to cover in their four previous outings while surrendering an average of 26 points per game.
Injuries have played a critical role in the club’s recent struggles. Wide receiver Danny Amendola missed the Patriots’ 30-24 Week 12 loss to the Denver Broncos with a knee injury, while Julian Edelman remains sidelined indefinitely with a foot injury.
However, tight end Rob Gronkowski unexpectedly returned to action against the Texans after sitting out the Patriots’ 35-28 Week 13 loss to Philadelphia with a knee injury.
The early Sunday morning announcement of Gronkowski’s return had a sudden and dramatic impact on the betting line, moving New England from a 3.5-point to 5.5-point favorite over the Texans. The 26-year-old did not disappoint, showing no ill effects from his injury while making four catches for 87 yards and one touchdown, earning the game ball in the win.
Tennessee visits New England following last week’s 30-8 loss to the New York Jets, which dropped the Titans to 3-10 on the season and last place in the AFC standings.
The Titans have picked up SU wins in two of their last six games, but it has been feast or famine for the club, which averaged 38 points per game in their two recent victories but just 13 points per game over the four defeats.
Success at the sportsbooks also has been hard to come by for Tennessee in recent weeks. The Titans are 0-4-1 ATS in their past five, halting a respectable 4-4 ATS start to the season.
The historical trends represent perhaps the greatest challenge for the Titans, who have posted just one SU victory over New England since the franchise moved to Tennessee in 1997, losing their past five SU, 1-4 ATS, going down to defeat by an average margin of 21.6 points per game during that stretch, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
Thumbnail photo via Don McPeak/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Tom Brady
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