The New England Patriots will make their fifth straight appearance in the AFC Championship Game when they travel to Denver on Sunday to take on the Broncos as 3 1/2-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
New England punched its ticket to the conference championship with a 27-20 win in its AFC Divisional Playoff clash with the Kansas City Chiefs as six-point chalk but enter Sunday afternoon’s Patriots vs. Broncos betting matchup at Sports Authority Field at Mile High with just one straight-up win in its past four road contests.
Points have been hard to come by for the Patriots in recent contests away from Gillette Stadium, averaging just 15 points per game over their past two, a pair of SU road losses to the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins in the final two weeks of the regular season.
However, New England appears to have overcome the rash of injuries that hobbled the team later in the campaign, most notably to wide receiver Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who both missed time down the stretch but looked in top form while combining for 183 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs.
The Broncos will be looking for their second AFC Championship Game win over New England in the past three years, posting a 26-16 win as 4 1/2-point home chalk during the 2013 season.
Denver needed fourth-quarter heroics to claim a 23-16 victory over the pesky Pittsburgh Steelers in last weekend’s other AFC Divisional Playoff, recording a push as seven-point favorites to extend its current against the spread winless streak to five games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
Peyton Manning made his first start under center since going down to injury in a 29-13 loss to the Chiefs back in Week 10, completing 21 passes for 222 yards, but failed to throw for a major score for the fifth time in his last seven appearances.
The Broncos finished the NFL campaign with the league’s top defense, allowing just 283.1 total yards per game, including 199.6 yards per game through the air, but saw a short-handed but determined Steelers squad outgain them by a 396-324 margin Sunday, including an impressive 311-yard performance by Ben Roethlisberger, who got the start despite being limited by a serious shoulder injury.
The Patriots and Broncos last met in Week 12, a game in which the Broncos and backup quarterback Brock Osweiler overcame a 21-7 deficit to force overtime in the dying seconds before claiming a stunning 30-24 victory as 2 1/2-point home underdogs.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.