AFC Divisional Playoff Odds: Patriots, Broncos Favored To Make Championship

The New England Patriots will be searching for their first straight-up win in their past three outings when they host the Kansas City Chiefs in Saturday’s AFC divisional round matchup as early 5 1/2-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

New England, recently battered by injuries to a number of key personnel, enjoyed a welcome bye on Wild Card Weekend and is expected to have two of quarterback Tom Brady’s favorite targets, wide receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, available for Saturday afternoon’s Chiefs vs. Patriots betting matchup at Gillette Stadium.

Both Amendola and Edelman missed time to injury down the stretch and the Patriots felt the impact, posting just two SU wins in their past six outings while also struggling at the sportsbooks, covering the spread just twice in their past eight games.

The red-hot Chiefs roll into Foxboro, Mass., riding an 11-game SU win streak, punctuated by their 30-0 demolition of the Houston Texans on Wild Card Weekend, easily covering as two-point road favorites and picking up their first playoff victory since 1994.

Kansas City finished the regular season with the NFL’s third-ranked defense and has held opponents to an average of just 9.4 points per game over their past five, allowing more than 17 points just three times in their past 12 games according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Chiefs dominated New England in their most recent clash, claiming a 41-14 victory as 2 1/2-point home underdogs early in the 2014 NFL season. That marked just their second win over the Patriots in their last seven meetings, with their last road victory against New England coming in 1990.

In Sunday’s AFC action, the hobbled Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Denver to take on the top-seeded Broncos as early 6 1/2-point underdogs. The Broncos opened as slim 2 1/2-point chalk, but with the status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown both questionable following Pittsburgh’s ugly 18-16 wild card win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the line has swiftly moved in Denver’s favor.

Running back DeAngelo Williams might also be sidelined for Sunday’s contest, which would complicate the Steelers’ efforts to solve Denver’s third-ranked rush defense.

Denver wrapped up its regular-season schedule with home victories over the Bengals and San Diego Chargers and is expected to have Peyton Manning under center on Sunday.

The Broncos will also be looking to avenge their 34-27 loss in Pittsburgh in Week 15 but are riding a four-game ATS losing streak and are also winless ATS this season when favored by more than 5 1/2 points.

Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shakes hands with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning following the game at Gillette Stadium.

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