The New England Patriots will enjoy a bye through the first round of the NFL playoffs this weekend, and sit among the favorites on the Super Bowl odds as they await their AFC Divisional Round opponent, pegged as a +650 wager on those futures at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
New England stumbled down the stretch before locking up the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a lopsided 38-3 victory over the New York Jets as 14-point home chalk in the team’s regular season finale.
A drop off in offensive production emerged as a real concern during a worrisome 2-3 straight-up run before the team rebounded to close out its schedule with consecutive wins. The Patriots were held to fewer than 18 points per game over their three recent defeats, all as road favorites at online betting sites.
However, New England remains a dominant force at home during the playoffs, claiming victory in 11 of 12 home playoff games since January 2011, including seven victories by double-digit margins.
The Patriots’ home-field dominance extends to recent dates with their potential Divisional Round opponents. In addition to a pair of lopsided playoff victories over the Houston Texans, including a 34-16 rout as 16.5-point home chalk, New England has posted wins in 10 of 11 home dates with the Los Angeles Chargers since 1970, a run that features a 21-12 win as a 14-point home favorite on the NFL odds in the 2008 AFC Championship Game.
New England also has had the Baltimore Ravens’ number on home turf, going 7-2 SU in nine overall home meetings since the franchise relocated from Cleveland over two decades ago. However, it has been a different story during the playoffs, with the Ravens posting outright wins as betting underdogs in two of four clashes, with their most recent upset coming in a 28-13 win as 8-point underdogs in the 2012 AFC Championship Game.
The Ravens enter the playoffs as the No. 4 seed after marching to SU wins in six of their seven final regular-season contests to edge the Pittsburgh Steelers for top spot in the AFC North, but will have their hands full Sunday afternoon in a Wild Card Weekend matchup with the Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium.
While the Patriots cannot afford to look past their next opponent, they continue to attract attention on the Super Bowl exact matchup odds. A clash between the Patriots and the New Orleans Saints is pegged as a short +600 wager on those NFL betting lines, while the odds of a Super Bowl XXXVI rematch featuring the Patriots and Los Angeles Rams sits at +950.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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