Denver Broncos (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date and Time: Sunday, November 2, 2014, 4:25 pm EST
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
TV: CBS, DirecTV 713
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Den. -3/NE +3
Over/Under Total: 55
Easily the most anticipated game on the week nine NFL card this Sunday will be the AFC heavyweight duel featuring the Denver Broncos at the New England Patriots Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady in a winner gets the upper hand on homefield advantage for the playoffs matchup of powerhouses in Gillette Stadium in a late afternoon game on CBS.
This will be the third time since last November 24th these two teams have met, with New England taking last years regular season game, 34-31, in overtime at Foxborough before dropping the rematch in the AFC Championship game, 26-16, played in Denver almost two months later. Both of last seasons games were classics, so with everyone and their brother expecting a third chapter in this series to be just the same, the Broncos-Patriots telecast should pull in a massive audience both in TV ratings and in the handle at the window.
Both teams ride into the showdown with four-game win streaks, and both offenses led by two of the elite in Manning and Brady seem to hitting their peaks at just the right time for Sundays contest. Brady and the Patriots put up 51 points in their total domination of the Chicago Bears last week, while Manning and the Broncos currently lead the entire NFL in points per game with a healthy 32 per game average.
With two of the most popular teams the betting public likes to wager on every week playing head-to-head, you knew something had to break with regards to the points spread for this one on Sunday. With Denver considered the team to beat still, the Patriots opened as a home dog in Foxborough for just the second time in over half a decade when sportsbooks opened the game with the Broncos as 3-point favorites. When was the only other time the Patriots have been a home dog you ask? Last year when Manning and the Broncos came to Gillette, in a game that closed with the Pats as slim 1-point dawgs.
The over/under total opened at 55 and has held firm despite it high number and the treat of cold, nasty weather in Foxborough come game time Sunday.
With the two offenses in this game its not worth breaking down what they do well, because they both do it all very well and its so totally obvious. Instead, I think this game will come down to which defense is better equipped to stop the opponent more often then the other defense on the field.
In that case, Denver stands to be able to put more pressure on Brady with Von Miller (9 sacks) and DeMarcus Ware (7) around the corners, then the Patriots stand in pressuring Manning with Rob Ninkovich (4) and Chandler Jones (4.5). Also, without MLB Jerod Mayo, the Pats could have a hard time matching wits with Manning at the line, as backup Jamie Collins has played well in Mayos absence but hes no way near as experienced at making the defensive calls on the fly following audibles.
Some interesting betting trends have developed over the years in this rivalry, with the home team going 4-0 ATS in their last four head-to-heads. The Broncos havent had much luck in Foxborough either, since they are 1-4 ATS in the last five in the series and 0-4 ATS in their last four trips to Gillette Stadium.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: With seemingly everyone taking the Broncos and the over on this game, if I play anything on it I will certainly be playing the opposite of everyone else. If I make a play on a side I will be taking New England and the points, and the under of 55 and hoping for a nasty, sloppy, and cold game where both quarterbacks struggle to meet the super high expectations for this one.