New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos (Over 44.5)
The last time these two teams met and scored less than 44 points was in January of 2014. The Broncos had that historic offense and the O/U total was set at 56.5, so the 26-16 win by Denver was kind of a mild upset to O/U bettors. Denver did put up 507 yards of offense in that game as well and the total still went under. Of course, we know what happened to that historic Denver offense two weeks later in the Super Bowl. That AFC Championship game is the only blemish on a series of scores exceeding 44 points in the last seven matchups between these two teams.
These two teams also met earlier this season, with Brock Osweiler leading the Broncos to victory in overtime, 30-24. Tom Brady did not have the services of Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman in that matchup, and I’d figure that they will get significant action in this game, especially against an ailing Chris Harris Jr at corner. Even Aqib Talib, a larger corner that is quite good, will be hard pressed to blanket those two shifty receivers AND wherever Gronk lines up. There should be mismatches galore to be taken advantage of by Brady if he is given even a short amount of time to throw.
On the Patriots side of the ball they have a few key injuries at the linebacker position, which either A) will be beneficial to the Denver run game, or B) decrease pressure on Peyton Manning in blitz packages. This is a common theme in this game, most of the injuries are on the defensive side of the ball leaving the varsity team to be playing against the JV squad in certain sections of the field.
Additionally, weather should not be a factor in Denver this weekend and it will be quite pleasant on the field.
The winner of this game should put up 28 points or more which should get the job done in getting over the listed total. I also grabbed the Patriots earlier in the week at -3 before it moved to -3.5, but if that line moves to -4 I might look at a teaser on Denver to bring them up to +10 or more. Not wrong to play both sides sometimes.
Betting System: DPI Galore
Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers (-3)
This game is a tough one, because we just saw one team completely dominate another team for 30 minutes, and the other team has just struggled for two games straight, yet we know it could be close. The ceiling of the Cardinals in Carolina, to me, is a struggle to maybe win this game, while that of the Panthers is a complete and utter blowout of Arizona. Game theory and stuff.
History is also on the side of Carolina, especially with home field advantage as a number one seed in the NFC Championship game. Since 1993, the #1 seed is 10-2 against a #2 seed when favored at home in this situation. That history hasn’t been lost with early bettors, with 59% of wagers on Carolina and an astounding 86% of the action amount. Given that the Patriots are also getting 89% of the wagering value some sports books could be puckering up on Sunday.
Usually I think of the huge public money on one side as a red flag, but they are right 40% of the time, every time, and this is likely one of those cases. Carolina’s pass rush is really good, and only a QB like Russell Wilson has a chance just often enough to escape it. A statue like Carson Palmer will be affected by this pass rush.
And I’ll leave you with this, the Arizona Cardinals put up just 78 total yards in their matchup last year in Carolina. Carson Palmer wasn’t at QB, but a lot of other players have it in their mind that Carolina is a field you visit to go get beat. Arizona is 1-4 SU when playing on the road in Carolina and 3-8 in their last eleven games total against the Panthers.
Betting System: Under Pressure (David Bowie Version)
Odds and trends provided by sportsbookreview.com.
As always, do your due diligence and be aware that lines are made to get action at 50% on each side and are not a 50/50 proposition. Or, 80%/20% for this week. Good luck!