NFL Conference Championship - AFC Preview and Tips
NFL Conference Championship weekend and 2 mouth watering matchups will decide the Super Bowl participants. If we could have hand picked the games at the start of the season, we probably would have ended up here. In the AFC and our preview game this week we have the offensive battle between Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos hosting the New England Patriots led by Tom Brady at QB. This game will be played Monday morning AUS time and will be followed by the NFC Conference Championship game between Seattle and San Francisco after that.
I mentioned it last week, but don’t forget to book the day off work Monday 3 February for the Super Bowl. I would also recommend getting out to watch the big game at a local bar, the atmosphere is always great and it’s a fitting way to end the season. It is a big party in the USA, why not here, when we follow the game so closely. If you are in Perth, I will see you at the Mustang Bar, make sure to make yourself known!
Divisional Playoff Weekend Recap
Class prevailed in both games. First up New England dominated on the ground with LeGarrette Blount scoring 4 TDs out of the team total of 6 rushing TDs. Hardly what you would expect from a Tom Brady led offence. Andrew Luck connected for 2 TD passes but also gave up the ball with 4 interceptions. There was no miracle comeback this week for Indianapolis, final score was 43-22, clearly this went Over the total. Denver, in their game built a solid lead early, 14-0 at halftime against their Divisional rival San Diego and managed to hold them at bay in the 2nd half to win by 7. Final score was 24-17, this game went Under the posted total. Interesting looking at both games, the Patriots ran 46 rushing plays and 25 passing. For Denver they ran 34 rushing plays and 36 passing plays. There has been a clear shift in the Patriots offence and it certainly makes studying this week’s game all the more interesting.
We did not have any luck with our best bets last week which was disappointing. It really felt like we had the right side with Denver, but they did not come through in the end. After a regular season record of 27-23-1 +2.92 Units, our playoff record stands at 0-7 -6.25 Units. We won’t be chasing this week, but hope we can again uncover some value and useful information for you to use in your own wagering this weekend.
On to the NFL AFC Conference Championship Preview and Tips!
New England @ Denver -5.5, Total 56
This line has been as low as -4.5 earlier in the week and that is still available at some shops, but seems to have settled here at Sportsbet at -5.5, for the moment anyway. As always, shop around for the best number and keep an eye out on line movements offshore and you will likely see the local bookmakers follow soon thereafter.
Denver visited New England in Week 12 and as a 1 point favourite on Sunday Night Football, lost in OT by 3 points 34-31. Denver went into the half time break with a 24-0 lead, before New England scored 21 unanswered points of their own in the 3rd quarter. Despite the scoreline Manning didn’t actually have a big game, throwing only for 150 yards. He was helped by a number of early New England turnovers giving the Broncos good field position. Tom Brady conversely had a big game, throwing for 344 yards and holds a 10-4 winning record against teams led by Peyton Manning.
Both sides are weaker on the defensive side of the ball and as dynamic as their offences can be, they might not be super keen to play an up tempo game and expose their defence. Denver also suffered another loss on defence last week, cornerback Chris Harris. That is why I think with New England’s developed running game, the Patriots pose a legitimate threat both in the air and on the ground, which might give them the edge to be able to convert those 3rd downs with more reliability than Denver in this game.
Denver has been the team all season that was going to fly the flag for the AFC this year, largely on the back on Manning’s great season. It is going to be hard to tip against them but as we have said many times before, the spread is the great equaliser in football. I expect another close game and will take the points with the visiting Patriots.
Total of 56 in good weather conditions in Denver could be in danger too. A lot will depend on the flow of the game. I don’t expect as many turnovers this time around which really helped rack up the score in the last matchup. Lean to the Under. I am going to wait until closer to game time to make any Totals bets because this number is likely to increase further.
Lean New England and Under
You might we well advised to steer clear of these wagers given my playoff record the last 2 weeks, but I have been around long enough to know our next win is just around the corner. Some bookmakers have started offering Super Bowl type prop bets, so if you want something to cheer for until the final few seconds, check out what is on offer. I will be wagering 1 Unit on the Under as well and will post that in the Comments and on Twitter when done – as noted I do expect the number to increase from the current 56 closer to game time.
New England +5.5 @ Denver 1 Unit @ 1.92
New England +7.5 @ Denver 1 Unit @ 1.66 at Centrebet
New England @ Denver 1st TD scorer Stevan Ridley 0.25 Unit @ 19.00 (Sportsbet promo money back if player is an anytime TD scorer)
New England @ Denver 1st TD scorer LeGarrette Blount 0.25 Unit @ 9.00 at Centrebet
All odds from Sportsbet unless otherwise mentioned.
Stay tuned to Twitter for all the latest updates. Good luck with your selections and let’s make the Conference Championship game a winning one!