The AFC Championship game Sunday is a continuation of one of the greatest pro football rivalries from the past 15 years: Tom Brady vs. the Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck has a few years to go before he starts getting the kind of respect Peyton Manning had as a Colt but Luck is off to a great start and you can bet he’ll be one of the first QBs to fly off the fantasy football draft board in August. Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks all-time and his team is led by one of the league’s top coaching minds. The Patriots are a 6.5-point favorite in this Sunday’s AFC title game and Over/Under odds are sitting at 53.5, refusing to budge despite the weather forecast of rain throughout the day at Foxboro. Here is how we see this game shaping up; stats provided by our friends at KillerSports.com, a free online sports database where you can research trends and test NFL betting systems; check it out!
INDIANAPOLIS at NEW ENGLAND
I heard this trend Friday that Bill Belichick is a perfect 10-0 SU against teams in the playoffs who he didn’t face during the regular season but only 9-8 SU vs. teams he’s already seen during the same year. It’s a puzzling trend; I mean, credit to the Hoodie for winning the matchup every time against a coach who doesn’t know what to expect but what is it that makes the second meeting so tough?
Perhaps the players deserve more credit in the second game – They’ve seen the Patriot superstars in action and now they are more prepared for how to handle them. Will Indy be any better this week than they were in the Week 11 blowout? They can’t be much worse. New England racked up 501 total yards of offense in what was their best road game of the entire season. The Patriots took a slow and steady approach in the first-half before blowing the doors off in the second, outscoring the Colts 28-10.
Last week at home against the Ravens, New England outscored Baltimore 21-10 in the second-half and they’ve allowed just one fourth quarter TD in the second-half of the 2014 season, the one the Colts tacked on in Week 11. That’s a seven-game stretch since the Pats allowed a team to cross the goal line in the final 15 minutes. Indy has great special teams and they do a good job with field position but so do the Pats. Each team’s defense seems to have gotten better as the season goes on. The Colts were a top 10 team in QB sacks this year (2.6) and they have registered nine sacks in their past three games (3.0 avg). The D-line causes havoc up front but New England’s big five provides some of the best pass protection in the league and their run blocking isn’t so bad either.
Here is an SDQL betting code that setups Patriot playoff games similar this one. New England (4-3 ATS) won the two most recent by double-digits – Click SDQL Text: team = Patriots and season >= 2000 and playoffs = 1 and P:W and season = P:season and H and p:H and week < 22
Playoff road dogs of more than +3 who possess an average run game are just 2-11 SU when coming off a road game the previous week. These teams are in a tough travel spot and they often don’t have a workhorse back that can carry the load to help give their offense a breather. The scoring average in these games favors the home side by nearly 10 points and a lot of the damage is done in the second-half.
Since the second round of the 2004 playoffs only one of eight road teams has made it to the end zone in the third quarter and the overall scoring average is 32 to 19. The only straight-up winner was the 2009 Eagles over the Cowboys and none of the other dogs finished within seven points of their opponent (SDQL Text: AD and playoffs = 1 and 90 < tA(RY) < 120 and p:A and line > 3 and date >= 20050115)
NFL PLAYOFF PICKS
Last week in Denver was Indy’s first tough outdoor test of the season and they answered the call but Manning was nursing a bad quad. Even with that 24-13 victory, the scoring average in these games is 31-22 against Indy. When facing a team who score on more than 40-percent of its drives the Colts are 1-4 ATS and Indy’s opponent scored 42 points or more in all four of the losses. Indy comes in hot but the Pats are proven streak stoppers, going 7-0 ATS in their past seven chances with five of seven wins coming by more than 20 points. Here’s the kicker: New England’s opponent in those seven games had an average win percentage of .722!
New England (13-4 SU) lost a nothing game to the Bills (Week 17), they lost a road game to the mighty Packers (Week 13) and then they lost two road games in the first month of the season against the Chiefs and Dolphins. The Colts are showing a lot of heart and anything is possible in the playoffs but given the situation, we’ve booked a play on the veteran squad to cover.
Pick: Take the Patriots