In AFC Championship, Brady And Patriots Find Themselves Underdogs For First Time In 68 Games

The New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs will play in the AFC Championship on Sunday. The Patriots opened as 3-point underdogs, marking the first time since Sept. 20, 2015, that the Patriots have been installed as underdogs with Tom Brady at quarterback.

According to the BetDSI sportsbook, Brady has been favored in 67 straight starts including the playoffs. The betting-favorite streak has been alive for 174 weeks, or 1,218 days.

New England was an underdog in Week 1 of 2016 when Brady was suspended for the season’s first four games. The Patriots won that game, 23-21, as a 9-point underdog at Arizona, with Jimmy Garoppolo making his starting debut at quarterback. So the Patriots had been favored in 52 straight games overall, including the playoffs, until this week.

This is also just the second time since 2007 that New England has been a playoff underdog. The Patriots had been favored in 23 of their last 24 postseason games overall, with their lone underdog role coming in the 2014 AFC Championship; Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos beat the Patriots in that game, 26-16, as 5-point favorites.

The over/under in that playoff game was 56.5, the second-highest in Brady’s playoff career until this week. The 2017 Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons opened as high as 59 and closed at 57.5—the highest posted total in Super Bowl history. New England rallied for a remarkable 34-28 win in the first-ever Super Bowl to go to overtime.

Sunday’s AFC Championship over/under is set at 57.5 points. This season’s regular-season meeting between the Patriots and the Chiefs, in Week 6 at New England, had a game total of 59.5. The Patriots won, 43-40.

The Patriots advanced to their eighth consecutive AFC Championship Game with a dominant 41-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. New England led, 35-7, at halftime. In a rare betting situation for a playoff game at New England, there was more money bet on the visiting Chargers, as 4-point underdogs, than on the Patriots.

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Current Odds To Win Super Bowl LIII, From BetDSI

  • New Orleans Saints (+175)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (+260)
  • New England Patriots (+350)
  • Los Angeles Rams (+350)

The Patriots have not won a road playoff game since beating the San Diego Chargers in the 2007 divisional round. New England lost the following week in the AFC Championship to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots’ other road losses in the AFC playoffs came against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the 2014 and 2016 playoffs.

New England At Kansas City Game Notes, From BetDSI’s Database:  

Totals bettors note that 10 of the last 12 Patriots playoff games have gone over the total.

The Chiefs have two playoff wins since 1994 and are 2-10 SU/ATS over that time following Saturday’s 31-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts. The other victory was a 30-0 wild-card win over Houston on January 9, 2016. Kansas City lost the following week at New England, 27-20.

Quarterback Tom Brady has won a record five Super Bowls, including one in his second year. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is trying to become the seventh second-year quarterback since 1984 to reach the Super Bowl, joining Dan Marino, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson.

The four highest-scoring teams during the 2018 season have reached the conference championship games. The Kansas City Chiefs (35.1 points per game), Los Angeles Rams (32.8), New Orleans Saints (31.5) and New England Patriots (27.2) set the pace this season. The Chiefs are one of nine teams that have scored at least 540 points during a season in NFL history. None of the previous eight won the Super Bowl.

Home teams have won each of the last 10 conference championship games.

The Chiefs are 8-1 at home this season and 5-4 ATS. The Patriots are 3-5 SU/ATS on the road this season, with all five losses to non-playoff teams. The Patriots’ strength of schedule ranked No. 31 in the NFL, according to Sagarin ratings. The Chiefs’ schedule ranked No. 25.

The Patriots and the Rams averaged 67 plays per game this season to rank in the top three in the league. The Chiefs and the Saints averaged 63 plays per game. Both the high-scoring Chiefs and the Patriots can play fast and efficient on offense with high-quality quarterback play.

In the Week 6 matchup, Patrick Mahomes completed 23 of 36 passes for 352 yards at 9.8 yards per pass. He was not sacked and threw for four touchdowns and two interceptions. Tom Brady completed 24 of 35 passes for 340 yards at 9.7 yards per pass. He was sacked twice and threw one touchdown pass, with one lost fumble. The Chiefs had 446 yards offense at 8.4 yards per play on just 56 offensive snaps. The Patriots had 500 yards offense on 75 plays at 6.7 yards per play in the 43-40 victory.

Combine that with the sub-par defenses, and I’m not sure even the potential snow and rain can suppress the anticipated scoring between the Patriots and the Chiefs in the AFC Championship at Kansas City.

You can bet on it.


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