In a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game, the Baltimore Ravens visit the New England Patriots Sunday night at Gillette Stadium as nine-point underdogs.
And with both teams bucking negative trends last week (the Patriots had been 1-6 ATS in the playoffs since 2008 and the Ravens had lost 16 in a row as a big underdog), bettors are digging deep into the stats to determine where their money should go.
These teams have already played several memorable games over the last few seasons, including a thriller of an AFC Championship Game last January. Sunday they meet once again with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS).
The over/under had been bet up from an opening number of 51 to sit at 52.5 at several sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com.
The Patriots, despite their status as huge favorites among the NFL betting public, are a money-making 12-5 against the spread this season.
They host a Ravens team that has struggled in Foxboro, losing six of seven visits.
Batlimore won the AFC North this season, but after losing four of its last five regular-season games, it started these playoffs as the fourth seed. The Ravens then dispatched of the Indianapolis Colts on Wild Card Weekend 24-9, holding Indy without a touchdown.
Then last weekend Baltimore won one of the wilder playoff games of recent memory, beating the top-seeded Broncos in Denver 38-35 in double-overtime.
The Ravens allowed two kick returns for scores against Denver, then trailed by a touchdown with a 3rd-and-long situation from their own 30-yard line with half a minute to go. But QB Joe Flacco threw up a long prayer and had it answered on the other end by WR Jacoby Jones, sending the game to overtime.
Baltimore DB Corey Graham then picked off a Peyton Manning pass early in the second OT, setting up K Justin Tucker for a game-winning 47-yard field goal.
New England, meanwhile, is back in the AFC title game for the third time in the last five seasons after winning the AFC East again, then beating Houston last weekend 41-28.
These two teams have met six times over the previous five seasons; New England has won four of those games, by three, three, six and three points, while Baltimore's two victories came by scores of 33-14 in a divisional-round playoff game two years ago, and 31-30 back in Week 3 of this season.
Last year the Ravens got within a dropped touchdown pass of beating the Patriots in Foxboro in the AFC Championship Game, and within a botched field goal of pushing that game to overtime.
In its win over New England back in September, Baltimore out-rushed the Patriots 121-77, but needed a field goal at the buzzer for the victory.
On the injury front, Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski re-broke his arm in the win over the Texans last week, and is out for the rest of this season.
The Odds Shark prediction computer has called a 40-29 win for the Pats.
The Super Bowl odds market has New England favored at even odds, while Baltimore is the longest shot left on the board at 15/2.