The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos are gearing up for an epic clash in the 2014 AFC Championship Game.
It’s going to be a battle that involves some of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, elite coaches and talent all over the field, plus a number of intriguing subplots stemming from the multitude of matchups these rivals have had over the past few years.
If that isn’t thrilling enough for you, perhaps placing a wager down on the outcome of the game will help you get more excited. If that doesn’t sound too appealing, then it’s time to look at some proposition bets.
These prop or novelty bets aren’t directly related to the final score or total points, but they offer gamblers alternative ways to bet on certain occurrences in the contest.
Let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing ones, courtesy of Bovada.
Total Passing Yards, Tom Brady: Over 269.5 (-125)/Under 269.5 (-105)
Lean toward the over here. The Patriots love to play to their strength, even if it appears they have adopted a run-heavy offense over the final game of the regular season and divisional round of the playoffs.
Brady is still the linchpin of this offensive attack, and he will be counted on by head coach Bill Belichick to get the job done in this crucial game. He obliterated Denver’s weak secondary in the regular season and will have no issues doing it again now that the Broncos have lost a starting cornerback.
Chris Harris Jr. went down for the remainder of the playoffs with a torn ACL during the divisional round against the San Diego Chargers. Quentin Jammer replaced him in the second half and was targeted and flat-out abused by Philip Rivers and his receivers at times.
The Pats quarterback lit up the Broncos for 344 yards and three scores in that Week 12 Monday Night Football showdown with Harris in the lineup, helping rally New England back from a 24-0 halftime deficit to a 34-31 overtime win.
If one remembers that Brady is also the all-time playoff leader in passing yards, it’s easy to take the over in this one:
Most pass yards in NFL playoff history: Tom Brady 6147 Peyton Manning 5909— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 13, 2014
Pick: Over 269.5 (-125)
Total Rushing Yards, Knowshon Moreno: Over 77.5 (-130)/Under 77.5 (Even)
Moreno was the Broncos' best weapon against the Patriots in Week 12, and the coaching staff wasn’t afraid to let him pound away against a weak front. He finished the loss with 37 carries for 224 yards and a score.
Perhaps more impressively, he was only stopped for a loss on one occasion in that matchup and gained zero yards on just two runs. That means 34 of his rushes went for at least some gain and was the catalyst for the Broncos' decision to lean on his abilities.
Will Knowshon go over or under 77.5 yards rushing?
With the game being played in the thin air of the Mile High, it’s an even safer bet that Moreno eclipses this 77.5-yard rushing figure against New England. The visitor will be forced to constantly substitute its most stout run-stoppers in order to get them a breather, putting the star back up against inferior competition at times.
Take the over here and watch as the 26-year-old pounds the rock and earns 100-plus yards rushing on Sunday.
Pick: Over 77.5 (-130)
Will LeGarrette Blount Score a Touchdown? Yes (-155)/No (+125)
Brady and his passing attack will undoubtedly be piling up yards, but the Pats are going to almost certainly end up in a number of goal-line situations.
When that happens, expect Blount to be the recipient of plenty of touches that he should convert to at least one score. Over the past two games, this veteran running back has proven to be an invaluable asset to New England’s game plan and should be fed plenty of carries throughout the afternoon.
Blount has destroyed the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts in back-to-back games, going off for 355 yards and six scores on 48 carries split between the two contests. His four-touchdown game against the Colts was absolutely transcendent, and there is no reason to think he’s going to let up anytime soon.
Most promising for bettors hoping he’ll score is that this 27-year-old star still believes he can improve on that performance, telling Patriots.com:
I could do a lot of improvement. We've watched the film, I've seen a couple holes that I could have hit, seen a couple cuts I could have made. I'm just going to try to go out there and look at what they're going to give me and hopefully exploit some of their weaknesses.
That should seal the deal and get you to take the touchdown line.
Pick: Yes (-155)