Are the Patriots a safe bet against the Panthers in NFL Week 4?

New England vs Denver Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

Written by on December 16, 2016

For the first time in a handful of years, a Patriots-Broncos game doesn’t feature the NFL’s best-ever individual rivalry of New England QB Tom Brady against Denver counterpart Peyton Manning. Brady is still going strong and Sunday’s game still means plenty to both AFC contenders. The Broncos are rare home underdogs on NFL lines.

New England vs Denver Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Sunday, Dec. 18, 4:25 PM ETWhere: Sports Authority Field, DenverTV: CBSOpening NFL Lines: Patriots -3 (44)

Why Bet on New England?

The Patriots, who defeated Baltimore 30-23 on Monday night, are closing in on the AFC East division title and a first-round bye. With a victory, New England will become the first team in NFL history to win eight consecutive division titles. The Patriots remain in control for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. New England can still win the division with a Miami loss and can still secure a first-round bye with a Miami loss and either a Pittsburgh loss or a Kansas City win.Brady passed for 406 yards with three touchdowns for a 116.8 passer rating in the win over Baltimore on Monday Night Football. Brady has 28,464 passing yards in 109 career games at New England’s Gillette Stadium, which is the most passing yards by a quarterback at a single stadium in NFL history.Brady now has 52 career wins in December, tying Hall of Famer Brett Favre (December) for the most wins by a starting quarterback in any calendar month. You could see a new face on Sunday in a Pats uniform as the team claimed former Arizona Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd off waivers Thursday. The move comes three days after Floyd was arrested on charges of driving under the influence. The Patriots have been carrying just four true wide receivers on their 53-man roster for most of the season, and their depth has been tested since No. 4 option Danny Amendola injured his ankle Dec. 4. Floyd had 33 catches for 446 yards and four touchdowns for Arizona this season.The Patriots and Broncos will play in the regular season for the sixth year in a row. The Patriots are 4-1 in the previous five meetings. Last season, the Patriots lost, 30-24, at Denver in overtime on Nov. 29. The Patriots and Broncos then faced each other in the AFC Title Game with Denver winning, 20-18, on Jan. 24, 2016.

Why Bet on Denver?

The Broncos find themselves in the thick of the AFC postseason race with an 8-5 record. Denver closes the season against three teams with double-digit win totals – New England (11), Kansas City (10) and Oakland (10). The Broncos, will be the fifth team in NFL history to play three straight games against 10-win teams. The only team to make the playoffs after playing three straight 10-win teams was the 1986 49ers.Denver comes off a 13-10 loss at Tennessee. The Titans held on as Trevor Siemian tried to rally Denver. He threw a 3-yard TD pass to Emmanuel Sanders with 9:58 left and drove the Broncos to first-and- goal at the Tennessee 7 before rookie Aaron Wallace sacked him. Coach Gary Kubiak settled for a 34-yard field goal by Brandon McManus on fourth-and- goal at the 16 with 4:28 left. Siemian was driving the Broncos again when A.J. Derby fumbled after a catch. Safety Daimion Stafford recovered with 53 seconds left, and the Titans finished off their biggest win in years.Kubiak issued a vote of confidence in struggling rookie running back Devontae Booker on Monday, but said he “has to step to the plate.” “I believe in Book,” Kubiak said. “He’s a good football player.” The recent results beg to differ, as Booker is averaging 2.72 yards over his past 98 carries/six games. Denver linebacker Von Miller has 13.5 sacks this season, tied for the NFL lead. In last year’s AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, Miller had 2.5 sacks and an interception as Denver advanced to Super Bowl 50 with a 20-18 victory.

New England vs Denver Expert Pick:

Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.Patriots are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 meetings in Denver.