The AFC championship odds once again favor the New England Patriots over the Baltimore Ravens. Can the Pats cover the spread without Gronkowski? Can the Ravens keep beating the odds and extend Ray Lewis's career?
The New England Patriots had been a terrible playoff bet (1-6 ATS) before covering the spread against Houston last weekend.
The Baltimore Ravens had been a terrible bet as a big underdog (0-16 SU) before pulling the upset at Denver last weekend.
Odds makers and bettors seem to believe that New England will continue its trend, as the AFC Conference Championship odds turned heavily in favor of the Patriots (9 points as of Thursday).
Just over a month after crushing Houston 42-14 on Monday Night Football back in Week 14, New England once again dismantled the Texans last week in a 41-28 win in the AFC Championship Game.
Averaging about 35 points per game to lead the NFL, New England's offense has flexed its muscles all season long and could lead the Patriots to their second straight Super Bowl berth with a win Sunday.
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The total, which had climbed to 52.5 at one sportsbook tracked by OddsShark.com by Thursday, has gone OVER in 12 of New England's last 15 games and in seven of its last eight home games.
After entering the playoffs on a 1-4 SU and ATS skid, the Baltimore Ravens are starting to look like a team of destiny. Fueled by the return of Ray Lewis, Baltimore beat Indianapolis 24-9 two weeks ago and followed that up by snapping Denver's 11-game winning streak with an upset win on the road last Saturday.
Joe Flacco stepped up in the 38-35 win with 331 yards passing and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
New England is 7-2 SU and 5-3-1 ATS all-time in nine games against the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore has held New England to 27 points or less in seven of their last eight games and hasn't lost to the Patriots by more than six points in each of their last six games.
The Patriots are more than capable of blowing anyone in the league out on any given Sunday, and that may end up being what happens this weekend. But considering the fact that the Ravens always play New England close, are playing inspired football and just beat the AFC's best team last week, how can you lay nine points against them?
Look for Baltimore to keep its stretch of close games against Tom Brady alive, and to be in the running for an upset come the fourth quarter.
PICK: The Odds Shark computer is 7-1 SU in the playoffs so far and has New England winning 40-29. We are not so sure they can avoid the back-door cover two weeks in a row and play on Baltimore at +9. (courtesy of PickShark.com)