Friday, October 31, 2014

Denver Broncos Vs. New England Patriots: DEN -3 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

There's not much to report for this spread. It was -3 in the look-ahead line, it reopened at the same number after Week 8, and it still sits there now as I'm writing this. In my opinion, I think this line needs to be -3.5 or higher, but given how big this game is I'm not surprised it's at the current number. Betting is pretty much split with 53% of the early wagers coming in on Denver.

Bottom Line

This is clearly the biggest matchup of the week, and there is going to be more analysis and talk about it than I care to get into here.  The primary reason why I like the Broncos is the same thing I've been repeating all year - their defense.

Peyton Manning gets all the headlines, but their defense really needs to get more attention. They have several key players back from injury that they didn't have in the Super Bowl, and they added some quality pieces as well. When you throw in the fact that they usually get to play with a lead, there's plenty of reasons to declare this team as the best in football - and by a fair margin.

This unit ranks in the top 10 versus the run, the pass, in adjusted sack rate, disrupted drive success, and the red zone. That's a much different animal that Tom Brady will be facing compared to the woeful Bears defense.

Do I think this game has the potential to be close? Sure. The Patriots are playing a lot better now than they were earlier in the year. The better question is whether or not it will be enough.

I doubt it.

And this is also a game in which the Chandler Jones injury should be a factor, too. It didn't really matter last week against the Bears, but a glaring weakness is something Peyton knows how to exploit.

NFL Pick: DEN -3.

Read more: Week 9 picks.