The Daily Line

Sportsbooks set Patriots as underdogs for AFC title game

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Sportsbooks set Patriots as underdogs for AFC title game

The New England Patriots (12-5) will be playing in their eighth consecutive AFC Championship Game on Sunday when they visit the Kansas City Chiefs (13-4). But this time, the NFL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com have the Patriots listed as consensus three-point road underdogs, a role they have played just once over the past decade en route to making four of their record 10 Super Bowl appearances all-time.

New England closed as a 4.5-point road underdog five years ago and fell 26-16 to the Denver Broncos. More recently, the team has hosted the AFC Championship Game three of the past four seasons before advancing to the Super Bowl each time - winning the big game twice. The question is, can future Hall of Famer Tom Brady do it again away from home opposite a second-year player and first-year starter in league MVP favorite Patrick Mahomes?

The Patriots are 7-1 straight up and against the spread in their last eight games as underdogs on the NFL point spread. However, you have to go back to 2007 to find the last time they won a postseason road game, knocking off the San Diego Chargers 24-21 as 4.5-point underdogs in the Divisional Round before losing 38-34 to the Indianapolis Colts as 3.5-point road dogs in the AFC Championship Game.

Following the 2001 regular season, New England also upset the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-17 as an eight-point road underdog in the AFC Championship Game on the way to winning the franchise's first Vince Lombardi Trophy. That is when the legend of Brady was born, as he and the Patriots later topped the St. Louis Rams 20-17 as 14-point underdogs for the first of their five Super Bowl titles. But they went only 3-5 SU and ATS on the road this season, which is a major concern heading into Kansas City.

The Chiefs nearly won the first meeting earlier this year in Week 6 but came up short in a 43-40 loss at Gillette Stadium. Kansas City did cover the spread though as a 3.5-point road underdog and has done so in three of the past four meetings overall as well. While the Chiefs are 8-1 SU in their last nine games at Arrowhead, their recent playoff failures simply cannot be ignored. They are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games as favorites in the postseason and only 2-11 SU and ATS in their previous 13 playoff games overall.

Kansas City enters the weekend as a +275 wager (bet $100 to win $275) on the Super Bowl odds. New England trails at +333 on those betting futures.

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Betting line tight for Celtics vs. Raptors Wednesday NBA matchup

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Betting line tight for Celtics vs. Raptors Wednesday NBA matchup

Every time it looks like the Boston Celtics (25-18) have finally turned the corner and started to play like one of the preseason betting favorites to win the Eastern Conference, they hit a bump and make you question their legitimacy all over again.

In the latest case, the Celtics literally hit a bump on the road by going 0-3 straight up and against the spread on a recently completed three-game trip before heading home for Wednesday's big showdown with the East-leading Toronto Raptors (33-12) as  small opening 1-point favorites on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Boston lost the three games by a combined 25 points after falling 109-102 to the Brooklyn Nets as 2.5-point road favorites at betting sites on Monday. The Celtics were favored in all three games too, and they had put together a four-game winning streak both SU and ATS prior to their skid, with each victory taking place at TD Garden.

Now back in Boston, they would like to use their home court as an advantage versus a Toronto team riding a five-game winning streak.

The Raptors have gone 3-2 ATS during their winning streak, according to the OddsShark NBA Database, and they are coming off a 140-138 double-overtime win over the Washington Wizards on the road Sunday, failing to cover as five-point favorites.

Kawhi Leonard led Toronto with a team-high 41 points in that victory while also grabbing 11 rebounds. Leonard has averaged 30.7 points in the last three games after sitting out a 121-105 victory against the Indiana Pacers on January 6 because it was the second game of a back-to-back situation.

The Celtics and Raptors have split the first two meetings this year, with each of them winning and covering the spread on their own home court. The last meeting took place at Boston on November 16 and resulted in a 123-116 OT victory for the host, which closed as a two-point favorite. Kyrie Irving had a game-high 43 points and 11 assists for the Celtics, and he is looking to return here after sitting out Monday due to a bruised quadriceps.

Despite that loss, Toronto is still 9-5 SU and 10-4 ATS in the past 14 meetings with Boston. The Raptors also remain +180 favorites (bet $100 to win $180) on the Eastern Conference betting futures with the Celtics second at +230.

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Patriots small home favorites in Divisional Playoff matchup

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Patriots small home favorites in Divisional Playoff matchup

The New England Patriots (11-5) have not won less than 12 games during the regular season or been favored by less than six points going into their previous seven AFC Divisional Playoff games - all of which they have won.

However, this Sunday at Gillette Stadium the Patriots will be hosting a Los Angeles Chargers team that has a better record (13-4) and is riding a seven-game road winning streak both straight up and against the spread. New England is a four-point favorite on the NFL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, the lowest number for the team at home in the playoffs since 2010.

The Patriots lost to the Baltimore Ravens 33-14 as four-point favorites in the Wild Card round then, and they have since gone 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS in their first postseason game the last eight years. New England has had the luxury of home-field advantage in all of those games.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles has enjoyed a lot of success away from home the past two seasons since moving from San Diego and upset the Ravens 23-17 last Sunday as three-point road underdogs to kick off their playoff run. The big question is, will it end Sunday in Foxborough or continue on with the team's first AFC Championship Game appearance in 12 years?

The Chargers have gone 12-4 SU and 13-3 ATS in their last 16 road games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database, including last week's victory.

Chargers veteran quarterback Philip Rivers played with a torn ACL the last time they visited the Patriots in the postseason, which was also the last time they were a game away from the Super Bowl. Rivers is hoping to get the best of New England's Tom Brady this time around after falling 21-12 in that last playoff meeting, and the defense could be the difference.

Los Angeles sacked Baltimore rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson seven times last week and had one interception while holding the opposition scoreless through the first two quarters. Brady is obviously no rookie, and as a future Hall of Famer, his legacy will not be judged by this game either. While Brady's experience figures to work in his team's favor, the Patriots are also hoping the ageless wonder does not finally break down when they need him the most.

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