Oddsmakers seem to believe – or think the wagering public believes – that the results of the two AFC games this weekend are a fait accompli, while the two NFC games are very evenly matched tossups.


Odds to win AFC Championship
11/10     Denver Broncos
7/5        New England Patriots
10/1       Houston Texans
10/1       Baltimore Ravens


Odds to win the NFC Championship
2/1         San Francisco 49ers
3/1         Atlanta Falcons (some places have the Falcons at 2/1)
3/1         Seattle Seahawks
3/1         Green Bay Packers


To put this into monetary terms, you need to risk $105 to win the following amount on what team will represent their conference in the Super Bowl; keep in mind it will take two victories to win:

$110 with the Broncos
$140 with the Patriots
$1,000 with the Texans
$1,000 with the Ravens

$200 with the 49ers
$300 with the Seahawks
$300 with the Falcons
$300 with the Packers


Current odds to win the Super Bowl
3/1         Denver Broncos
7/2         New England Patriots
5/1         San Francisco 49ers
7/1         Green Bay Packers
8/1         Atlanta Falcons
8/1         Seattle Seahawks
20/1       Houston Texans
20/1       Baltimore Ravens


And again in monetary terms; how much you could gain if you are correct with your pick, based on a risk of $105:

$300       Denver Broncos
$350       New England Patriots
$500       San Francisco 49ers
$700       Green Bay Packers
$800       Atlanta Falcons
$800       Seattle Seahawks
$2,000   Houston Texans
$2,000   Baltimore Ravens


But wait, how could this be? I thought conventional wisdom was that the NFC was ‘clearly the superior conference’ according to mediots and fans ever since last year’s Super Bowl, a line that was often repeated all season long. The reason the Broncos and Patriots are the top favorites has more to do with the fact few are believers in the Texans and Ravens; their long odds make the odds for the pats and Broncos a wash when comparing the two conferences. Look for the numbers between the four remaining teams to become much closer after next Sunday – that is, unless Houston or Baltimore manages to pull off an upset.


To me the risk/reward just isn’t there to justify a wager for either the Pats or the Broncos with these odds; it’s just not worth it.


Whether or not the Broncos are overrated, that’s another story; one could make compelling arguments on both sides of that debate. On one hand there’s Denver losing to the only quality opponents they have faced (Texans, Falcons, Patriots), catching a pair of other teams when they were not playing well (Bengals, Ravens), while facing some awful defenses (Raiders twice, Chiefs twice, Saints). On the other hand there is no denying that a nine-game winning streak and a 13-win season is very impressive in today’s NFL – even if the combined records of those opponents is 80-128.


One thing that has been happening all year is the media’s fawning over Peyton Manning. The comeback has been something far beyond what almost anybody expected, but somehow it has spilled over to become this idea that the Broncos are unstoppable, or at minimum are locks to win the AFC. Overlooked is the fact that the Broncos have faced only one top-ten (per Football Outsiders) defense, Houston – and they struggled. By comparison the Patriots played against eight top-ten FO defenses – and still outscored the Broncos by about five points per game.


Bottom line is that I sense the oddsmakers believe that the public is, or will be swayed by the hype about manning and the Broncos. Make no doubt about it, they are very good team; I just think the odds are a reflection of the publicity, which shapes public opinion.


As for this week’s games, right now the favorites are as follows, depending upon where you shop:

Patriots favored by 9 to 9½ over Houston, with an over/under of 47½

Broncos favored by 8½ to 9 over Baltimore, with an over/under of 46 to 46½

49ers favored by 3 over Green Bay, with an over/under of 44½ to 45

Falcons favored by 2½, with an over/under of 45½ to 46½



This Day In Patriots History


January 9, 1951:
Dick Conn was born in Louisville; the safety appeared in 46 games for the Patriots from 1975-1979.


January 9, 1957:
Rick Sanford was born in South Carolina.

The Patriots selected the in the first round of the 1979 draft, 25th overall. Sanford appeared in 90 games for the Pats at safety 1979 to 1984. The former South Carolina Gamecock had 16 interceptions with the Pats, including a 99-yarder for a touchdown in 1982. Sanford also had nine fumble recoveries, including one he ran back 22 yards for a touchdown in a win against the Colts in 1980.


January 9, 1965:
Vincent Brown was born in Atlanta

Linebacker Vincent ‘The Undertaker’ Brown was drafted by the Patriots in the 2nd round (43rd overall) out of Mississippi Valley State in the 1988 draft. Brown spent all eight years of his NFL career with the Pats, appearing in 123 games and starting 103, mostly at left inside linebacker. For his career Brown had 16½ sacks, ten interceptions, six forced fumbles, and one touchdown. He totaled 811 tackles, including 158 in 1993 – though individual tackles were not an official stat at that time. Brown was a three-time Pro Bowler, gaining a trip to Hawaii in 1991, 1992 and 1993; today he is a linebackers coach with the University of Virginia Cavaliers.


January 9, 1993:
Sam Jankovich resigns after two years as the team’s CEO. The resignation came one day after Jankovich fired Dick MacPherson, and left both the head coaching and top executive position of football operations vacant. A few weeks later the Patriots would hire Bill Parcells as head coach.



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January 9, 1941:
Joan Baez was born on Staten Island

January 9, 1944:
Jimmy Page was born in London

January 9, 1950:
David Johansen, aka Buster Poindexter was born on Staten Island; the New York Dolls singer is known to some as the cab driver in Scrooged or as Officer Gunter Toody in the movie version of Car 54 Where Are You?

January 9, 1963:
Charlie Watts joined the Rolling Stones

January 9, 1967:
Dave Matthews was born in Charlottesville




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