AFC Divisional Round Betting Preview

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Unlike the NFC, the two top seeds in the AFC have both been here before and gone on to represent the conference in the Super Bowl each of the past two years.

That is one of the main reasons why the top-seeded Denver Broncos (12-4) and second-seeded New England Patriots (12-4) are each solid favorites to advance to the AFC Championship Game, where they could meet for the second time in three seasons.

The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots are five-point betting favorites and have the more difficult matchup of the two, as they will host the streaking Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) on Saturday to kick off the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

The Chiefs have won their last 11 games after blanking the Houston Texans 30-0 in their AFC Wild Card game as three-point road favorites last Saturday. Kansas City is also 8-3 against the spread during its win streak.

But New England should be very motivated to defeat the Chiefs after getting embarrassed by them at Arrowhead Stadium early last season. Kansas City crushed the Patriots 41-14 as 2.5-point home underdogs in Week 4, making many question whether or not their dynasty was over.

New England quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick then used that criticism to spark the team’s Super Bowl run.

Denver is hoping the return of quarterback Peyton Manning will spark a similar run this year after he replaced Brock Osweiler in the regular-season finale. Manning has recovered from a foot injury and will be starting for the first time since Week 10 when the Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-6) on Sunday.

Manning missed the first meeting with the Steelers in Week 15, which resulted in a 34-27 road loss for Denver as a seven-point underdog. The Broncos are seven-point home betting favorites this time around.

The Steelers will be looking to overcome a few key injuries and pull off the upset following an 18-16 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals as two-point road favorites last Saturday. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder), running back DeAngelo Williams (knee) and wide receiver Antonio Brown (concussion) were all considered questionable for Sunday’s game as of midweek.


Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.