Special to Outkick The Coverage from OddsShark.com
The second-seeded New England Patriots (13-4) are favored to get to their second straight Super Bowl as 3.5-point road chalk against the top-seeded Denver Broncos (13-4) in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots are looking to win their second consecutive Vince Lombardi Trophy and fifth overall while the Broncos are hoping to return to the big game for the second time in three years and get a victory.
Denver lost to the Seattle Seahawks 43-8 as a two-point favorite in Super Bowl XLVIII and may be making one last run with quarterback Peyton Manning under center.
Manning will be facing New England’s Tom Brady for the 17th time in their illustrious careers and has gone just 5-11 straight-up and 6-9-1 against the spread in their 16 previous meetings.
Brady has won four of the past five between the two future Hall of Famers.
These teams also squared off in Week 12 of the regular season with Brock Osweiler starting for Manning due to a foot injury, and the Broncos upset the Patriots 30-24 in overtime as 2.5-point home underdogs.
However, New England was without wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot) and saw tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) get hurt late in the game. While Manning has also dropped five of six versus Brady as an underdog, his team is 5-0 straight-up and ATS in its past five as a dog of three points or less overall.
In the NFC Championship Game, two teams that have not been there in a while will meet for the right to play in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium.
The top-seeded Carolina Panthers (16-1) have won 12 straight home games dating back to last season and will host the Arizona Cardinals (14-3), who have won their last five road games with a 4-1 mark ATS.
Carolina played in the 2006 NFC Championship Game and lost to the Seahawks 34-14 on the road. Three years later, Arizona beat the Philadelphia Eagles 32-25 at home before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII.
The Panthers are also 3.5-point betting favorites against the Cardinals, led by likely NFL MVP Cam Newton, who had a career year with a league-high 45 touchdowns (35 passing and 10 rushing).
The Cardinals saw their quarterback Carson Palmer enjoy his best season as well with a career-high 4,671 passing yards and 35 touchdowns, which tied Newton for second behind Brady, who led the NFL with 36 and 4,770 yards.