The Patriots will aim to reach their ninth Super Bowl

New England Patriots – AFC Championship Betting Odds

The Patriots will aim to reach their ninth Super Bowl

The New England Patriots will attempt to reach their ninth Super Bowl when they face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game.

Bill Belichick’s men have reached the title game for the sixth season on the spin, and have advanced in two of their previous five attempts, losing last term to the Denver Broncos on the road.

Their defeat last year will make Tom Brady and company determined to atone for their errors and earn the chance to compete for the Vince Lombardi trophy once again.

Breaking Down The Betting Options

The Patriots were far from their best in their win over the Houston Texans in the divisional round, but still managed to win by a comfortable margin.

Belichick and Brady were far from satisfied with their performance, as the quarterback threw two interceptions after being stifled by the AFC South outfit.

It’s rare to see the 39-year-old put together back-to-back matches of sub-par displays and he always manages to play well against the Steelers, notably beating them in the AFC Championship game in the 2004 campaign.

Brady put in a fine outing in their clash earlier this season, although on that occasion Ben Roethlisberger was absent with an injury, allowing the Patriots to ease to victory at Heinz Field.

The Steelers have improved since the match-up earlier this term and will have Roethlisberger back on the field, but it may not be enough to stop Brady and his offense.

Therefore backing the 39-year-old to throw over 280.5 yards at -125   would be a smart option, while also take Brady to notch over 2.5 touchdown strikes at -150   with Bovada sportsbook.

Mike Tomlin’s men struggled to get into the endzone last week and were held to six field goals. The Patriots boast the best scoring defense in the NFL, and could hold the Steelers in check again. Taking the under on 1.5 touchdown passes by Roethlisberger at +155   could be a good option.

New England are a strong team at home and rarely lose at Gillette Stadium in the playoffs. They have the offense to carve open the Steelers defense, so backing their win at -230   would be a prudent bet, although the visitors could cover the +6 spread at -105 .

Why The Patriots Could Win

Brady has performed well against the Steelers

Brady had a poor match by his high standards in his side’s win over the Texans, completing under 50% of his passes and throwing two interceptions. However, he did muster two touchdown strikes and was on form enough in the second half to allow the Patriots to pull clear and win by an 18-point margin.

The 39-year-old is usually money in the playoffs and should bounce back against a team he has always enjoyed playing. Brady boasts a 5-1 record against the Steelers since Tomlin took charge in the 2007 season and has exposed his defenses with relative ease.

He threw two touchdowns in their meeting earlier this term, although on this occasion he will be without tight end Rob Gronkowski. Martellus Bennett has been quiet of late, but he has the talent to fill the void left by the All-Pro and become a potent weapon for Brady to use downfield and in the endzone.

Julian Edelman has been sensational in the second half of the season and has put together back-to-back matches of over 100 yards. He was Brady’s safety blanket in their win over the Texans, coming up big for his quarterback with a number of clutch catches to ease the pressure on the offense.

Should he have another profitable afternoon against the Steelers inexperience secondary, New England will be able to dominate.

LeGarrette Blount also had success against Pittsburgh in their first clash with a 127-yard performance and two strikes in the endzone on the ground.

He was barely used last week and should be well rested for a run at Tomlin’s defense. When he has big games, it’s usually a good sign for the Patriots and the 30-year-old will be eager to impress against his former club.

Why The Patriots Could Lose

Brown could turn the match in the Steelers' favour

The Texans were able to disrupt Brady’s rhythm in the first half last week and were able to land several hits on the 39-year-old to knock his confidence in the pocket. Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus were both excellent in the contest and were a nightmare for the interior of the Patriots’ offensive line to handle.

James Harrison and Bud Dupree have the ability to cause the same amount of havoc. At the age of 38, Harrison continues to astound with his productivity on the field, producing a huge play in Pittsburgh’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs last week.

Dupree has been active in the backfield throughout the second half of the campaign since returning from injury and will be eager to make a lasting impact in the biggest game of his career to date.

Should both of those players knock the Patriots offense off course and get to Brady with regularity then it might be enough to swing the balance in the visitors’ favour.

On the other side of the ball, Le’Veon Bell has broken the Steelers’ post-season rushing record in back-to-back matches.

He has the ability to weave his way through New England ‘s defense on the ground if he is not bottled up and could limit Brady’s impact on the pitch by taking time off the clock, allowing Tomlin’s men to control the tempo.

Antonio Brown can also turn the game in an instant with the propensity to produce big plays out of nothing.

He might be guarded by Malcolm Butler in a one-on-one match-up and should he get the better of the Patriots cornerback, it will be very difficult for Belichick to stem the tide.

It’s a tough task to go into New England and win, but the Steelers have to talent to advance.

Tips Summary

New England Patriots to beat Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday 22nd January 18:40 ET (23:40 GMT)
Odds: -230

Tom Brady to throw over 280.5 yards
Sunday 22nd January 18:40 ET (23:40 GMT)
Odds: -125

Tom Brady to throw for over 2.5 touchdowns
Sunday 22nd January 18:40 ET (23:40 GMT)
Odds: -150

Ben Roethlisberger to throw under 1.5 touchdowns
Sunday 22nd January 18:40 ET (23:40 GMT)
Odds: +155

Pittsburgh Steelers to cover +6 spread
Sunday 22nd January 18:40 ET (23:40 GMT)
Odds: -105

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