At long last, the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos are set to kick off their head-to-head matchup at Gillette Stadium. This game had originally been set to go down in Week 5 but was postponed after a number of positive COVID-19 tests popped up for New England -- most notably being Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. Now, both Gilmore and quarterback Cam Newton, who had already been on the reserve/COVID list, are back at practice for the Patriots and this matchup is well on its way to happening.
Here, we'll be giving all the latest betting angles for this matchup from the spread, total, and a few player props that catch our eye. We'll also be diving into the latest trends and how the lines have moved throughout the week. All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.
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Broncos at Patriots (-9.5)
This line has been pretty consistent throughout the week. After opening at Patriots -9.5, it briefly ticked up to Patriots -10 on Wednesday but settled back down a half-point and has held true heading into the weekend.
The pick: Patriots -9.5. The last time we saw the Patriots defense, they looked like the 2019 version of themselves, holding Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to just 12 points through the first three quarters. With Cam Newton set to make his return from a battle with COVID-19, New England's offense is now high-powered enough to match its defense and put away clubs. Speaking of Newton, he's covered 75% of his starts as a touchdown favorite in his career. Broncos quarterback Drew Lock has a solid ATS record (5-2) of his own, but Bill Belichick typically finds a way to irk young signal-callers.
The total has seen a dive after opening up at 46.5. It dropped a full point on the day it opened and continued to drop a half-point to 45 on Thursday.
The pick: Under 45. Given the extended break, I expect both clubs to ease their players back in during a game that could heavily feature the run. Along with Newton returning, Damien Harris also emerged in Week 4 and it's safe to assume the Patriots will hand him the rock plenty in his second game of 2020. As for the Broncos, Phillip Lindsay is expected to be back with the club to further enhance their running game. Both of these teams also have a stout defense. Meanwhile, the Under is 20-7 in Denver's last 27 games against an AFC opponent.
Best prop bets
Cam Newton anytime touchdown scorer (+100). Newton was atop the league in rushing touchdowns prior to missing Week 4 due to his COVID-19 diagnosis. When the Patriots get in the red zone, he is one of their go-to options with his legs. Getting plus money here seems too good to pass up.
James White total receptions: Over 3.5 (+110). White is a key figure in the Patriots passing game and was targeted eight times against Kansas City in Week 4. He should see plenty of targets thrown his way to pave the way for him to hit the Over on his receptions.
Phillip Lindsay anytime touchdown scorer (+188). Melvin Gordon is questionable for this matchup due to an illness and it's still unclear whether or not the team will punish him in this game following a DUI. All that could result in Lindsay seeing an increase in carries against New England and put him in a greater position to find the end zone.
Damiere Byrd total receptions: Over 3.5 (+120). Over Byrd's previous three games, he's averaging 7.3 targets per contest which sets him up nicely to hit the Over for this reception total if that trend continues in Week 6.
Julian Edelman total receiving yards: Under 53.5 (-110). Edelman has been in a bit of a slump over the previous two contests, totaling just 58 receiving yards in those two games combined. With Byrd emerging in the passing game and N'Keal Harry also being a go-to target for Newton, I don't see Edelman getting over this total on Sunday.