If the Denver defense shuts down Tom Brady today, the Broncos’ dwindling group of detractors might shut up for a while.
At the same time, it’s highly unlikely Denver quarterback Kyle Orton is going to win a shootout with the New England Patriots.
The unbeaten Broncos are 3-point home underdogs to the Patriots. Denver’s defense ranks No. 1 in the NFL in scoring, allowing 6.5 points per game, and The Gold Sheet handicapper Bruce Marshall said he expects a tight, low-scoring game.
Marshall is 4-0 with recommended plays on the Broncos under the total this season, so he’s riding the trend and betting under 41.
“Denver has allowed no cheap scores yet through its four games, which has greatly contributed to the ‘under’ pattern,” Marshall said.
“The Patriots will contribute to a slower pace because (coach) Bill Belichick is re-emphasizing the run and a shorter passing game, designed in part to protect Brady and his surgically repaired knee. Belichick is unlikely to subject Brady to the Denver pass rush.
“There is a fundamental problem oddsmakers have when a team like Denver keeps posting combined scores in the 20s. The oddsmakers simply can’t post a total as low as Denver’s pattern warrants. By the looks of the total this week, we’re not there yet.”
Marshall outlines technical notes on other Week 5 games:
• Tampa Bay at Philadelphia: The Buccaneers are 1-7 against the spread (ATS) in their past eight games. Eagles coach Andy Reid is 7-2 ATS as a home favorite since last year. Edge: Eagles.
• Cincinnati at Baltimore: Ravens coach John Harbaugh is 3-1 ATS this season and 17-6 since taking over last year. Baltimore also is 9-1 ATS in its past 10 as a favorite. Edge: Ravens.
• Atlanta at San Francisco: 49ers coach Mike Singletary is 4-0 ATS this season and 9-2-1 in the past 12 games. San Francisco is 7-2 under the total in its past nine. Falcons coach Mike Smith is 7-3 under on the road. Edge: 49ers, Under.
• Houston at Arizona: Texans coach Gary Kubiak is 16-9 over the total in his past 25 games, and the Cardinals are 22-9 over in their past 31. Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt is 0-2 as a favorite this season, and the underdog has covered in the past six Cardinals games. Kubiak is 5-3 ATS in his past eight as a road ‘dog. Edge: Texans, Over.
Compiled by Las Vegas Review-Journal sports writer Matt Youmans.