Early start for the Chargers/Pats game up in the cold north. Here's to routing for the Chargers and them beating the Patriots at home! https://www.oddsshark.com/nfl/los-angeles-new-england-betting-2019-01-13-1089309 PATRIOTS AT HOME OR CHARGERS ON THE ROAD? THE ULTIMATE ‘HEAT CHECK’ GAME As a perfect example of “something’s got to give,” the New England Patriots put their unbeaten home record on the line in a divisional-round matchup against a team of road warriors in the Los Angeles Chargers. The Patriots may have had their ups and downs this season but there’s no debate about their ability to win at Gillette Stadium, where they finished 8-0 SU and 6-2 ATS in eight games and where they haven’t lost a playoff game since 2013. On the other hand, the Chargers are 8-1 SU and ATS in nine road games this year and haven’t lost this season outside of California. The Patriots opened as 5-point favorites (since moved to -4) with a total of 48.5 (since moved to 47). THE BETTING CASE FOR THE CHARGERS After suffocating the Ravens in the wild-card round and pushing their record to 8-1 SU and ATS in nine road games this season, the Chargers may be the best team left in the AFC that could dethrone New England. Los Angeles’s defense sacked Lamar Jackson seven times in that game and held the Ravens to a total of 11 first downs. The Chargers pass rush and Philip Rivers’ passing ability would be the two areas where they’ll have the edge in this game. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa seemed like they were in the backfield all day during the wild-card game and, historically, the way to beat the Patriots is to rush four linemen and get constant pressure without blitzing because Tom Brady is one of the few quarterbacks left in the NFL who is strictly a pocket passer. Disrupt Brady’s timing and it will open up the ability for the secondary to close in on the opposing receivers. Outside of Patrick Mahomes and Ben Roethlisberger, the Patriots haven’t faced a quarterback with the capability of Rivers this season. His role will be vital in exploiting the Pats defense through the air as New England allowed 29 passing touchdowns this season and ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed per game. Compared to how the Patriots fare against the run, allowing seven rushing touchdowns (ranked second) and 112.7 yards per game (ranked 11th), the secondary is the weak spot. Speaking of Rivers, while his playoff history isn’t spotless by any means, he still keeps games close. In six road playoff games in his career, the Chargers are 3-3 SU and an excellent 5-1 ATS. That being said, OddsShark pays me to remind bettors that the Chargers went into Foxborough last season in Week 8 and while the final score was 21-13, the game wasn’t even close. The Patriots led 21-7 at the start of the fourth quarter and Rivers was 17-for-30 for 212 yards passing. THE BETTING CASE FOR THE PATRIOTS While the case may be simple and almost too obvious, it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. The Patriots just don’t lose at home. New England went 8-0 SU and 6-2 ATS in eight home games this season with an average win margin of 16.2 points. Three of those games were against dumpster fires – the Jets, Bills and Dolphins – but the remaining wins were over the Chiefs, Colts, Texans, Packers and Vikings, so it’s not like they were handed a cupcake schedule to get to this point. When looking at the overall season stats for the Patriots, they still finished in the top 10 in both points scored and points allowed per game and most of the stats should be fairly even, given how dominant they were at home and how shoddy they were on the road. I tend to think the Patriots do their most damage when given an extra week to prepare and they haven’t lost a home playoff game since 2013. In the Brady-Belichick era, the trends to support a Patriots win are overwhelming, to say the least: 12-2 SU and 8-5-1 ATS in 14 divisional games. 19-9 SU and 13-15 ATS in 28 playoff games during the day. 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS in last six playoff games at home. 8-1 SU and 6-3 ATS in last nine playoff games at home. 19-3 SU and 12-9-1 ATS in 22 home playoff games since 2000. Another factor that aids the Patriots is the weather at Gillette Stadium. Early weather reports for Sunday are calling for a chilly day with potential for rain and snow showers. The Chargers as a West Coast team may be able to overcome that considering they beat the Chiefs and Steelers in colder weather but the Patriots are built for the elements and have no issue playing in less than ideal conditions. PATRIOTS GAMES LEADING TO UNDERS The total opened at 48.5 (since moved to 47) and riding the UNDER with Patriots games lately has proven to be a profitable endeavor. The UNDER has hit in eight of the Patriots’ last nine games with an average combined score of 40.8 points per game. The UNDER has also hit in four of the Chargers’ last five games (including playoffs) with an average combined score of 41.6 points per game. With the weather expected to be choppy and considering the fact that both of these teams rank in the top 10 in points allowed per game, another UNDER could be in the cards. WHERE I’M LAYING MY MONEY I’m taking the Chargers to cover the spread in this game but only if the line stays above +3.5. Being able to stay within a field goal will be imperative for spread bettors like myself and I think given how the Chargers have played this season, this will not be the typical walkover game like the Patriots are accustomed to in the playoffs. Out of the three remaining AFC teams in the playoffs, the Chargers pose the biggest threat to knock off New England at Gillette Stadium. Underdogs have also been profitable on the spread in the playoffs thus far as all four dogs covered the spread last weekend.