There has been much said about the visiting Patriots being underdogs in Sunday’s AFC title game at Denver.
Now, let’s take a minute to ponder the Broncos as favorites.
For starters, Denver has been favored in every game this season. In fact, the Broncos have been favored in their last 28 games entering the conference-title round, per Mark Lawrence point spread archives for 2012 and 2013 data from “The Linemakers” of Sporting News.
Overall, the Broncos have won 24 of these 28 games — an .857 winning percentage.
Their starting quarterback in all of those games, of course, was Peyton Manning.
And, as you might expect, the teams Manning has led in his NFL career have generally been favored by oddsmakers.
In fact, since 1998, Manning’s Colts (1998-2010) and Broncos (2012-present) have been favored 203 times, according to Lawrence, “The Linemakers” and Jim Feist point spread data.
And of those 203 games, Manning’s teams have won 157 and lost just 46 — a 77.4 percent win rate.
And since some of you are surely wondering, Manning-led teams have beaten the point spread at about a 54.8 percent rate when favored.
Of course, Manning’s record is far stronger in the regular season than the postseason. For the record, the Colts were 6-7 straight-up when favored in playoff games with Manning, while the Broncos are 1-1 when favored in the last two postseasons. Remarkably, Manning-led teams have been one-and-done as favorites in 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012.
Twice Manning-led teams have won multiple postseason games as favorites. In both seasons — 2006 and 2009 — the Colts made the Super Bowl.