Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
The Pittsburgh Steelers (13-5) were able to upset the Kansas City Chiefs as 2.5-point road underdogs on the NFL point spreads at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark without scoring a touchdown in last Sunday’s divisional playoff game.
The Steelers will be hard-pressed to duplicate that feat when they visit the New England Patriots (15-2) in this Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium, where points could again be at a premium.
When you think about both of these AFC finalists, you instantly think offense, much like the NFC Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. But unlike that NFC matchup, Pittsburgh and New England each play underrated defense that has been the key to them making it this far.
And field goals could well play an important role, too, putting extra pressure on the kickers to come through.
Last week, Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell booted a postseason-record six field goals in an 18-16 win at Kansas City. The over/under total on field goals in the AFC Championship Game on the NFL betting props for this week is just 3.5, with the over an underdog at +125 (bet $100 to win $125) and the under the -145 favorite (bet $145 to win $100).
In the first meeting between the teams in Week 7 of the regular season, it is worth noting that Boswell made three of his five field-goal attempts and New England’s Stephen Gostkowski did not try one and missed an extra point as his team won 27-16 as seven-point road chalk.
The Steelers played without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger due to a knee injury.
If you think the first score will be a field goal or safety, you can also get a solid payout of +165 as opposed to the favored touchdown at -190. The first three scores of the last meeting were all touchdowns, though, including the first two by the Patriots, as Boswell’s first field goal did not come until there were two seconds left before halftime.
Additional defensive-oriented props that could end up cashing include the possibility of a defensive touchdown being scored, with “yes” the underdog at +180 and “no” a -220 favorite. The large return on a safety being scored at any point in the game is +800.