Manning vs. Brady: A Bettor’s Perspective

When yesterday’s San Diego/Denver game went final on Sunday evening, Roger Goodell and the rest of the folks down at the league office must have been doing cartwheels. Not only did the league have arguably the best budding rivalry in football with the Seahawks hosting the 49ers, but also one of the best individual rivalries in sports with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning meeting for the fifteenth time in their illustrious careers (including three postseason games).

It’s a story we’ve all heard too many times to count: Manning — the can’t miss prospect, former number one draft pick and son of a Mississippi legend. Brady — a sixth round draft pick rushed into action following an injury to the incumbent starter. Combined these two players have thrown for over 110,000 yards while accumulating 22 Pro Bowl appearances, 6 MVP awards (likely 7 after this season), 4 Super Bowl rings, and eventually 2 plaques in Canton.

In fact, not only have Brady and Manning been invaluable to their respective teams, but they’ve also been highly productive for sports bettors. Using the QB filter in our Bet Labs software, we were able to determine that Brady and Manning have actually been the two most profitable signal callers to bet on over the past decade.

Most Profitable QB's

Brady has owned the head-to-head matchup with ten wins to Manning’s four; however, the Broncos enter the AFC Championship with the superior record, home-field advantage, and are listed as 4.5-point favorites for this weekend’s showdown.  While Brady has owned the individual matchup, the question remains how can sports bettors take advantage of this classic rivalry?

The table below, using line data from Pinnacle and public betting data from our seven contributing sportsbooks, displays the betting trends from Brady and Manning’s 14 previous encounters.

Date
Home Team
Opening Line
Closing Line
Home Betting %
Closing Total
Score
Home Cover?
9/30/2001 Patriots N/A Pats -12 N/A 44 44-13 NE Yes
10/21/2001 Colts N/A Pats -10.5 N/A 47 38-17 NE No
11/30/2003 Colts Colts -4 Colts -3.5 39% 43.5 38-34 NE No
1/18/2004* Patriots Pats -3.5 Pats -3.5 46% 42 24-14 NE Yes
9/9/2004 Patriots Pats -3 Pats -3 51% 45 27-24 NE Push
1/16/2005* Patriots Pats -2 Pick 'Em 38% 52 20-3 NE Yes
11/7/2005 Patriots Colts -3 Colts -4 44% 48 40-21 IN No
11/5/2006 Patriots Pats -1 Pats -3 41% 48 27-20 IN No
1/21/2007* Colts Colts -3 Colts -3.5 58% 47 38-34 IN Yes
11/4/2007 Colts Pats -4 Pats -5.5 38% 56.5 24-20 NE Yes
11/15/2009 Colts Colts -3 Colts -1 36% 48 35-34 IN Push
11/21/2010 Patriots Pats -3 Pats -4 54% 49.5 31-28 NE No
10/7/2012 Patriots Pats -7 Pats -6 56% 50.5 31-21 NE Yes
11/24/2013 Patriots Broncos -1 Pats -1 39% 54 34-31 NE Yes

* Indicates playoff game

Despite the Patriots 10-4 SU (straight up) record against Manning, the team has only posted a 7-5-2 ATS record in those 14 games including a 2-0 mark since Peyton signed with the Broncos. It’s also interesting to note that home-field advantage has been minimized with the home team also posting a 7-5-2 ATS record.

This season, Manning has the advantage over Brady in terms of passing yards (5477 to 4343), touchdowns (55 to 25), completion percentage (68.3 to 60.5) and QBR (82.9 to 61.1). Those advantages are clearly displayed below on our smart chart, which is available to all active members on the “Matchup” page.

NE DEN h2h

The Patriots, who opened as 7-point underdogs at Pinnacle, have been pounded by the public in early betting and have received 76% of spread bets. This influx of public money on New England has helped to quickly move the line to 4.5, but we will continue to monitor this line movement as the week progresses.

Who do you like in this weekend’s AFC Championship game? Which signal caller will have the longer lasting legacy? Make sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

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