The NFL’s best rivalry will take center-stage on Sunday
afternoon when the Indianapolis Colts (6-3, 2-3 road, 5-3-1 ATS) travel to
Foxboro to meet the New England Patriots (7-2, 4-0 home, 5-3-1 ATS).
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET. The game will be
televised nationally by CBS. The Patriots opened as three-point favorites
(-120) and the number has held fairly steady in early NFL betting and
sportsbooks have the total holding firm at 50 ½ points.
Indianapolis is coming off an uninspiring 23-17 win against the Cincinnati Bengals as
seven-point chalk. Cincinnati
scored late in the fourth quarter for the backdoor cover. Peyton Manning was
held without a touchdown pass and only threw for 185 yards in the win.
New England picked up a road win against Pittsburgh on NBC Sunday Night Football by a
score of 39-26. The Patriots were 5 ½-point underdogs heading into the game.
Tom Brady threw for 350 yards and three scores in the effort. Heading into a
matchup with Manning, it is important to note that the New
England defense allowed Ben Roethlisberger to pass for 387 yards
and three touchdowns.
Recent series trends favor the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four regular season matchups between the
clubs. The Colts are 3-2 ATS against the Patriots since the beginning of the
The ‘under’ is 3-2 since 2006. It should be remembered,
however, that the teams scored a combined 69 points in their last meeting on
November 15, 2010 (Belichick’s infamous fourth-down game).
Ratings indicate that the Patriots are a solid play. New England is ranked
2nd with a power rating of 27.43, while Indianapolis is ranked 8th with a
power ranking of 23.93. Those numbers actually justify a 6 ½-point spread. New England is 3-1 SU vs. Sagarin top-10 teams while Indy
is 0-1. Sagarin’s Predictor ratings call for a closer game, giving the Patriots
a four-point advantage at home.
There are some major statistical concerns for New England heading into the second half of the season.
The Patriots are ranked in the bottom half of the league in both yards gained
and yards allowed. Indianapolis
has passed for the 3rd most yards in the league (2600), while the
Patriots rank 30th in passing yards allowed (2500).
Looking at the game from a numbers standpoint, I am not sure
how New England has achieved a 7-2 SU record.
They tend to find a way to win, which is a sign of great coaching. I think,
however, that the Indianapolis Colts are a poor matchup for the Patriots this
season. Peyton Manning will want to atone for his subpar game against the
Bengals, and will feast on the terrible New England
secondary. I don’t think either team will run the ball effectively. The Colts
will make a few more plays on offense, allowing them to win the game SU in
I also like the Colts from a psychological viewpoint. The
Patriots just had an emotional game against the Steelers on national television.
They could run out of gas during this contest. Bettors remember New England’s
win and Indianapolis’
poor performance (82% of bets are currently on the Patriots). I like Peyton
Manning in this spot.
It is a bit early to make a definitive call on the total due
to uncertain weather conditions in Foxboro. If, however, conditions are
favorable, the ‘over’ seems to be a solid play. Both clubs are going to pass
the ball much more than they run, and neither defense is spectacular.
I’ll call for the Colts to pick up a SU upset by a score of
34-27. Take Indy plus the points and the ‘over’ for one-unit apiece.
Thanks to yahoo.com, espn.com, nfl.com, and sbrodds.com for
all records, trends, and statistics.