New England & Tom Brady are 3-0 both straight-up and against the spread against Indianapolis with Andrew Luck. Brady and Luck meet for the fourth time, and for the second straight season in the playoffs, when the Patriots host the Colts for the AFC championship game Sunday evening.
AFC Championship Game Betting Odds
Most of the NFL odds opened this game with New England favored by seven points, the total offered at 54. Both those numbers were holding steady in the early betting.
Those who think Indy might pull the upset could get +255 on the AFC championship game moneyline at SportBet.
Colts-Patriots: Championship Match-Up
Indianapolis started this season 0-2, with losses at Denver and at home to Philadelphia. But since then the Colts have won 13 of 16 games outright, while going 11-4-1 ATS. Two weeks ago Indy defeated Cincinnati 26-10 in an AFC wild-card game, and last week the Colts went out to Denver and beat the Broncos in the divisional round 24-13, pulling the upset as nine-point road underdogs.
Indy spotted Denver the first seven points of the game, then held the Broncos to a pair of field goals from there. The Colts outrushed Denver 99-88, outgained the Broncs 364-288 and won time-of-possession by a 34/26 margin.
So Indy is back in the AFC championship game for the first time under Luck, and the first time since 2009.
New England started 2-2 this season, including that embarrassing Monday night loss at Kansas City. But since then the Patriots are 11-1 SU in games that actually mattered, 8-4 ATS. Last week New England rallied twice from two touchdowns down to beat Baltimore 35-31, advancing to the AFC championship game for the fourth season in a row.
The Patriots spotted the Ravens a 14-0 lead, tied it at 14-14, fell down 28-14 but tied it at 28-28, gave up a field goal but scored on Tom Brady's third TD pass of the game with five minutes to go, giving New England its first and only lead of the game. The Patriots then secured the victory when Duran Harmon intercepted Joe Flacco near the end zone with about 90 seconds left.
New England got outrushed by Baltimore 136-14, and lost time-of-possession by a 33-27 margin. That's a big part of why the Patriots lost that game ATS as seven-point favorites.
Key Betting Stats
Indy ranked fifth in the league this season in average time-of-possession at 31:54, while New England ranked 23rd at 29:36. Teams that won the TOP battle this NFL season covered the spread 66 percent of the time.
New England outrushed opponents this season by a 108-104 YPG margin; Indy got outrushed by a 113-101 margin. Teams that outrushed their opponents this NFL season covered the spread 69 percent of the time.
Colts-Patriots Recent History
These teams just met back in Week 11, when New England went into Indianapolis and came away with a 42-20 victory. The Patriots held the upper hand for most of the game, although they only led by one score at 28-20 early in the fourth quarter. New England then scored the last 14 points to give the impression of a blowout.
The Patriots outrushed the Colts that day 246-19, as little-used running back Jonas Gray went off for 201 yards, held a 34/26 time-of-possession advantage and won outright as three-point road underdogs.
That game was tagged with the largest OVER/UNDER we saw all season, 58; it played OVER when Brady and Gronk hooked up for a score with seven minutes go go.
Last January the Patriots knocked the Colts out of the playoffs with a 43-22 victory in the divisional round. New England outrushed Indy that day 234-69 and covered as an eight-point home favorite.
In the first Brady-Luck meeting back in November of 2012 the Patriots picked the then-rookie off three times, returning two of those for touchdowns, in a 59-24 New England rout.
Colts-Patriots Betting Trends
New England is 17-1 SU, 12-6 ATS over its last 18 home games.
Indy is 6-3 both SU and ATS on the road this season.
The Patriots went 9-7 on the totals during the regular season, as their games averaged 49 points.
The Colts also went 9-7 on the totals this season, as their games averaged 52 points. But Indy has played six UNDERS in a row, mainly because its defense has held four of its last six opponents to 13 points or less, and partly because Colts games have been tagged with some large totals. For instance, Indy's 25-24 victory over Cleveland played UNDER 50, and its 42-7 loss to Dallas played UNDER 52.
Including last week's victory but non-cover New England is now 5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS against teams that made the playoffs this season.
Including their victory/covers the last two weeks the Colts are now 4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS against playoff qualifiers.
Colts-Patriots Free Pick
New England has owned Indy in three games since Luck came aboard, and stands as the obvious favorite. But the Colts might be playing their best ball of this season right now. They don't get a whole lot out of their running game, but they use the short passing game as well as anybody in the league. Indy is also playing with some verve at the moment, with the defense flying around the field, holding the Bengals and Broncos to a total of 23 points through two playoff victories. So while the Colts might not win this one, the betting value resides with them as your NFL pick.
Free AFC Championship Pick: Indianapolis +7 at Bovada