Cappers Backing Colts Over Browns with NFL Picks

Nikki Adams

Monday, December 1, 2014 4:56 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 4:56 PM UTC

Indianapolis Colts descend on the Cleveland Browns in week 14 NFL betting. With NFL odds already trading at online sports betting shops, we weigh in on this clash and the early NFL odds in search of value NFL picks.

Indianapolis Colts (8-4 SU, 3-2 away)
Opening NFL Odds: -3.0
Indianapolis Colts are after a 49-27 win over the Washington Redskins, covering as the 8.5-point home chalk with relative ease. In fact, the NFL betting lines opened at the 9-point mark across most sports betting exchanges and moved up to a high of 10-points by mid-week NFL betting before dropping down to 8.5-points. Most likely, a reaction by bettors looking for sharp action to the news RGIII was headed for the bench in week 13's clash with the Colts. At the end of the day, the fluctuations proved moot as Andrew Luck led the Colts 22-points clear of the Redskins.

It wasn't long ago when Andrew Luck and RGIII were strutting their stuff on the NFL draft's catwalk. Two years on, what should have been a showdown between the top two draft NFL picks and their wares proved to be one-man show with Luck on the field and RGIII wielding a clipboard and licking his wounds on the sidelines. Luck went 19-of-27 for 370 yards and five touchdowns and one interception. That demonstration of what a franchise quarterback is supposed to do wasn't enough though. Unapologetically, pouring salt on RGIII's wounds, Luck went about the business of setting new franchise records. Not only was it his tenth 300-yard plus game on the season, breaking Peyton Manning's franchise record for most 300-yard games in a season, Luck also became the first quarterback to throw 70-plus yard TD passes twice in the same game and the third quarterback with 30 TD passes in a season, joining the illustrious company of Manning and John Unitas.

The 45-21 win marked the second straight win by the Colts since a 42-20 loss to the New England Patriots over a fortnight ago, as well it was their second straight cover against the spread. In week 12 NFL betting, the Colts covered as the 13.5-point home chalk at the expense of the Jaguars in a 23-3 win.

Cleveland Browns (7-5 SU, 4-2 home)
Opening NFL Odds: +3.0
Cleveland Browns slipped to 7-5 SU record behind a 26-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, in a game that featured a lacklustre first half and an explosive second half by the Bills.

Although the Browns took the early 3-0 lead and held it until the end of first half, they seemed to be playing on the back foot the whole time. Both offense and defense stuttered badly. So bad in fact that Mike Pettine decided to bench Brian Hoyer in favour of Johnny Manziel early in the final quarter. Not that it made any difference to the Bills who lit up in the second half by scoring 26 points to run away with the home win.

As a result, the Browns continue to prop up a competitive NFC North division. Only a game win separates the Browns from division leaders Bengals and with four games left on the schedule, the premium on the win couldn't be any greater. Unfortunately, on paper, they have a tough schedule with the high-flying Indianapolis Colts next, and Cincinnati, Carolina and Baltimore rounding out the remaining weeks.

NFL Betting Analysis Colts vs. Browns
While Andrew Luck and the Colts have been nigh indomitable at home, they've proven fallible on the road. They are only 3-2 SU with wins over Jacksonville, Houston and New York Giants. The losses were to Denver and Pittsburgh.

On the plus side, they  are proving to be one of the most consistent performers against the spread this season. Overall, they are 9-3 ATS on the season with an 8.2-point margin of victory and 4-1 ATS on the road with a 4.8-point margin of victory.

Cleveland Browns' 9th ranked passing defense could give the Colts' top offense a run for its money. The Browns overcame the Saints and Steelers at home and the Bengals on the road this season, marking three eyebrow raising upsets. They very nearly got the better of the Ravens as well. A fortnight ago, they overcame Matt Ryan and the Falcons on the road.

Overall, they boast a 6-4-2 ATS record this season with a 0.6-point margin of victory. At home they are 3-2 ATS with a 3.3-point margin of victory. The Browns seem to save their best performances on occasions when they are underestimated on the NFL odds board: they are 4-1 ATS as underdogs this season with a 0.7-point margin of victory.

That said all those stats and numbers can be made a moot point if Mike Pettine opts for the bold, risky move and gives Johnny Manziel the start on Sunday. Already, media outlets are spinning with speculation and the impact of such a decision.

NFL Betting Verdict: Colts -3.0 over Browns
For our money, we're backing the Indianapolis Colts over the Browns as the 3-point road chalk. Simply put: we're not comfortable betting against Andrew Luck and Company. No disrespect to the Browns intended at all. They are a respectable team this season, whose stock has undeniably paid out when least expected to.

However, now that we are headed down the stretch, it's natural to expect the great teams to pull ahead of both contenders and pretenders alike. Cleveland belongs to the former category, but for how long is the question. Benching Hoyer in favour of Manziel has thrust the team into an awkward position: do they continue with the quarterback that has brought them to 7-5 SU mark on the season and the hunt for a playoff berth, or do they turn to the untried, untested rookie quarterback?

How they deal with that crossroad remains to be seen. Not before Wednesday will an official decision be made. Yet, the mere fact that they could be tinkering with their line up at this late stage of the season doesn't augur well in our opinion, especially not against a Colts side that is picking up momentum down the stretch, not to mention Andrew Luck who's setting records on fire and establishing the groundwork for a future claim on the Hall of Fame.

Free NFL Pick: Colts -3 at BetOnline

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