Colts vs. Titans NFL Picks: Side With Tennessee +3 at Home

Nikki Adams

Thursday, September 24, 2015 10:51 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 24, 2015 10:51 PM GMT

The Colts are desperate for a win. Will they pull off the feat against the Titans? Divisional foes they’ve dominated against the NFL odds. Or will the Titans heap more misery on Andrew Luck and Company?

Indianapolis Colts (0-2, 0-0 away)
The Indianapolis Colts are 0-2 SU after two rounds of the 2015-2016 NFL season, desperate to get into the win column in week 3 when they descend on the Tennessee Titans. To say that things aren’t going to plan is an understatement. Preseason NFL betting markets hyped up the Colts something huge – they were amongst the top three favorites to win Super Bowl 50, trailing marginally behind the Seahawks and Packers. Defending champions Patriots were actually priced higher than the Colts, as were perennial contenders the Denver Broncos.

Being a Super Bowl favorite is a different role for the Colts. Granted they were amongst the contenders seeing Andrew Luck got them into the playoffs consistently in his first few seasons. But they were never trading amongst the top two in the AFC Conference nor the top three in the league to win the Super Bowl. That changed last season when the Colts reached the AFC Championship game, going the furthest they’ve ever gone behind their young rising star quarterback.

Sometimes teams can’t deliver to unfamiliar expectations. The pressure of being a favorite can be overwhelming, especially after spending the last three seasons as a dark horse to spot on your NFL picks against the established standards – Patriots and Broncos – in the AFC.

To be fair, the Colts started last season behind a 0-2 SU mark before going on a tear to finish 11-5 SU and move into the playoffs. There is a difference, however, between the 0-2 starts of the last two seasons. They opened with back-to-back losses to the Broncos and Eagles in 2014, but both those losses were close affairs with the Colts putting in a competitive account mainly – 31-24 loss to the Broncos (away) and 30-27 loss to the Eagles (home).

Right now the Colts look like they’ve never played football and Andrew Luck seems to be wholly off form and colour. In two games, they’ve scored just 21 measly points all while conceding 47 points. The Bills kept Luck and Company off the scoreboard for the better part of three quarters in week 1, which had Rex Ryan lamenting his side didn’t get the shutout when all was said and done. Much of the same happened in Monday Night Football against the Jets, when the Colts were blanked for the entirely of three quarters in a woeful 20-7 loss.

This isn’t the same team that torched teams last season, outscoring and outmuscling 458-to-369. This instalment of the Colts is struggling on the offensive side of the ball and Luck’s numbers are eye-opening –his passer rating of 58.9 props up the league (34th in the list) and he leads the league in giveaways/interceptions with five interceptions. He’s on the wrong end of the stick of each of these key statistical categories.

 

Tennessee Titans (1-1, 1-0 home)
Rookie Marcus Mariota has looked anything but a rookie in his first two starts in the NFL. In week one he torched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to put in a near perfect performance, one of the best by a rookie in the history of the game in fact. In week 2, the Titans came back down to earth behind a 28-14 loss to the Browns on the road, but Mariota’s individual account was still commendable and maintains his rather strong start to the NFL. (It’s worth noting Mariota was treated for a minor ankle injury during that game.)

By the stats, Mariota has deposited 6 TDS in two starts (one less than Tom Brady and ZERO interceptions. Here’s the best bit – his passer rating is a league-leading 129.9, a smidgen ahead of MVP Aaron Rodgers at 128.4, just to give you some perspective. Granted the Titans haven’t exactly come up against the best teams in the NFL in the first two rounds – Bucs (2-14 last season) and Browns (7-9 SU last season) – but that shouldn’t take anything away from Mariota, who is playing well above his head and making the transition from college football to NFL look effortless.

 

NFL Betting Verdict
Naturally, the wide expectation is that the Colts will finally snap their losing streak. The notion that they’d go 0-3 SU to start the season is anathema to Colts’ fans and neutral NFL betting enthusiasts. It does have an outrageous ring to it, admittedly. But the question – indelicate though it might be – that begs an answer: have the Colts really done enough in the first two games to warrant their significant favoritism ahead of this game?

Forget for a moment preconceived notions about the Colts – great though they have been in the past few seasons. The painful truth diehard Indy fans have to accept is that the Colts have been awful and their 0-2 SU record is both embarrassing and illuminating, exposing some of the vulnerabilities they’ve long had on both sides of the ball and that haven’t been addressed sufficiently during the offseason. It was only a matter of time before teams began to capitalise on their lack of a running attack and depleted secondary, amongst other things.

These are worrisome times in Indy and downplaying it does nobody any service. So glacial, disjointed and disorderly the Colts offense looked in its first two games, the 3-to 3.5-point spread and the price – trading anywhere around a heavy -120 ML NFL odds attached looks absurdly rich. By contrast, the Titans have looked better on both sides of the ball, and Mariota has been quite the revelation in his first two rookie starts. All this, combined with the Colts’ woes, prompts us to consider the Titans on our NFL picks as the 3-point home underdogs. We might be daft in the eyes of many NFL bettors, but we are under no illusions. It’s a long shot NFL pick, so don’t go using your life savings on it.

NFL Picks: Titans +3 (+100) 5Dimes

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