Everybody loves horses, and in Week 13, expect the betting public to inflate the NFL odds for two of their equine favorites: the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos. Should we avoid them this week?
Jason’s record after Week 11: 29-43 ATS, 13-17-1 Totals
Profit: minus-45.95 units
Patience is usually a virtue when you’re betting on the NFL. But not always. As we mentioned last week in this space, with the way favorites are performing against the spread this year, there are times when you’ll want to bet on a chalky team early in the week, before the betting public pushes the NFL odds too far in the other direction.
We’ve got two teams that we can expect the vast majority of casual bettors to add to their Week 13 NFL picks. The Indianapolis Colts (7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS) are almost certain to get overwhelming public support for their matchup against Washington (3-8 SU, 4-7 ATS). And the Denver Broncos (8-3 SU, 5-6 ATS) are sure to be a popular pick for their critical Sunday Night Football tilt with the Kansas City Chiefs (7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS). How should we handle these games?
When it comes to the Colts, we might want to get in while the getting is good. As we go to press, our consensus reports show 98 percent of early bettors taking Indianapolis as a 10.5-point chalk (+110) for Sunday’s matinee against Washington. Note the bargain on vigorish with those NFL odds; most of our featured online sportsbooks have it as Colts –9.5 with the standard –110 juice.
As they say, early money is sharp money, and the sharps don’t mind risking a mouthful of chalk when it comes to the Colts. We just saw them put away the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-3 as 13-point home faves, the first time they’ve been double-digit favorites all year. And it wasn’t even close to their best effort, either. Indianapolis fumbled the ball six times, losing three of those to the Jags.
The Colts aren’t going to get away with that against a team in a better class than Jacksonville. Fortunately for them, Washington is not one of those teams. The return of Robert Griffin III to active duty hasn’t made much difference; he was held to 106 yards passing and 11 yards rushing in Sunday’s 17-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, although Washington did cash in as a 9-point road dog. Griffin might even lose his starting gig before the weekend rolls around. Better get the Colts now if you’re with the sharps this week.
The situation in the AFC West is quite different. While the Broncos be getting plenty of public support this weekend, they’re only pulling in 60 percent consensus as a pick ’em (–120) on the early football odds. That’s still a majority of sharps, but there’s clearly a large bloc of bettors who fancy the Chiefs in this situation.
And understandably so. Back in Week 2 at Mile High, Denver (–13) was putting the boots to the Chiefs in the first half, but the visitors rallied to make it close before falling 24-17. That was the start of a beautiful 8-1 ATS run for Kansas City, which ended in Thursday’s rather shocking 24-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders. We’ll give the Chiefs a mulligan on that one.
As for the Broncos, they’ve dropped the cash in three of their last four games. And it took a fourth-quarter explosion to come back and beat the Miami Dolphins (+6.5 away) 39-36 on Sunday. CB Aqib Talib was forced out of that game with an injured left hamstring; he tried to play through it, but ended up missing the entire second half. More injuries are the last thing Denver needs right now, especially to their marquee offseason signing. This could be a good time to fade the Broncos – but not until later this weekend, when the betting public moves the football odds and the Chiefs get as many precious points as the market will give them.