Free NFL Picks for Colts vs. Broncos Week 1 Matchup

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 4:18 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 3, 2014 4:18 PM UTC

The best game on the NFL schedule for Week 1, in the AFC at least, will be Sunday’s night’s game between the host and defending AFC champion Denver Broncos and QB Peyton Manning and his former team, the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field in the Mile High City (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT).

This game will have passing, that is guaranteed with the pass-happy Manning (108-89-6 ATS as Favorite, 68-63-2 ATS Home) and Indianapolis’s young QB Andrew Luck (9-9 ATS Away) and all the skill position players one could want...except one (Wes Welker), who was suspended today (Tuesday) for four games for allegedly taking a substance during this past May’s Kentucky Derby which violated the league’s drug (amphetamine) policy. I’ve seen the pictures of Welker that day, and if the man should be suspended for anything, it should be for wearing that goofy goldenrod hat. Preach on it.


Oddsmakers Favor the Home Team By at Least a Touchdown
The oddsmakers current Point Spread has settled in with the defending AFC champs as 7½-point favorites everywhere except a couple places like the Mirage in Las Vegas (-7) and BetVictor and 888sport (-7 -115) as of Tuesday night at least. Whether or not Welker’s suspension will trickle the line down another half-point or more from where it is now remains to be seen, but Luck’s success away from home vs. non-division opponents (9-2-1 ATS) and the thought of starting with 7½ points with a good Colts team seems like the better idea from a distance. And the Total Points is at 55 with some line movement to 55½ at a couple of isolated places (Boylesports, Totesport), so, right where you’d expect it to be.

The last time these two teams played was last season in Indianapolis in Week 7 when the Colts defeated the Broncos 39-36 at Lucas Oil Stadium as 6½-point underdogs (the total was 53½). With Luck and WR Reggie Wayne coming back and fellow WRs TY Hilton and Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis (8/1 to win AFC, 18/1 Super Bowl, LVH SuperBook) will look to improve its passing game (249 ypg average LY), and, despite the reality that Robert Mathis is suspended for the first four games, the Colts (+310, Betway) are definitely worth a look as the Outright Winner/(Moneyline) here in Denver with their recent track record against the Orange Crush.

But before we get too high in the Colorado environs and start locking our NFL picks and daydreaming that Luck and the Colts (+2900, 29/1, Matchbook) can win the Super Bowl or somethingh, we all need to remember that Indianapolis (Total Season wins 9½u -120, LVH SuperBook) went just 11-5 SU last season, with 6 of those wins (6-0) coming against its own paltry AFC South division. So, Indy was only 5-5 in games outside of the rickety AFC South. But before we all start laughing too loud at that, we must remember that the Broncos (-333 To Win AFC West, bwin, Betfair Exchange) play in the AFC West where I think Blue Man Group once won the division title and where Denver (Total season wins 11½u -140) is an embarrassing 1/4 favorite (LVH SuperBook) to win the division.

Are There Any Trends That Point to a Side in This SNF Opener?
Denver (NFL-leading +207 point differential) was absolutely unstoppable on offense last season, scoring 606 points—no other team in the NFL even had 500—as Manning settled in to his new environment and pushed his team toward a run at the NFL title with his golden right arm, where the Broncos (10-8 ATS on Sunday Night Football) were denied in Super Bowl XLVII by a terrific Seattle Seahawks team with one of best defenses in the history of the league. But like most teams in sports that have great offenses, the defense can usually be better and Denver (25 ppg against) is no exception. And the fact that the total in this game (55) is the highest on the board for Week 1 speaks volumes about both teams defenses.

The trends here that got my attention—beside Luck’s non-division opponents mark (9-2-1 ATS)—were the Colts 13-6 ATS Road record on Sunday Night Football and, more importantly, Indianapolis’s spotless 6-0 ATS record against Denver over the last 6 meetings as well as the wonderful fact that the Colts have actually beaten the Broncos five straight times by an average of 8 points (39-33, 27-15, 28-16, 38-20, 34-31). So put that in your pipe and smoke it brother. I’ll gladly take the team that’s won the five straight meetings by more than a TD and the 7½ points here. Why not.

FREE NFL PICKColts +9 at Pinnacle

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