NFL Picks: Colts vs. Jaguars Week 4

Jason Lake

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 7:45 PM GMT

Has tanking really made its way to the NFL? The 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars may be putting together one of the worst seasons in league history, and the NFL odds can’t keep up.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to September 22 inclusive:

9-6-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

0-3 Totals

The Jacksonville Jaguars had me fooled. I thought their wholesale changes in ownership and the front office, combined with their 3.3 Pythagorean wins from 2012 (when they went 2-14 SU and 7-9 ATS) and their excellent 2013 NFL Draft, would lead to paydirt this year. But the Jaguars are 0-3 SU and ATS by a country mile. I suspect they’d lose to the best teams in the SEC. Maybe even the CFL. Okay, not the CFL. But you catch my drift.

Just because I was wrong (and with only three games in the books) doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy in the works. And Lord knows people love their conspiracy theories. However, there’s plenty of talk about the Jaguars tanking the 2013 season, and if you bet on the NFL, you might want to consider fading the Jags this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) against the visiting Indianapolis Colts. Our Week 4 NFL odds board show the Colts laying eight points, with over 60 percent support for Indy. 

Abolish the Draft

It’s no secret that the 2013-14 NBA season is going to be all about the tanking. They do it in the NHL, too. But those leagues play an 82-game regular season, and with that many games, you don’t see nearly the same kind of swings in results from one year to the next that you see in football. Sometimes there isn’t all that much difference between a team going 10-6 and 6-10. So the NFL has been largely immune to tanking thus far – note that the NFL Draft does not use a lottery to deter teams from racing to the bottom of the standings.

Maybe they should. Or even better, just get rid of the draft altogether. You can see the day coming where the NFL will be forced to change anyway, in order to comply with the same standards everyone else working in America is supposed to enjoy. Meanwhile, the public campaign is growing for Jacksonville to tank the 2013 season. There’s the “Tank for Teddy” movement to land Louisville Cardinals QB Teddy Bridgewater, and the “Drowney for Clowney” movement to land South Carolina Gamecocks DE Jadeveon Clowney. 

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Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

If tanking is indeed the new black, maybe we should blame Indianapolis. You may remember the 2011 “Suck for Luck” campaign, when QB Peyton Manning was unable to play and was replaced by Curtis Painter. The Colts went 2-14 (6-10 ATS), took Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, and got right back to winning football games at 11-5 SU and ATS.

They were supposed to pay for last year’s success, though. The Colts only played well enough to post 7.2 Pythagorean wins, but they maximized their play when it counted, winning six games by four points or fewer, and another in overtime. The power of Chuckstrong was supposed to fade with head coach Chuck Pagano successfully battling leukemia and returning to the sidelines. Regression was the buzzword in NFL betting circles going into 2013.

And it’s happening – sort of. The Colts are 1-2 ATS despite winning two of their first three games, but this is also a better team than the 2012 model, and they improved even more last week by trading their 2014 pick to the Cleveland Browns for RB Trent Richardson, who was taken two spots after Luck in the oh-twelve Draft. Richardson, Luck and RB Ahmad Bradshaw each ran for a touchdown in last week’s 27-7 dismantling of the wayward San Francisco 49ers (–10.5 at home). I think I’ll take my chances with the team that is definitely trying to win on Sunday.

NFL Pick: Take the Colts –7 (–115) at bet365