NFL Picks: Colts vs. Patriots Opening Odds

Jason Lake

Monday, January 6, 2014 12:58 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 12:58 PM UTC

The Indianapolis Colts just completed one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, but they didn’t beat the football odds – or did they? Either way, they need to perform better this Saturday night against the New England Patriots.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013-14, up to January 4 inclusive:

44-38-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

11-17-1 Totals 

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the spread~!

I was on the Chiefs in Saturday’s Wild Card game versus the Indianapolis Colts, and hoo-doggies, what a game it was. Indianapolis was down 38-10 early in the second half before coming back all the way to win 45-44. It was a rare combination of gutsy football, fortunate bounces, and tons of Kansas City injuries. But in the end, the Chiefs still beat the NFL odds as 2.5-point road dogs. What’s that? They were 1.5-point favorites on the closing line? Wow – the Chiefs couldn’t even get that one right. Must have been Andy Reid’s fault.

So the Colts advance to the Divisional Round, where they’ll face the AFC East champion New England Patriots on Saturday night (8:15 p.m. ET, CBS) at Gillette Stadium. New England was a 7-point favorite on the opening NFL lines with a total of 52.5. Weather-wise, we’re looking at temperatures just above freezing with a 40 percent chance of rain on the extended forecast. Rain? Uh-oh.


Liquid Sunshine My Ass

I’d really much prefer to know these things ahead of time. Rain plays a significant role in the outcome of football games. It’s a lot more difficult to move the ball downfield, which tends to produce more UNDER results and therefore makes it easier for the underdogs to beat the NFL spreads. Although I completely honked that concept in the Wild Card game between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals. My bad. 

In this case, Indianapolis (12-5 SU, 11-6 ATS) at +7 would theoretically benefit from the rain, which seems ridiculous at first blush. Almost as ridiculous as the warm-weather Chargers getting the job done in Cincinnati. The Colts play their home games indoors at Lucas Oil Stadium, so lousy conditions should affect them more than most teams. Also, New England (12-4 SU, 8-8 ATS) has a much better recent playoff history than Cincinnati – at least, in the early rounds.

The Joy Division Bell

Let me take you back for a moment to last year’s AFC title game between the Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. New England was favored by 7.5 points on the closing line for that contest, down from –9 after people jumped on the Patriots bandwagon. Of course I was on the Ravens; New England was 0-6 ATS in its previous six games in the Conference Round or the Super Bowl. Make that 0-7 ATS.

The Divisional Round is a somewhat different story. Here’s how the Patriots have done since they last won the Super Bowl: 

2012: Houston 28, New England 41 (NE –9.5)

2011: Denver 10, New England 45 (NE –14)

2010: N.Y. Jets 28, New England 21 (NYJ +9.5)

2007: Jacksonville 20, New England 31 (JAX +13.5)

2006: New England 24, San Diego 21 (NE +5)

2005: New England 13, Denver 27 (DEN –3)

That’s an interesting grab bag of results. The last two years, the Patriots have creamed their opponents as sizeable favorites. But the chalkeaters were set up for success – the 2011 Broncos (with Tim Tebow) and the 2012 Texans (with Matt Schaub) both outperformed their Pythagorean records by wide margins. 

Hang on… did somebody say Pythagorean records? The 2012 Colts did the same thing, but instead of regressing to the mean, they did it again this year, going 11-5 despite only playing well enough to register 9.4 Pythagorean Wins. Then there was this past Saturday against Kansas City. You know what? There might be something to this whole Chuckstrong thing.

NFL Pick: Take the Colts +7.5 at Sports Interaction
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