NFL Picks: Hasselbeck Gives the Colts a Fighters Chance vs. Atlanta

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 4:13 PM GMT

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 4:13 PM GMT

With Matt Hasselbeck taking over for an injured Andrew Luck, can the Colts stay competitive enough for an NFL pick to cover the spread odds against Atlanta at home?

The 6-3 Atlanta Falcons and 4-5 Indianapolis Colts both come off of bye weeks relatively healthy to match up with each other in Week 11. Atlanta is currently in the driver’s seat for one of the NFC wild card playoff spots, two games up with Green Bay over the rest of the conference. And somehow, Indianapolis is one game ahead in the win column of both Houston and Jacksonville in the AFC South (I’m writing this before I know the outcomes of Houston and Jacksonville’s MNF and TNF games, of course).

Relatively healthy is a term that doesn’t include the quarterback position for Indianapolis; however, there are some out there that think they are better off. Before continuing I will leave you with this caveat you guys – the only football jersey I own is a 2005 #8 Matt Hasselbeck Seattle Seahawk jersey. Well, that and my own jersey from the high school junior varsity team. So, I might be the only one that truly thinks the Colts are better off with Hasselbeck and not Andrew Luck.

However, it must be noted that Hasselbeck won both of the games he has already started. First, he won a sloppy game against the Jaguars 16-13 at home, then he went on the road on a Thursday night and beat the Houston Texans 27-20 while suffering from flu-like symptoms. His experience, along with being healthy and playing behind a healthy offensive line, gives the Colts a fighting chance against an Atlanta team that is having a hard time pressuring the quarterback. Atlanta is dead last in the league with only 10 sacks through nine games.

And a fighting chance is all we care about in this forum, as Atlanta has been listed as a 6 or 7-point favorite in this game depending on where you look. The NFL odds O/U total is listed at 47.5 at sites such as at 5Dimes.

Atlanta has been killing sports bettors in the last month or so, going 0-5 against the spread in their last five games after starting the season 4-0. That hot start inflated lines available to bettors, but Atlanta also lost their last 2 games straight up to Tampa Bay and San Francisco after being an 8 and 9.5-point favorite in those contests, respectively. The under also started cashing in the last five weeks, an 0-4-1 clip, as the Atlanta offense apparently lost its way.

If Atlanta is to win this game, they will have to take advantage of a Colts defense that is giving up 394.2 YPG, which is good for 28th in the league. However, they weren’t able to take advantage of other poor defensive teams in this latest slide, posting SU losses to the 32nd ranked New Orleans Saints who give up 425.9 YPG, and the San Francisco 49ers who give up a 27th ranked 392.4 YPG. Atlanta only rushed for 17 yards on the ground against the 49ers in Week 9.

Then there is the issue with the spread itself. With Indianapolis keeping games close since Week 3, seven points is asking a lot for the Falcons to cover, especially since they themselves have only won two games by more than 7 points in nine tries. I like the Colts in this spot to stay competitive in this game and to cover the more than generous spread. Shop around for the best line and take the Colts +7 at 5Dimes as one of your Week 11 NFL picks.

NFL Pick: Colt +7 (-140) at 5Dimes

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