NFL Picks: Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans Thursday

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:41 PM GMT

The Tennessee Titans just lost to the worst team in football, but they can climb right back into the AFC South title hunt by beating the Indianapolis Colts – and the Week 11 NFL lines.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 10 inclusive:

24-21-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

4-8 Totals 

Have you ever had one of those days? The Tennessee Titans sure have. Not only did they lose 29-27 to the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars (+11.5 away) on Sunday, they also lost QB Jake Locker for the rest of the season to a Lisfranc injury. That means it’ll be Ryan Fitzpatrick under center when Tennessee hosts the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football. The Week 11 NFL lines have responded by making the Titans 3-point dogs at LP Field. 

The Hurt Locker 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Fitzpatrick is a pretty good No. 2 option at quarterback. Replacement level, even: At minus-33 DYAR passing and plus-39 DYAR rushing on the season, Fitzpatrick has been more productive this season than the likes of Robert Griffin III (minus-19 Total DYAR) and Eli Manning (minus-39). He’s not even that much of a drop-off from Locker at plus-131 Total DYAR. 

To put it in another perspective, let’s turn to ESPN’s own Chad Millman, who doesn’t even have Locker-Fitzpatrick listed on his most recent Point Spread Value Above Replacement (PSVAR) chart. If the general football betting public sees Locker as being miles ahead of his replacement, and not just a few hundred yards, it follows that the Titans will carry some value into Thursday night’s contest (8:25 p.m. ET, NFLN). 

Indy Street 

On the other side of the field, you have an ornery Colts team coming off an embarrassing 38-8 loss to the St. Louis Rams (+7.5 away). And that was with back-up QB Kellen Clemens operating for St. Louis. Clemens was minus-154 DYAR passing after his first two starts in relief of Sam Bradford; on Sunday, Clemens posted a 140.6 passer rating against Indianapolis, throwing two long TD passes to WR Tavon Austin, who also busted loose for a 98-yard punt return. This was after DE Chris Long got the ball rolling with a 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown. 

Is this finally the beginning of all that regression the Colts were supposed to experience this year? Perhaps, but we’re talking about a team that was 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS going into Week 10, and playing well enough to rack up 6.4 Estimated Wins according to the math wizards at Football Outsiders. If anything, Sunday’s loss to the Rams illustrates how shaky that No. 20-ranked Colts defense can look when under pressure. 

Titan Towers 

If anyone’s going to regress to the mean anytime soon, it figures to be the Titans. They were ranked No. 27 in overall efficiency (No. 20 offense, No. 19 defense, No. 29 special teams) before losing to the Jaguars, and their 3.1 Estimated Wins fell short of their actual 4-4 record – make that 4-5 SU now, and 5-3-1 ATS. Tennessee has lost four of its last five games, and the OVER is on a 5-1 streak. 

I bring up the total because I’m going with the favorites in this matchup. The Colts were No. 5 in overall efficiency (No. 4 offense, No. 7 special teams) before the Rams loss; three points on the road seems like not nearly enough given the opposition, and in a game with a potential for big-time offense, beating a small spread isn’t all that more difficult than winning straight up. It’s just a question of which football line to back with your sports picks; as we go to press, the vigorish is available at anywhere between –101 and +106. Shop smart.

NFL Pick: Take the Colts –3 (+106) at Marathon
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