The football odds for Sunday night's Patriots-Colts contest are already going haywire. Is Andrew Luck about to sit out his third consecutive game for the Colts?
Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 14: 18-11 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 12-18 Total
Sweet merciful Minerva, here we go again. The Indianapolis Colts are hosting the New England Patriots this Sunday night (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC), and guess what: QB Andrew Luck might not play. Or he might. Luck was limited during Thursday's practice, as he was on Wednesday. The Colts are talking up how Luck is making “real throws” this week, but they won't even tell us how badly injured Luck's right shoulder is.
No sale. The Colts opened as 7.5-point home dogs for this matchup; that spread has ballooned to –10 as we go to press, with 72 percent of early bettors still more than happy to put the Patriots in their Week 6 NFL picks. I suppose we should do the same. New England is crushing it this year at 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS. This is the best team in football right now. Indianapolis (3-2 SU, 1-4 ATS) isn't crushing anything, other than its own Super Bowl aspirations.
Hasselbeck > Luck
And yet... we've already seen Matt Hasselbeck lead Indianapolis to two straight wins, albeit versus the Jacksonville Jaguars (in overtime) and the Houston Texans. Even factoring in how poorly those teams have played this year, Hasselbeck grades out at around league-average in DVOA at his position – No. 17 overall, ahead of guys like Drew Brees (No. 20) and Russell Wilson (No. 21).
Also, Andrew Luck (No. 27). He wasn't very good during those first three games; a lot of that falls at the feet of the offensive line, which has made some upgrades since then. But how much of that was due to Luck's shoulder? When did he first get hurt? Is this going to be a chronic issue going forward? Inquiring bettors want to know. Otherwise, giving the Colts longer NFL odds because Hasselbeck might play instead of Luck could be a gift.
One Tin Solder Rides Away
Meanwhile, the Patriots got some bad news when LT Nate Solder had to go on the injured list with a torn biceps. It was originally thought that Solder hurt his right elbow during the second quarter of last week's win over the Dallas Cowboys. Monday's MRI told a different story. Solder hasn't been all that great at protecting Tom Brady's blind side this year, but will Marcus Cannon be any better? Or might we see Sebastian Vollmer make the move from right tackle?
New England could also have to go without CB Tarell Brown on Sunday. Brown didn't practice on Thursday, as his surgically-repaired foot appears to be causing him trouble. If this were any other team but New England, would we recommend it as a 10-point road chalk? Not likely. But we could consider playing the middle. There's still one line at press time where the Pats are –7.5, and there's also a –10.5 or two. Hooray for market inconsistency.
Free NFL Pick: Take Patriots –7.5 (+102) at Marathon & Colts +10.5 (–130) at Island Casino