NFL Picks: Luck & Colts to Cover Easily vs. Ravens

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 2:31 PM GMT

Both teams are coming off decisive victories last week but only one will cash in our NFL picks when the Ravens travel to Indianapolis to take on Andrew Luck and the Colts.

Baltimore Ravens (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS)
The Ravens made short work of the Carolina Panthers last Sunday as Joe Flacco connected early and often to former Panther All-Pro wideout Steve Smith who found the endzone twice and ended the day with 137 yards receiving on seven catches. The end result was a 38-10 annihilation of Carolina in front of the frenzied fans at M&T Bank Stadium. The NFL odds never wavered as the Ravens were installed as three-point home chalk but crushed the number en route to their third straight up victory and third ATS cover.

The Ravens ferocious defense that kept the slick and slippery Cam Newton under pressure all afternoon was matched by their offense led by Joe Flacco that continually moved the chains and accounted for 25 first-downs and chewed up 454 total offensive yards. And if you don’t think that the Flacco to Smith connection is real, think again. Steve Smith has had as many multi touchdown games by Week 4 of this season as he had in three years in Carolina with Newton as quarterback. The Ravens are currently ranked 12th in passing yards, 9th in rushing yards even without Ray Rice, 7th in rushing yards allowed but a concerning 24th in passing yards surrendered.

 

Indianapolis Colts (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS)
Early indications are that Andrew Luck is entering that rarified air of elite passers, the pantheon of future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. The torch looks like it is being passed as Luck heads into Week 5 tied with Drew Brees for most completions with 115 yet has a higher passer rating and over 100 more yards through the air. Luck also leads all quarterbacks with 13 touchdowns through only four weeks of play.

After dropping their season opener on the road in Mile High 31-24 as eight-point underdogs yet covering the NFL odds by the thinnest of margins, the Colts trekked home and dropped a heartbreaker to the high octane Philadelphia Eagles 30-27 where the oddsmakers had installed them as 2 ½ point favorites. It is the Colts only failed ATS cover to date. However, Indianapolis got well in Week 3 by drilling the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars on the road 44-17 and last week throttled the Tennessee Titans by the score of 41-17 and easily covered the seven-point impost.

 

Free NFL Pick
Steve Smith, at the ripe old NFL age of 35, has given Joe Flacco a bona fide threat not seen in Baltimore since Derrick Mason plied his trade there from 2005-2010. And even without the immense talents of Ray Rice as a dual threat coming out of the backfield, the triumvirate of Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Bernard Pierce has performed admirably in accounting for the Ravens 9th best rushing attack in the league. Baltimore is certainly far ahead of where this writer expected them to be prior to the regular season which is precisely why they play the games.

And now it’s time for the big “however” as I believe the aerial assault of Andrew Luck will eviscerate the Ravens 24th ranked passing defense. If head coach John Harbaugh decides to give Ahmad Bradshaw the bulk of the workload coming out of the backfield instead of the pedestrian Trent Richardson then that would simply be the icing on the cake.

Defensively, it should be noted that the Colts in-the-box physical safety LaRon Landry will not be in uniform due to his four-game suspension for PED’s. That could have an impact on Indianapolis’s ability to cover across the middle and clog the run as he was used in a variety of ways to disrupt opposing offenses.

Andrew Luck is 14-5 ATS at home and 21-8 ATS when playing on six days or less of rest so when it’s all said and done, I believe the Colts will win this one big and cover easily as one of your NFL picks.

NFL Picks: Indianapolis -3 (-125 buying the hook) in NFL odds at BookMaker

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