NFL Picks: Rams vs. Colts

Steve Merril - Steve@prosportsinfo.com

Friday, November 8, 2013 3:58 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 3:58 PM GMT

The Indianapolis Colts host the St. Louis Rams this Sunday night at the Lucas Oil Stadium. Find out where we've decided to place our money for this matchup!

St. Louis and Indianapolis have played much differently than their preseason projections.  The Rams were thought of as a sleeper team in the NFC but they come into this game at just 3-6 SU and ATS.  Indianapolis went 11-5 and made the playoffs last season, but the Colts were extremely fortunate in doing so and many envisioned a sharp decline this season.  That hasn’t happened yet as the Colts are 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS so far this year.

The current NFL odds have Indianapolis ranging between a 9-point and 9.5-point home favorite at various sportsbooks.  The Colts opened as 11.5-point favorites but money has come in strong on the Rams.  The total has been bet up from an opener of 43 to 44 at the majority of shops.

St. Louis is on a 3-game losing streak with their last two losses coming at home.  The Rams benefit from this game being on the road as it will allow them to escape the negative criticism from the media and fans in their city.  St. Louis is just 1-3 on the road but they’ve played a brutal away schedule with games at Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Carolina.  Despite the Colts having a better record than all four of those teams, St. Louis is actually taking a big step down in class and talent in this game.

The Rams lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford to a season-ending ACL injury in Week 7 against the Panthers.  Kellen Clemens has started under center for the last two games and the Rams have been quite competitive.  They lost 14-9 to Seattle and last week lost 28-21 to Tennessee.  A repeat of those two performances will give St. Louis an easy pointspread cover in this game.

The St. Louis defense is finally playing up to expectations as they’ve been stout in their last two games.  The Rams allowed a total of 498 yards to the Seahawks and Titans while collecting 11 sacks in those two games.  Their ability tot get pressure on Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck will be important in this game, especially since Luck’s go-to receiver Reggie Wayne is out with injury.

Indianapolis comes in off a miracle win and ATS cover last week in Houston.  The Colts trailed 24-6 late into the third quarter before rallying for a 27-24 win.  They were thoroughly out-played in that game by the Texans who held a 483-314 yardage edge.  The Colts were extremely fortunate to win that game, and it was their second consecutive national TV win as they beat the Broncos 39-33 in their previous game.

Those two wins by the Colts sets them up in a negative scheduling and situational spot for this game against the Rams.  After this game on Sunday, the Colts will play a pair of divisional games against Tennessee with a road game at Arizona sandwiched in between.  This is a major flat spot for Indianapolis, especially after their comeback win last week and their big upset win over Denver in their previous game.

Indianapolis doesn’t have a strong enough defense to be laying more than a touchdown to any team, even the Rams.  The Colts are allowing opponents 5.7 yards per play which ranks them #24 in the NFL.  They are also giving up 7.2 yards per pass attempt which ranks them #23 in the league.  Indianapolis has allowed 24 points or more in three of their last four games; they allowed 17 points or less in three of their first four games this season.  Those numbers indicate that the Colts’ defense is in decline.

The Colts are also in unfamiliar pointspread territory.  In 25 games with Andrew Luck at quarterback, Indianapolis has been more than a 3-point favorite just four times.  The Colts are 4-0 SU in those games but three of those four wins came by 4, 7, and 4 points.  That means they are just 1-3 ATS based on the posted pointspread in this game and an easy team to go-against in this spot.  We see a good opportunity to take the generous points with the Rams for your NFL pick in this game on Sunday afternoon.

NFL Pick: Rams (+).

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