The New England Patriots are everyone's favorite NFL pick right now. They're even beating up the popular Indianapolis Colts in early betting for Sunday Night Football.
Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 13: 18-11 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 12-18 Total
Strange things are happening in Indianapolis. QB Andrew Luck has missed the last two games for the Colts with a shoulder injury, the extent of which remains a mystery. In theory, Andrew Luck will be ready for Sunday night's matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) with the New England Patriots, but the way things have gone lately, people are more than happy to fade the Colts. They opened as 7.5-point home dogs, and right off the bat, 100 percent of early bettors were on New England.
If that weren't enough, there's a gigantic 55-point total on the NFL odds board for Week 6. Where have these totals been the last few weeks? The UNDER is getting 54-percent consensus as we go to press, so it looks like the sharps are about as skeptical as we are here at the home office. Let's dig deep, peel back the layers, and get to know the real story behind the lines.
Is This Real Life?
First and foremost, we already feel like chumps for getting the worst line on the Colts (3-2 SU, 1-4 ATS) two weeks running. The bait-and-switch act with Luck and Matt Hasselbeck didn't end up making much difference in last week's 27-20 win over the Houston Texans (–5 at home), but that OVER 47.5 pick in Week 4 versus the Jacksonville Jaguars sure looks silly in the rear-view mirror. Hasselbeck and the Colts scraped out a 16-13 win after the total dropped to 43.
Of course, we're publishing these NFL picks throughout the week, even though in real life we'd either get in early or late, depending on the situation. The more that teams take the Bill Belichick approach and yank our chains with the injury reports, the more careful we have to be with our timing. In this case, if you're thinking UNDER, earlier may be better. Same goes for a bet on the Patriots. Surely that spread will only get bigger if Luck gets held back another week.
Under the Hoodie
Meanwhile, Belichick's Patriots are humming along quite nicely at 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS on the official closing line. Things did look a bit shaky for a while during last week's 30-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys (+8 at home), another team that's been forced to go with its back-up quarterback. DE Greg Hardy made his season debut for the Cowboys and knocked QB Tom Brady down five times, including a pair of sacks. But the Dallas offense had little to offer in return.
Is Sunday night going to be more of the same? It depends in large part on Luck's right shoulder, but if he ends up picking up where he left off in Week 2, the Colts might wish they had started Hasselbeck instead. Luck had –18 passing DYAR in the first three games; Hasselbeck was +54 DYAR in the next two. Somewhere, Belichick is smiling right now.