Monday Night Football Picks: Colts at Chargers Week 6 Odds
by Alan Matthews - 10/10/2013
Why don't the Indianapolis Colts have shorter odds to win the AFC Championship? They are currently +1000 on Sportsbook.ag, behind Denver (-150), New England (+600) and tied with Kansas City. OK, obviously the Broncos you can understand. But the Patriots? That's purely because of history, not how New England has played so far this year. All the Colts have done is beat the two NFC favorites, San Francisco (in the Niners' place in a dominant effort) and Seattle. The Colts' only loss was one they could have won at home against a solid Miami team.
As for the Chargers, nothing has changed with them. They can be fun to watch -- especially now that Philip Rivers looks good again -- but also maddening. Just when you think you have figured them out, they stink up the joint as they did last week in the late, late Sunday start in Oakland. Just like those Norv Turner teams, the Bolts are capable of beating anyone on a given night at home but just as capable of losing to anyone on the road.
Colts at Chargers Betting Story Lines
This will be perhaps the first look for the casual fan at Colts second-year star QB Andrew Luck as it's Indy's first “Monday Night Football” game since 2011 -- they only reason the Colts were scheduled then is because obviously the TV executives, etc., had no idea Peyton Manning would sit out the season. Luck is turning into fellow Stanford alum John Elway before our eyes. With all due respect to Elway, he didn't put up video game numbers like Manning, Tom Brady or Drew Brees do -- although part of that was certainly the era in which Elway played -- but he almost always won games in the fourth quarter. Sometimes with his feet. That's what Luck is doing. Last week, Luck was 16-for-29 for 229 yards and two touchdowns in leading a fourth-quarter rally against the Seahawks, who had won nine straight. It was already Luck's ninth game-winning comeback in the fourth quarter or overtime, and the guy has played just 21 games. His next will set an NFL record for a player in his first two seasons -- currently he's tied with Jake Plummer.
The Colts have been ravaged by injuries on offense, and they lost one of their key offseason pickups to season-ending injured reserve this week in Ahmad Bradshaw. He leads the team in rushing and is averaging a solid 4.5 yards per carry. Fellow running back Vick Ballard was lost early in the season. Where would the Colts be without that Trent Richardson trade now? Richardson is averaging only 3.0 yards per carry but is the power back that Indy wants to chew clock. Now it's just him and Donald Brown. Indy is No. 4 in rushing despite not having that true star running back. It's a credit to an offensive line that was revamped this offseason but also a team sticking to its game plan.
On the other side of the ball, outside linebacker Robert Mathis is probably an early leader for Defensive Player of the Year. He's on pace to break the NFL's sacks record with a league-leading 9.5. Indy ranks No. 5 in points allowed per game and has given up only seven all season in the fourth quarter, the fewest in the NFL. Those seven came in the season opener, and that four-game streak without allowing any in the fourth is the longest for Indy since 1999.
That defense will be tested by Philip Rivers. He's on pace for his first 5,000-yard season after throwing for 411 in last week's loss to Oakland. It was his second straight 400-yard game -- no player has ever had three in a row -- and third in four games. He hasn't completed less than 72.9 percent of his throws in the past four games. Rivers had seemed to fix the turnover problem until last week when the Raiders picked him off three times. Rivers is throwing a lot this year (90 times past two games) because the Bolts can't run the ball, and it's likely that No. 1 Ryan Mathews will miss Monday's game with a concussion. If Mathews sits, the Chargers might attempt 20 running plays maximum on Monday split between Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. San Diego is also missing two injured starters up front, tackles King Dunlap (concussion) and Mike Harris, the latter of whom is now out for the season.
It's widely known that when Manning was in Indy he struggled against the Patriots. He did against San Diego, too, as the Bolts have won five of the past six against the Colts. That includes playoff upsets in 2007 and '08. In the most recent meeting, in 2010, San Diego won 36-14 at Indianapolis, the worst home loss of the Manning era for the Colts. He threw four picks and had two returned for scores. It really has nothing to do with this game, but a cool stat nonetheless.
Colts at Chargers NFL Week 6 Monday Night Football Betting Odds and Trends
At Sportsbook.ag, the Colts are two-point favorites with a total of 51. Indianapolis is 3-2 ATS (2-0 on road) and 2-3 “over/under” (0-2 away). San Diego is 3-1-1 ATS (2-0 at home) and 3-2 over/under (2-0 at home). Indianapolis has covered eight straight against teams with a losing record. The Colts are 8-1 ATS in their past nine Monday games. They are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 after an ATS win. San Diego is 5-0 ATS in its past five after a loss. The Chargers are 0-6 ATS in their past six home games against teams with a winning road record. The under is 10-3 in the Colts' past 13 against teams with a losing record. The over is 5-0 in San Diego's past five after a loss. The under is 4-1-1 in the past six meetings. The underdog has covered the past eight.
Monday Night Football Picks: Colts at Chargers Betting Predictions
I presume the Colts are too well-coached to be looking ahead to next week's mammoth showdown with the Broncos in Manning's return to Indy. However, this very young team could be a bit overexcited to be playing on MNF. I hate backing the Chargers because they are so unpredictable, but this really feels like one of those games they tend to win -- just to get you back on the bandwagon so they break your heart the following week. Stay classy San Diego, you are the pick. Like the under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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