Monday Night Football Predictions: Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants Odds & Picks
by Alan Matthews - 10/31/2014
Monday night's game will determine if Giants coach Tom Coughlin will be back as the team's coach next season. At least that's my opinion. New York has missed the playoffs two straight years and four of the past five. Coughlin is the NFL's oldest coach and longest-tenured in the NFC. If New York loses at home off a bye week to fall to 3-5, I think the playoffs are a huge long shot and Coughlin will be out. After all, think about the Giants likely have to go against for a wild-card spot (no shot at NFC East title): Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas/Philadelphia (whichever doesn't win the East) and Green Bay/Detroit (whichever doesn't win the North). Good luck with that.
The good news is even at 3-4, things aren't lost. Since 2000, 34 teams have reached the halfway point of their season (which New York will Monday) with a .500 or below winning percentage and made the playoffs, including at least one in each season. Five reached a conference title game, and the 2001 Patriots won the Super Bowl.
Barring an injury to sublime QB Andrew Luck, the Colts (5-3) should win the AFC South. They have a game lead over the Texans and already a head-to-head win in Houston. What Indy really needs is to try and avoid a trip to Denver, Cincinnati or New England in the playoffs. The top seed is doable, especially if the Broncos lose Sunday at the Patriots. Indianapolis will surely be a big New England fan because that's the team the Colts host following next week's bye. Indy's schedule after that is very, very easy. The only team with a winning record on there is Dallas. The Colts are +1600 at Bovada to win the Super Bowl, +650 to win the AFC and -1000 to take the South.
Colts at Giants Betting Story Lines
Indianapolis had its five-game winning streak snapped last week in Pittsburgh, but you can't blame the offense as it put up 34 points and Luck had 400 yards passing and three touchdowns. However, the Steelers had 51 points behind Ben Roethlisbeger's 522 yards and six scores. Luck has now passed for at least 300 yards in six straight games, which is tied for the fourth-longest streak league history. No. 1 is Drew Brees with nine, and he did it twice. Of course, Luck's Colts predecessor Peyton Manning set the NFL single-season record with 5.477 yards passing last year with Denver. At 341.0 yards per game, Luck is on pace for 5,456. If he throws for 269 in this one, Luck will join Manning, Brees (twice) and Tom Brady as the only QBs to ever throw for at least 3,000 yards in his team's first nine games of a season.
Indy ranks No. 1 in total offense (452.3 ypg) and No. 2 in scoring (31.3 ppg). Luck obviously leads the league in passing. However, that defense is shaky and could be the downfall. The Colts are middle of the pack in yards and points allowed per game. Meanwhile, Luck's former No. 1 receiver (that's T.Y. Hilton now), Reggie Wayne, missed last week's game with an elbow injury and is questionable for this one. Running back Trent Richardson also didn't play but will Monday. Top cornerback Vontae Davis will play despite leaving the Steelers game early (that no doubt helped Big Ben) with a knee injury.
I guess we will find out how valuable a bye week is with the Giants having two weeks to prepare for Luck. I would think the team would come out rested and crisp, but New York has been very up-and-down. The Giants looked lousy the first two weeks, dominant the next three, and then lousy again in losses at Philly and at Dallas before the bye week. Maybe the Giants just aren't very good because the three wins have come against teams that don't have winning records: Houston, Washington and Atlanta.
Unfortunately for the G-Men, top running back Rashad Jennings won't make it back for this one. He was ruled out for the third straight game because of a knee injury. Jennings was averaging 4.4 yards per carry. By contrast, rookie Andre Williams has 110 yards rushing in his two starts combined and has averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Jennings is also way better than Williams as a receiver out of the backfield.
Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants NFL Monday Night Football Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Indianapolis is a 3-point favorite (-120) with alternate lines of 3.5 (+105) and 2.5 (-145). The Colts are -170 on the moneyline and the Giants +150. The total is 50.5 points. Indy is 6-2 against the spread (3-1 on road) and 6-2 "over/under" (4-0 on road). New York is 3-4 ATS (2-1 at home) and 4-3 O/U (1-2 at home).
The Colts are 6-0 ATS in their past six road games against teams with a losing record. Indy is an awesome 15-2 ATS in its past 17 after a loss and 15-2 ATS in the past 17 vs. teams with a losing record. The Giants have covered only four of their past 14 following a bye week. The Giants are 1-4 ATS in their past five against teams with a winning record. The over is 8-2 in Indy's past 10 overall. It is 5-2 in the team's past seven after a loss. The under is 11-4 in New York's past 15 against teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2 in the Giants' past seven following a loss.
Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants Monday Night Football Picks and Betting Predictions
Oddly, the Giants have yet to play a game that was decided by a single possession (i.e. eight points). I am presuming New York will need to win a shootout, although I could see Luck getting picked off a few times. The Giants' 11 interceptions this year are the second most in the NFL. So which Eli Manning shows up? He was very good in the three wins (all ratings of at least 104.9). Not so in three of the four losses (ratings of 83.0 or less except against Dallas).
New York's best running back, best receiver (Victor Cruz, season) and best linebacker (Jon Beason, season) are all out. Yet I just have a hunch here the Giants may win outright. However, take New York at +3.5 (-125). Certainly the over as the weather doesn't look to be a factor.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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