I try to stay away from previewing a team's game in back-to-back weeks, but this is all about winning bets, right? And I was incredibly confident that New England would go into Dallas and take care of business rather easily in Week 5 -- and it did. And there's no way I couldn't preview the Patriots' Week 6 game against Indianapolis, the team that turned in the Pats for allegedly messing with the footballs during last season's AFC Championship Game. That was called "Deflategate". You may have heard of it.
I also looked at the Colts' game in Week 5 and unfortunately wasn't quite as correct on that one. I thought Indy might lose in Houston even if Andrew Luck played. He didn't, and the Colts prevailed 27-20 for their third straight win.
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This game might have set regular-season TV ratings and betting records if Tom Brady's four-game suspension for "Deflategate" had stood as this would have been his first game back -- and against the team that was responsible for that mess. For a while there while Brady was suspended, the Colts took over the favored role in the AFC from the Patriots. Now on BetOnline, New England is +150 and Indy +700 to win the AFC. That the Patriots complete another perfect regular season as in 2007 is +1400 on the site, by far the shortest odds of any unbeaten team. It might actually happen with a win here. New England certainly will be a sizable favorite in every home game. Left on the road: Giants, Broncos, Texans, Jets and Dolphins.
Patriots at Colts Betting Story Lines
New England (4-0) leads the league in yards per game (423.8) and is second in points per game (37.3). The Pats' low this season was 28 points in the Week 1 win over Pittsburgh. They come off that 30-6 win in Dallas last Sunday. New England was a bit rusty off its bye week -- Brady was sacked five times in the first half -- but pulled away in the fourth quarter. Brady continued his NFL MVP-caliber season, completing 20-for-27 for 275 yards and two scores without a pick. Julian Edelman caught four of those passes for 120 yards and a TD.
Indianapolis (3-2) won in Houston last Thursday 27-20; it looked for a while like Luck would play and he had said he would, but the team opted to go with veteran Matt Hasselbeck again, and that looks smart now. He was solid, completing 18-for-29 for 213 yards and two scores, both to Andre Johnson. Frank Gore had his best game as a Colt, rushing 22 times for 98 yards and a score.
Luck has been practicing in full this week, and it really seems like he will play, although the Colts aren't saying anything -- they hate the Patriots, so why give them any advantage by revealing plans this early?
I will be very curious if the Patriots are fired up to destroy Indy here in the wake of "Deflategate." Clearly how much those balls were inflated wouldn't have changed the AFC title game, which New England won 45-7. The Pats scored touchdowns on their first four second-half possessions when the balls were properly inflated after the refs checked them at halftime. Luck was terrible in that game, going 12-for-33 for 126 yards, no TDs and two picks. He simply can't beat the Patriots. In Week 11 last season at home, the Colts were bombed 42-20 by New England. Luck was actually pretty good in that one, throwing for 303 yards, two scores and one pick. Indy lost 43-22 at New England in the divisional round in the 2013 season. Luck was picked off four times. And in Luck's rookie season, the Colts were trashed 59-24 in New England. Luck had three picks and a lost fumble in that one. So maybe the Colts should start Hasselbeck here! (not really)
It's quite amazing how much things have changed in the wake of "Deflategate." The Patriots, of course, won the Super Bowl and look like the best team in the AFC again. Brady is considered almost a martyr for taking on the NFL and winning. With Indy getting crushed in that AFC title game, the Colts front office basically ignored the defense and offensive line this offseason and concentrated on getting Luck weapons in Johnson, Gore and first-round pick Philip Dorsett. Indy is No. 29 in total defense, and the Colts have generally struggled to run the ball. They don't look anywhere as good as last year's team right now because other than last week Johnson and Gore haven't done a lot.
Patriots at Colts Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , the Patriots are 9-point favorites (+105) with a total of 55. New England is -350 on the moneyline and Indianapolis +290. On the alternate lines, the Patriots are -8.5 (+100), -8 (-105), -7.5 (-110) and -7 (-130). New England is 3-1 against the spread this season and 2-2 "over/under." Indianapolis is 1-4 ATS and 2-3 O/U.
The Pats are 4-1 ATS in their past five road games. They are 11-3 ATS in their past 14 vs. teams with a winning record. The Colts are 6-0-1 ATS in their past seven at home vs. teams with a winning road record. They are 2-6-1 ATS in their past nine overall vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-0 in New England's past four vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 9-3 in the Colts' past 12 vs. the AFC. The Patriots are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 7-0 in the past seven.
Free NFL Expert Picks: Patriots at Colts Betting Prediction
Not only have Luck's Colts never come close to beating the Patriots, but over the last 222 game minutes against New England, Luck has not taken one snap with his team in the lead. In the four games, the Patriots have had 31 more first downs and are plus-9 in turnover ratio.
This game is fascinating because the Patriots want to put the Colts in their place for running to the principal, while Indy is tired of being slapped around by its big brother. I think the Colts do play their best game of the season. I'll take the 9 points. Go over.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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