Odds for the 2015 Indianapolis Colts NFL Road Schedule
by Alan Matthews - 7/13/2015
The NFL hasn't had a $200 million man yet. I'd say by this time next year, it will. That's because the Indianapolis Colts have to give Andrew Luck a massive extension somewhat soon, with the team saying it doesn't expect Luck to enter next season without one. The Colts have picked up his fifth-year rookie option deal for next year at around $16.7 million or so, and I get why the Colts don't want to hand Luck that $200 million deal now. He could suffer a major injury. But you also don't want to alienate the guy by waiting too much longer and making him play on that final-year option. I could see Luck also being the first player with $100 million in guarantees. He's that good.
How lucky (pun intended) have the Colts been? They stunk at just the right time: 1997, which led to them getting Peyton Manning atop the 1998 draft; and then in 2011, the year Manning was out injured, which led them to getting Luck atop the 2012 draft. I guess tanking works in the NFL Draft too. How's that working out for you 76ers in the NBA?
Indianapolis was 5-3 on the road last season, 5-3 against the spread and 5-3 "over/under." So consistent, then. The Colts' 2015 road schedule ranks as the sixth-easiest in the NFL with an opponents' combined 2014 winning percentage of .434. That's the easiest in the AFC South, which shouldn't happen because Indy is a first-place team, but then again all those South teams have to play Indy and the Colts don't.
Here's the schedule with very early (opponent) odds.
Sept. 13 -- at Bills (+2): Should be an amped-up Buffalo crowd with the debut of Rex Ryan as the team's coach. Pretty sure Indy will have a significant quarterback edge, however, whether it's Matt Cassel or E.J. Manuel for the Bills. First meeting between the teams since Luck's rookie season. Think Colts lose this one. Key trend: Colts 7-3 ATS in past 10 September road games as a favorite.
Sept. 27 -- at Titans (+5): Short week for Indianapolis as it hosts the Jets on Monday night in Week 2. Tennessee is off a trip to Cleveland. Some people think Luck won a Heisman, but of course he didn't. The Titans presumably will be starting rookie Heisman winner Marcus Mariota here. Colts closed last season with a 27-10 win in Nashville in a game that meant nothing to them. Luck threw 160 yards -- breaking Manning's season franchise record -- and two touchdowns before sitting out the second half as the Colts were locked into their playoff seeding. Luck became only the eighth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 40 TDs and at least 4,000 yards in a season. Colts win this. Key trend: Colts have won five straight as road favorite in series (3-2 ATS).
Oct. 8 -- at Texans (pick'em): Thursday nighter. Indianapolis is off a home game vs. Jacksonville, while Houston is in Atlanta in Week 4. Houston almost has to have this, even this early, to have a shot at winning the division. This will be the return of new Colts receiver Andre Johnson to his former team/city. Colts won 33-28 in Houston in Week 6 last season, also on a Thursday, although they nearly blew a 24-0 first-quarter lead. Luck threw for 370 yards and three scores, while T.Y. Hilton blew up with nine catches for 223 yards and a touchdown. Colts lose this. Key trend: Colts 4-6 ATS in past 10 at Houston.
Nov. 2 -- at Panthers (+1): Monday night matchup. Indianapolis is off two high-profile home games against New England and then New Orleans. Carolina is home to Philadelphia in Week 7. Luck and 2011 No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton have never faced off as professionals (or collegians). Last meeting between teams was Newton's rookie season. Colts win. Key trend: Colts 5-5 ATS in past 10 at NFC.
Nov. 22 -- at Falcons (+2): Indianapolis comes off its bye week and so does Atlanta. Luck and the Falcons' Matt Ryan also have yet to face off as the last meeting between the clubs was in 2011. I bet this is a shootout inside the Georgia Dome. Colts win. Key trend: Colts 7-3 ATS in past 10 after bye week (any location).
Dec. 6 -- at Steelers (-2.5): Sunday nighter. Indy is off a home game with Tampa Bay, while Pittsburgh is in Seattle in Week 12. Colts were housed 51-34 in the Steel City last season, allowing Big Ben to throw for 522 yards and six TDs. Luck passed for 400 yards and three touchdowns but also threw two interceptions and was called for intentional grounding in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter that resulted in a safety. This one could definitely have playoff seeding implications. Colts lose. Key trend: Colts 5-5 ATS in past 10 as road dog.
Dec. 13 -- at Jaguars (+6): This smells like a potential trap for Indy as it has a likely important home game vs. Houston in Week 15. Jacksonville is off a Week 13 game in Tennessee. The Colts got their first win of 2014 in Week 3 at Jacksonville, 44-17. It was 30-0 at the half, which then started the Blake Bortles era in Jacksonville. Luck threw for 370 yards and four scores to four different players. Colts win. Key trend: Colts 7-3 ATS in past 10 as road favorite in series.
Dec. 27 -- at Dolphins (pick'em): Indy is off that home game vs. Texans, while, Miami is in San Diego in Week 15. Luck faces his 2012 first-round mate Ryan Tannehill, and Tannehill already has gotten his big extension ($96 million or so). Dolphins won last meeting, 24-20 in September 2013 in Indy. Colts lose here. Key trend: Colts 4-6 ATS in past 10 vs. AFC East.
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