Colts-Patriots Betting Preview & Pick: Are the Pats Back?
Monday night was a perfect example of why many casual bettors hate playing the under in sporting events. While most football fans enjoyed the show Patrick Mahomes put on in the fourth quarter, anyone that took my advice to play the under 53.5 was sweating the final six minutes of that game.
The Chiefs and Broncos combined to score just six points in the first quarter and 23 points by halftime. The under still looked fantastic when the division rivals completed the third quarter and the score was just 20-13 Broncos.
Then the fun started.
After Mahomes led the Chiefs on multiple touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, under bettors had reason to grip their remote for the first time all night. With under two minutes remaining in the game and the score now 27-23, Case Keenum and the Broncos pushed the ball deep into Kansas City territory needing a touchdown to win (a touchdown that would have pushed the score over the total). But following a near interception and a near touchdown, the Broncos stalled on fourth down, sealing another victory for the Chiefs and a win for under bettors.
That win sealed a 3-1-1 for Week 4 and elevated my season record to 15-4-1 ATS. I want to take a minute to thank everyone that has reached out on Twitter to let me know they’ve been reading my prediction articles. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with 4for4 readers, which makes writing these articles that much more enjoyable. We’re only a month in, but I’ve had fun and I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride as well.
All right, enough of that. We’ve got more games to win. Thursday night is tricky, as we’ve got a double-digit spread and yet another high total. The Colts have been in every game thus far, but the Patriots finally looked like the Patriots in their win over the Dolphins last Sunday. Let’s break this puppy down.
301 Indianapolis Colts at 302 New England Patriots
- Spread: Patriots -10
- O/U: 50.5
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
The Patriots opened as 7.5-point home favorites but the line was bet all the way up to 10.5 early in the week before dropping back to 10, which is where it sits now. As for the total, it hit the board at 55.5 but has dropped like a rock, falling to 50.5.
As of Thursday morning, the Patriots were receiving 68 percent of the betting tickets and 79 percent of the money wagered at online sportsbooks. As for the total, 60 percent of the betting tickets are on the over but 76 percent of the money is on the under.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is out for the Colts, who will also be missing running back Marlon Mack (hamstring) and tight end Jack Dole (hip). Offensive lineman Denzelle Good (personal), cornerback Quincy Wilson (concussion), defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (calf) and cornerback Kenny More II (concussion) are also out.
The Patriots, meanwhile, are banged-up but are expected to have tight end Rob Gronkowski (ankle) and receiver Josh Gordon (hamstring) available. Both players are questionable to play but they’re also expected to play. Receiver Julian Edelman is also back after serving a four-game suspension.
The home team is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings between these two teams but the underdog is 15-6-2 at the betting window in the last 23 meetings in this series. The Colts, meanwhile, have covered the number just once in their last five games versus the Patriots while the over is a perfect 8-0 in the last eight meetings.
Anyone that has read my columns over the last four weeks knows I like to find situational angles to attack when making picks. In Week 1, I picked the Jets +7 over the Lions because I didn’t believe all the new pieces on Detroit’s defense would gel by kickoff. The Jets won outright.
In Week 3, I picked the Browns over those same Jets because New York was playing its third game in 11 days and I was banking on Gang Green tiring out in the second half (that’s exactly what happened).
This past Monday, I picked the under because of the Chiefs’ travel schedule the first three weeks of the season and because their offense was due for at least a small hiccup. After scoring 38, 42 and 38 points the first three weeks, Mahomes and Co. “only” scored 27 points on Monday night.
Find the angle and play it. Sometimes the angle is staring you right in the face and when that happens, it’s best not to overthink the situation.
The Lions had their way with the Patriots in Week 3 because New England was soft defensively on the edges. Detroit hasn’t been able to run the football in about a decade but Kerryon Johnson finished with over 100 yards rushing because the Patriots never set the edge. Run defense was a clear weakness for the Pats in that loss.
So, what did Miami do last week in Foxborough? The Dolphins often spread the Patriots out and tried to throw the ball. When they did run, it was plenty of inside zone and the Patriots bottled up Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake. The Dolphins looked out of whack offensively from the start and never established their footing in an eventual New England rout.
The Colts can’t take advantage of the Patriots’ weakness defensively because they can’t run the ball. Without Hilton, their vertical passing game will also be compromised. Quite frankly, I don’t know how Indy will move the ball offensively outside of trying to do what the Dolphins did by spreading the defense out and trying to methodically march downfield. That didn’t work a week ago in Foxborough and I don’t expect it to work tonight.
Let’s go back to that Lions-Patriots game for a second. The other reason Detroit had so much success that night is that the Lions blanketed the Pats’ receivers on the outside. That allowed them to double-team Gronk and force Brady to throw to covered receivers. Predictably, he often held the ball too long and took sacks when he wasn’t forcing passes into closed windows. Tonight, however, Brady will have Gordon, Gronk, Edelman and Phillip Dorsett, who is coming off perhaps his best game as a pro, at his disposal in the passing game. That’s a stark difference to what he was working with in Detroit two weeks ago.
Here is how I see this game playing out: The Colts offense is going to hang its own defense out to dry with plenty of truncated drives. If that happens, an already tired defense playing on short rest will be gassed by the second half. Once that happens, Brady and a suddenly intact New England offense will take over and push this game into rout territory.
It’s tempting to take 10 points with Luck under center, but the Colts are at a serious disadvantage tonight because of their injuries. While Indy has been in every game thus far, this has blowout written all over it.
Pick: Patriots -10
- Week 1: 5-0
- Week 2: 3-2
- Week 3: 4-1
- Week 4: 3-1-1
- Overall: 15-4-1
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.