Thursday, November 13, 2014

New England Patriots Vs. Indianapolis Colts

Market Watch

Westgate put up Colts -2.5 last week in the look-ahead line, and it reopened at the same number since neither of these teams played in Week 10. It moved to -2.5 (-120) until Tuesday, but we've seen a full move to -3 on Wednesday, where it currently sits now. I'd say -3 is a fair line, but I wouldn't necessarily agree that there was value at -2.5 either. So far a whopping 75% of the bets are on the Patriots, but should they be?

Bottom Line

This shapes up to be a great game, but what's the right side?  You're always playing with fire fading the Patriots. Even when they appear to be on the downturn or in a bad spot, they find ways to elevate their game more times than not. Having said that, there are some strong indicators that the Colts are primed to win (and cover) this one.

I could understand people taking the Pats at +3. New England have already played a couple high profile games this year and came away with convincing victories (CIN & DEN).  There's also the question of how Indy will get to Brady. Can they? Probably not without blitzing, and I'm not sure they can cover Gronk & Edelman even if they do.  And when we look at the underlying numbers, there isn't a single category that Indy rank much better in than New England.

All that said, let's consider this game from a Colts perspective. The numbers might not give Indy any significant advantage, but they aren't at any clear disadvantage either. Both teams have prolific QBs and passing games, and both rank really high on special teams and average starting field position.  On paper the Patriots defense seems to match up better, but stats suggest that both of these defenses are average at best (so far). Additionally, the Colts have been a team that have outperformed their metrics in the Andrew Luck era. This season, they are 7-2 ATS - the best in the league.

As mentioned in another write-up, when two teams with winning records have met this year, the home team's record is 26-11. That seems counterintuitive, but for whatever reason the home field advantage has increased. The Patriots have also had a tough time against winning teams on the road going back to 2009 (3-11).  Favorites are also 19-13 ATS in prime-time games. Finally, it's somewhat interesting that the Colts have come out of their bye weeks incredibly slow the last couple years, only to storm back and win both games. Not a big surprise given Luck's propensity to lead improbable comebacks.

In the end, I'm taking a pass in this one. Given all the data, I don't feel strongly about either side. However, what I do like is the option to put the Patriots in a teaser.  I wouldn't be surprised if they lose this one, but I would be surprised if it was by double digits.

Read more: Week 11 picks.