Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
INDIANAPOLIS -2½ -108 over New England
8:20 PM EST. The NFL comes at you fast, as this game just a few months ago looked like a dud on the Week 15 prime time schedule. At that time, the Patriots were just 1-3, or 2-4 if you prefer and the Colts were 1-4. A combined 3-8 a month into the season did little to foreshadow how we would get here, but this is a gentle reminder that what one thinks they know in this league in October is often much different than what one thinks they know in November and December. With all that said, we now have two of the hottest teams in the AFC squaring off in now what appears to be the game of the weekend.
When two teams are rolling like this, it can be challenging to find where the value lies. Who’s stock is inflated and who does the market trust? To answer both of those questions, we are going to call on the Patriots. Fair or unfair, the Patriots rebuild lasted about what, five minutes? Meanwhile, the Colts have been searching for success since the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck. It would have been easier to go back to Peyton Manning, but let’s not forget that the Blue Horseshoe was very much in contention in what was a relatively smooth transition from Manning to Luck. Yes, Peyton got his second ring in Denver, but Indy made it to an AFC Championship game with Andrew at the helm. Dude also orchestrated the second largest comeback in NFL playoff history to make that date. For all the fuss over Mac Jones, it was Luck that became one of the poster boys for what was possible under a rookie pivot, leading the Colts to three straight 11-5 seasons in his first three years. Unfortunately, injuries would cripple Luck’s future as a star NFL quarterback with him retiring before the start of the 2019 season. Since, the Colts have rolled out Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and now Carson Wentz to reclaim the place as the class of the AFC South, but that has come with mixed results.
Let’s move to 2021, with Wentz at the helm. Indy is now 7-6, just two games back of the Derrick Henry-less Titans for tops in the South. The Titans do hold the tiebreaker with two wins over the Colts, but with four games to play, crazier things have happened. We bet the Colts to win this division at +650 a few weeks ago and still love that ticket. If you still wanted to get in, Indy is now +1500. Call it a throwaway bet if you like, but that is an absurd number for a ticket that has a great chance to hit paydirt. The Titans finish up at Pittsburgh, home to the 49ers and Dolphins and then wrap up Week 18 in Houston. Meanwhile, the Colts go to Arizona next week, host the Raiders and close out the season at Jacksonville. First up though are these Pats.
What about the Patriots you ask? Well, Bill Belichick is a genius again now that Cam Newton is not his starting quarterback. Dude better be kissing Mac Jones’s feet every day for helping to justify moving on from all things G.O.A.T. (Thoman Edward Patrick Brady Jr. in case you need him).
We’re four paragraphs in here and have yet to break down an X or an O. Quite frankly, you can get that anywhere. It’s not like we do not consider these things, we just don’t find them interesting enough to discuss in this space with any regularity. Instead, we’ll take you back to a time when this was the most heated rivalry in this league. It wasn’t THAT long ago (OK maybe it was). Manning/Brady. Adam Vinatieri. Most important perhaps, a 4-1 playoff record in favor of the Patriots. While the main players on the 53 man rosters are no longer around, do not think that Colts’ owner Jim Irrsey has lost any love for BB, Robert Kraft, and the rest of the Patriots brass. He most certainly has not and will leave little doubt with coach Frank Riech and the rest of those with a Blue Horseshoe on their helmets how important this game really is. Nobody does prime time like Irrsey in Indy.Let us close with a question we asked rather rhetorically at the top of this writeup. Who does the market trust here?
We have little doubt that the red hot, blue blood Patriots are going to get a long look from many in this market taking back points in just about any scenario. We would argue that the oddsmakers could have made the Patriots the chalk here and not swayed a bet. Hell, New England was a three point pooch in windy Buffalo last time we saw them to close out Week 13. The final? 14-10, but you would have thought it was 44-10 by the way the pundits were slobbering all over “The Genius” (Buffalo was a 14-yard pass away from BB not being a genius).
Meanwhile, Bills coach Sean McDermott took great offense to the praise for BB, suggesting he’d take the great field position and red zone opportunities afforded to the Bills over that of the Pats (both of which were in Buffalo’s favor). Of course, this is a results based business and the Patriots winning their seventh game in a row carries weight. So does Belichick’s reputation coming off the bye. With all that said, we cannot ignore that the books made the Colts the chalk here when they did not have to. This appears to be a tipping of the hand and we’re not going to pass up the peek. The Colts roll here. R-O-L-L.
A GREAT OFFER FOR SPORTSWAGERS READERS:
We’re offering a better and cheaper alternative to cable TV. You will literally save thousands of dollars. If you’re sick of paying a fortune for programming that you don’t even want or need, this is for you. All pro sports -- EVERY GAME, tons of college football and basketball games and tons of regular programming (non-sports). Over 2500 channels all in HD for a mere $20 per month. You have to be nuts not to get it.
INDIANAPOLIS -2½ -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)