Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots(-10)
Thu. 10/4, 8:20 p.m. ET
Four things you need to know before betting on Indianapolis-New England:
1. The Patriots are the NFL’s biggest Week 5 favorite after putting an emphatic end to a two-game losing skid with a 31-point home blowout of the Dolphins on Sunday. New England outgained Miami by 277 yards (449 to 172) while chewing up 36:22 of possession time on the strength of a ground game that amassed 175 yards on 40 carries. Indianapolis, meanwhile, comes into this one off an overtime home loss to Houston after having come back from an 18-point deficit in the third quarter and an eight-point deficit with less than a minute remaining in regulation. After Indianapolis failed to convert a fourth-down attempt with four yards to go from its own 43-yard-line in the final minute of overtime, Houston needed just a couple of plays before kicking the game-winning field goal.
2. New England’s seven consecutive straight-up wins against Indianapolis since the start of the 2010 season include a pair of playoff victories in Foxboro. The Patriots have won those seven contests by an average margin of 19 points per game, and they’ve won the past three meetings at Gillette Stadium by blowouts of 59-24, 43-22 and 45-7. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who is winless in five career starts against the Patriots, has been particularly ineffective in the three games that he has played in Foxboro, completing just 48% of his pass attempts (59-for-124) while compiling four touchdowns and nine interceptions. With top wideout T.Y. Hilton unlikely to play after leaving Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and tight end Jack Doyle likely to miss a third straight game with a hip injury, Luck is looking at a supporting cast consisting of the likes of Ryan Grant, Nyheim Hines, Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal and Eric Ebron.
3. Of equal concern from the Colts’ perspective is a defense that surrendered 37 points and 466 yards to a Texans squad that entered Indianapolis with an 0-3 record and a scoring average of less than 20 points per game. This Colts defense could be without three injured starters in DT Hassan Ridgeway (calf), SLB Darius Leonard (foot) and LCB Quincy Wilson (concussion), all of whom are listed as questionable. This banged-up unit will have trouble slowing down Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is 14-4 in this series while averaging 247 passing yards per game with 35 touchdown passes. Thursday also marks the return to the field of wide receiver Julian Edelman, who missed the season’s first four games after violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances and who last appeared in a meaningful game in Super Bowl LI.
4. The best chance Indianapolis seems to have to keep this game close is utilizing its ground game to chew up clock and keep New England’s offense on the sidelines. Such a scenario is highly unlikely, however, as only three NFL teams are averaging fewer rushing yards than the Colts (72 per game). That doesn’t bode well when considering that teams averaging between 70 and 95 rushing yards per game are 1-18 against the spread on the road since the start of the 2009 season when a) coming off a game in which they were outrushed by at least 75 yards in back-to-back games and b) facing an opponent that’s allowing an average of between 95 and 125 rushing yards per game. When also considering that New England is 13-2 against the spread since the start of 2016 when facing a defense that’s allowing an average of at least 350 yards per game, this appears to have all the makings of another lopsided loss for the Colts in Foxboro.
Pick: New England -10
Confidence Level: Very High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)