Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)
Sat. 1/12, 4:35 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Colts-Chiefs:
1. After beginning the 2018 regular season with seven consecutive against-the-spread victories, Kansas City ended the year by going 2-6-1 against the spread over its final nine games. That nine-game stretch included only four games against teams that ended 2018 with a winning record, and the Chiefs went just 1-3 straight up and 0-3-1 over those four contests with the lone straight-up victory being a 27-24 overtime win as a 6.5-point home favorite against Baltimore. Kansas City’s only ATS victory over its last five home games of 2018 came in the season finale against an Oakland squad that was coming off a short week and ended 2018 with a 4-12 record.
2. While Kansas City played its best football at the beginning of the 2018 season, Indianapolis has steadily improved over the course of year after a 1-5 start. The Colts reached the playoffs with a 33-17 road victory at Tennessee in the season finale, which was the team’s ninth win over its final 10 games. Including last Saturday’s convincing 21-7 win at Houston to kick off Wild Card Weekend, Indianapolis is 5-0 both straight up and against the spread over the past two months against opponents that ended 2018 with a winning record. The average score of the five games has been 27.8 to 11.0, with the Colts winning all but one of the five games by 14 or more points.
3. The Chiefs' primary strength is a passing game that led the NFL with 8.8 yards per attempt during the regular season. Indianapolis is 7-1 against the spread since the start of 2016 when facing an opponent that’s averaging at least 7.0 yards per pass attempt, and the Colts are 8-1 on the road in that same time frame when facing an opponent that’s completing at least 64 percent of its pass attempts. Against AFC South opponents, Kansas City is 5-8 straight up and 3-10 against the spread in home games since the start of the 2007 season, a stretch that included seven consecutive against-the-spread home losses to AFC South teams since the start of 2012 before a win over Jacksonville this past October. All seven of those games went under the total, as the only one of the seven in which the Chiefs have reached 20 points was last January’s 22-21 playoff loss as an 8.5-point favorite against the Titans. Kansas City’s 1-11 record (both straight up and against the spread) over its past 12 playoff games dating back to January 1994 includes an 0-6 mark in home games.
Pick: Indianapolis +5.5
Confidence Level: Very High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)