Indianapolis Colts (9-5 SU, 8-6 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3 SU, 8-6 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date and Time: Sunday, December 22, 2013, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV: CBS/DirecTV 707
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IND +7/KC -7
Over/Under Total: 44
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Two teams already with their AFC playoff tickets punched get a chance to try and jockey for homefield advantage on Sunday, when the Indianapolis Colts travel west to rowdy Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in early-game action on CBS.
The Chiefs turnaround this season under first-year head coach Andy Reid and first-year QB Alex Smith is certainly one of the biggest and best stories of the 2013 NFL season, but with the Broncos showing signs of a late-season fade, Kansas City could sneak away with the AFC West title with a little divine intervention. Although, with a 6-1 record away from Arrowhead this season, the Chiefs may be better off settling for the wildcard route on the road.
The Colts have sort of limped their way through the past seven weeks, alternating wins and loses to the tune of a 4-3 record since November, including last week’s 25-3 yawner over Houston. Due to a lack of competition in the AFC South (Tenn., Jack. And Hou. combined 11 wins), Indy has enjoyed a playoff birth since September (alright, not really) and with the finale at home against the Jaguars, this Sunday will be the last chance they get to test themselves against a playoff-caliber opponent in the Chiefs … on the road.
The people setting the betting odds opened Sunday’s playoff-worthy tilt at Arrowhead with the hometown Chiefs as large 6.5-points favorites and the line has already gone up the hook to the full touchdown minus -7 at most sportsbooks.
The over/under total has seen a big jump early in the week, opening at 41.5 late on Sunday and by Tuesday it’s already up to 44 or 44.5 at most books both in Las Vegas and on the Web.
Call it a coincidence, but the Colts started going up-and-down this season when they lost receiver and leader Reggie Wayne. Indy has also been desperate to find a running game to go with Andrew Luck (only 228 ypg passing – 18th), and while Donald Brown has been better than Trent Richardson at running the ball the colts still lack the balance they had with Wayne on the perimeter.
Indy has also been hurt by a lack of run defense too, which doesn’t look good with Kansas City (126 ypg rushing – 11th) and Jamaal Charles waiting for the Colts bus to unload. Alex Smith had a season-high 158.3 QB rating last week with 5 touchdown throws to make it nine TDs in the last three weeks, but he’s still not a danger to go over the top on a defense which could limit his effectiveness and the Chiefs offense come the playoffs.
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Last year the Colts went into Arrowhead in late December and won, 20-13, but that was a few short weeks before the old coaching regime was shown the door in favor of the re-tread Reid. The Colts are actually 4-1 SU at Arrowhead (dating back to 2000), and they own a 7-3 ATS record against the Chiefs including a 6-1 ATS on the road in this “series” if you go back further in history.
The total has been climbing higher and higher since it opened, but its actually the under that is 4-1 in their last five head-to-head meetings. The under is also 21-8 in the Chiefs last 28 home games, and 5-1 in December and 7-3 when the Colts play on grass … and its December and grass in Arrowhead on Sunday.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Chiefs are due for a stinker after scoring 56 points last week and 45 the week before. I’m going with the trend play and against the line movement, I’m taking the under of 44.
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