Atlanta Falcons (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-8 SU, 2-6 ATS), Week 10 College Football, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, November 6, 2011, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind. TV: FOX
by Ryno, NCAA Gridiron Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Atl -7/Ind +7
Over/Under Total: 44.5
The St. Louis Rams got their first win of the season by upsetting the New Orleans Saints in Week 8. So there may be some hope for the winless Indianapolis Colts, who host the Saints’ rival in the NFC South, the Atlanta Falcons, on Sunday afternoon. The Falcons, normally a much better team at home than on the road, have won two games in a row on the road, so the favored Falcons are expected to roll over the hapless Colts.
Of course, the Colts are still without Peyton Manning at quarterback. Without him, they have struggled mightily. Their pass offense, their run offense, their defense, nothing has gone right for the Colts. The Colts will be happy to be coming home, though, after three straight road losses, including a 62-7 whooping by the Saints. Five of their eight losses have been within 10 points, but the Saints loss was just ugly.
The Falcons started the season slow. They were blown out by the Chicago Bears, barely got by the Philadelphia Eagles at home in a game they would not have likely won if it weren’t for a Michael Vick injury, lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, barely got past the Seattle Seahawks, and then lost to the Green Bay Packers at home. But a convincing win over the Carolina Panthers and a nice road win over the Detroit Lions have the Falcons back in the playoff mix. Now coming off their bye week, they should be prepared to face a weak Colts team still looking for their first win of the season.
Running back Michael Turner is having a nice season pacing the Falcons offense. He has 621 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns with a 4.5 yards per carry average. But quarterback Matt Ryan has not been quite up to par. He has 1,683 passing yards, nine passing touchdowns, two interceptions and eight interceptions. With Ryan’s struggles, Roddy White has not been as dominant as normal either. He has 39 receptions for 425 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Tony Gonzalez has been very solid at tight end with 35 receptions for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
With Manning going down, Curtis Painter has been the man behind center for the Colts. He has 1,123 passing yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. Joseph Addai has been hampered with an injury – Delone Carter has stepped in as the starting running back – but Addai returned in limited action on Sunday. Carter has 305 rush yards and two touchdowns this season, while Addai has 257 rush yards and a touchdown. With Manning out, Reggie Wayne, who had a career year just last season, has struggled to get the ball and make plays. Wayne isn’t even the team leader in receiving (35 receptions, 487 yards, 1 TD): It’s Pierre Garcon, who has 37 receptions for 569 yards and four touchdowns.
The Colts defense, which has not been quite impressive this season (they allowed the Saints to score 62 points), needs to step up for the Colts to have a shot in this game. They need to keep Turner and Ryan out of the end zone and limit them to field goals and force some turnovers. If they can do that and score a couple touchdowns, they may have a chance to pull off the upset. But the Colts absolutely have to win the turnover battle and move the ball here and there. The Colts have allowed at least 23 points in every single game this season and have allowed 34.8 points per game on the road.
The Falcons are 3-0 ATS in games they’ve been favored in. Their last three games have all gone under. The Falcons are 1-3 ATS on the road this season. They are 0-2 ATS this season as road favorites. The Colts are 0-4 ATS in their last four games. Six of their eight games this season have gone over. The Colts are 0-5 ATS this season as a single digit underdog and 1-2 ATS this season as a home underdog.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: If you laughed when you saw this line you aren’t alone. There are MANY out there who think Atlanta is going to come into Indy and absolutely smash the Colts. Those many will be the same people meeting their bookies Tuesday morning to pay-up. This line has sucker bet written all over it. Don’t be surprised if Indy wins this game straight up. It’s either Colts plus the points or pass.
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