Indianapolis Colts (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (6-3 SU, 4-5 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 22, 1:00pm
Where: Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA
by Bob, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IND +6 / ATL -6
Over/Under Total: 47.5
This Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts will travel south to take on the Atlanta Falcons at 1:00pm. Atlanta comes in at 6-3 and second place in the NFC South behind the Saints, while the Colts are 4-5 and by some miracle, leads the AFC South division. Both teams know this is a pivotal game and a win or loss could completely change their post season fate. The last time these two teams met was back in 2011 and the Falcons won that game by a 31-7 score, but these are now two different teams with different coaching staffs. The biggest news in this one is that Colts star quarterback, Andrew Luck, will be out due to injury and 40 year old Matt Hasselbeck will get the start. Can the Falcons take advantage?
Due to the injury to Andrew Luck, the line on this game is a little wider than it probably would have been before. The Falcons enter as a six point home favorite over the Colts. The total points are set at 47.5 combined. As of Tuesday morning the action was an even split in Vegas. 50% on Indy and 50% on Atlanta. That tells us that this line probably will sit right where it is all the way til kickoff, that is unless one side begins getting more and more action as the week continues. Against the spread this season, both teams are 4-5 but the Falcons cover most of theirs as the underdog. When favored, Atlanta has lost their last three ATS. We will take a look and see if this week is any different.
The Atlanta Falcons came storming out of the gate this season at 5-0 but since that time have gone 1-3 and the really bad part is that all three games they have lost, they were the favorite. The Falcons in years past had issues on defense. Matt Ryan and the offense could put up points but the defense was just not able to stop anyone. This season has been the opposite so far. The Falcons have held their opponents to less than 20 points on three different occasions. In those games they won two of them, barely, and just last week lost to San Francisco 17-16. If you look at the Falcons statistically, they still rank quite high among the NFL teams mostly in part to their fast start. They are still 7th in the NFL in scoring, 5th in passing yards, and their run game, led by Devonta Freeman, is adding another 115 yards per game. The defense is giving up just 21 a game which is a huge improvement from last season. What has plagued the Falcons in 2015 is turnovers. They have turned the ball over in the red zone five times already. Not only that, they have had to settle for field goals at the end of long drives. Between the 20s, Atlanta is deadly, but they MUST find a way to score a touchdownnot kick it for three. That is the key this week at home: Get the offense rolling again. With Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, and an offensive line that is not great but has certainly improved since 2014, there is no reason these guys are not penciled in for 24 points a game. Atlanta needs to score. Plain and simple.
The Colts come in as underdogs in this game but if Andrew Luck was starting I could this game being a bit closer regarding the point spread. With that said however, Hasselbeck has actually played pretty well this season. Early on in the season, the Colts actually looked better with him than Luck. Nothing against Luck, but I think everyone include Andrew Luck himself, agrees he did not play good at all in the first few weeks. The Colts have been up and down all season. They have losses to Bills and Jets, yet just a couple of weeks ago knocked off the Broncos who at the time were unbeaten. There is never any telling which Colts team will show up. This Sunday in Atlanta, I have a feeling the Falcons offense will be primed to put up points. They had a Bye week to work out some kinks and I think this will be the turning point for Atlanta. The Colts need to stop the run. If they can keep Devonta Freeman on a short leash and make the Falcons one dimensional then they can pressure Matt Ryan more and create turnovers. If the Colts defense does not create chaos for the Birds, there is no way they win this weekendor cover.
I think I have picked four Falcons games this season and am 1-3. I do not always take my home town team either. I am a fan but am a realist. I will be honest, they just have not played well. I like Atlanta to win this game, but I cannot see them beating anyone by more than six points right now. Maybe I am wrong, but you are giving me six points against a team that has not covered a spread in over three weeksyea, give me the underdog. Falcons win 20-17.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE COLTS +6 AND UNDER THE POSTED TOTAL OF 47.5
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