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Colts vs. New England Patriots Pick.
Indianapolis Colts ( 6-3 SU, 6-3 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 18, 4:25 p.m. EST
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
TV: CBS/DirecTV 711
by Vesper Abadon, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ind +9/NE -9
Over/Under Total: 53.5
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The New England Patriots are 6-3 and sit atop the AFC East-not really a surprise considering they tend to dominate that division year in and year out. What is surprising is that the Indianapolis Colts, a team largely considered to be rebuilding after releasing future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and drafting Andrew Luck with the first overall pick, also have a 6-3 record and are competing for a spot in the Playoffs.
The Patriots are continuing to do what they do best, which is play good football; in fact, they enter their Week 11 matchup against the Colts with the best offense in the NFL. That’s do in large part to Tom Brady, who is having yet another stellar year going 232 of 358 for 2,645 yards, 18 touchdowns, and only three interceptions, good enough for a 100.1 rating-fifth best in the NFL.
Of course Brady can’t do it alone. The Patriots boast the seventh-best passing game in the league courtesy of Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. The former has 66 receptions for 810 yards (12.3 Avg) and a pair of touchdowns, and the latter has 46 catches for 611 yards (13.3 Avg) and eight touchdowns. The Patriots also have the fifth-best rushing attack, which is a surprise for the traditionally pass-happy team. That comes courtesy of second-year running back Stevan Ridley, who has rushed 172 times for 814 yards (4.7 Avg) and six touchdowns, and Brandon Bolden, who has 43 carries for 234 yards (5.4 Avg) and two touchdowns.
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There’s no doubt the Patriots are an offensive powerhouse, but they lag a bit defensively, which is ranked a lowly 25th in the league by allowing 382.1 total yard per game. That includes an average of 285.3 passing yards and 96.8 rushing yards. On the other hand, the Colts enter the game with the 18th-ranked defense, which allows an average of 350.6 yards per game, including 230.2 through the air and 120.3 on the ground.
Offensively the Colts are surprisingly potent. They’re ranked fifth overall, which includes the eight-best passing game and 14th-best rushing. Luck has the team averaging 277.9 passing yards per game, which has given him some impressive rookie stats-208 of 362 for 2,631 yards, ten touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a 79.1 rating. Many of those passes have went to veteran Reggie Wayne, who has demonstrated there’s a lot left in the tank with 69 catches for 931 yards (13.5 Avg) and three touchdowns.
The Colts could be better on the ground, but running backs Donald Brown and Vick Ballard have been doing a sufficient job. The former has carried 88 times for 361 yards (4.1 Avg) and a touchdown, while the latter 89 times for 314 yards (3.5 Avg). On average the Colts get 109.4 yard per game on the ground, but they’ll have their work cut out for themselves against the Patriots’ tough front seven.
Vesper Abadon’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Colts are one of the surprise feel-good stories of the year. To see them succeed so fast, especially with head coach Chuck Pagano battling leukemia, well it’s just plain inspiring. They have a legitimate shot at the Playoffs, most likely a wildcard spot since the Houston Texans are the division favorites at 8-1, but I believe they’ll be knocked down to size on the East Coast.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Luck and company will continue to impress, but the Patriots will prove more than the Colts’ defense can handle. They’ll hit them on both the ground and through the air, which will force the Colts to try and keep pace. That’s not a good spot to put a rookie quarterback, who is making his first trip to Foxboro when the weather will be a bit chilly in the high thirties.
Nine points is a big line, but the Patriots are no strangers to winning big having won four games by a bigger margin. It’ll be tough because the Colts will put up points, which is why I like the over, but I think the Patriots will put the pedal to the metal and never let up. For that reason, I like them to win while covering the spread.
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