Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) +5, 41at Indianapolis Colts (1-1), 4:15 pm Eastern Sunday, CBS
by Zman of Predictem.com

The top two teams in the AFC South, both coming off slow starts to this season, meet for an early-season showdown when the Indianapolis Colts host the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon at the new Lucas Oil Stadium.

Online Sportsbooks are listing Indianapolis as 5-point home favorites for Sunday’s game, with a total of 41. The Colts are also listed at right around -230 on various off-shore moneylines, with Jacksonville getting around +190 as the road underdogs.

J’Ville has lost its first two games of this season, both in lackluster fashion. The Jags opened with a 17-10 loss at Tennessee, then fell at home to Buffalo last Sunday 20-16. Jacksonville was favored in both games, by three points vs. the Titans and by four over the Bills, and obviously failed their financial backers. And both those games stayed under the totals.

J’Ville has already this season been hit hard by injuries along the offensive line. Consequently, the Jags got outrushed by Tennessee 137-33, and managed just 98 yards on the ground vs. Buffalo.

And J’Ville QB David Garrard, who threw three INTs all of last season, has already been picked off three times this season.

The Colts began this season with a 29-13 home loss to Chicago, then had to come from behind to eek out an 18-15 win at the Metrodome last Sunday. Indy fell as 10-point home chalk to the Bears, but managed to cover the spread as 1-point road chalk vs. the Vikings. And both Colts games so far this season stayed under the totals.

Indy got outrushed by the Bears 183-53, and by Minnesota 180-25.

The Colts have taken five of the last six meetings from Jacksonville, and swept two games from the Jags last season by scores of 29-7 and 28-25. But Indianapolis has only covered the spread in two of those last six meetings between these two teams.

Also, the totals have gone 3-3 in those last six meetings in this series, which have averaged a very ordinary 40 total points.

On the injury front, the Colts will be without the heart and soul of their defense for at least the next month or so, with S Bob Sanders on the sidelines nursing a bad ankle. And Indy has also suffered hits along the O line, although center Jeff Saturday may return to action this weekend after missing the first two weeks of play with a knee injury.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Indy 10th in the league at 23.9, the Jags 14th at 22.0. Sagarin’s current NFL home-field advantage figure is 3.2.

Last season, Jacksonville went 11-5 against the spread, 6-2 ATS on the road and 5-3 vs. the numbers as underdogs. Also, the totals went 11-4-1 in Jags games last year, which averaged 45 total points.

Meanwhile, the Colts went 9-7 against the spread last year, 5-3 ATS at home, and 3-3 ATS when favored by less than a touchdown. Also, the totals went 7-9 in Indy games last season, which also averaged 45 total points.