Zylbert’s Divisional Round Over/Under: Leveraging Historic Offenses in Chiefs-Colts
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Andrew Luck.
Betting Over/Under: Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs
- Over/Under: 56
- Time: 4:35 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC
>> All odds as of 11:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and win probabilities on your bets.
- Regular Season: 9-8-2, Even
- Postseason: 1-0, +1 unit
- Last Week’s Result: Seahawks-Cowboys Over 43 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Another chapter will be added to a historic Colts-Chiefs playoff rivalry on Saturday afternoon when they kick off the Divisional Round, but where will this one fall in regards to its lofty over/under?
On one side, you have MVP frontrunner Patrick Mahomes leading the charge, fresh off one of the greatest first full seasons ever by any professional athlete. He became just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 50 touchdown passes and 5,000 yards, after all, while pacing his team to the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
Not only that, Mahomes was at the helm of a historic offense that averaged a whopping 35.3 points per game, placing third on the all-time list behind only the 2013 Broncos and 2007 Patriots. Remarkably, the Chiefs scored at least 26 points in every single game this season, falling short of the 30-point plateau only four times.
There’s no doubt this is a special offense and history will be on its side as it tries to replicate a similar performance when they take on a solid Colts defense.
Prior to this year (and since the 1970 merger), 20 teams have finished with a scoring average of more than 31 points per game over a full season. Those 20 all made the playoffs and would go on to collectively average 37.5 points in their first postseason action. Perhaps even more striking, the over went an absurd 16-3-1 (84.2%) in those games.
This is a telling stat because it gives us a grasp on the mindset of these top-scoring offenses throughout history — always attack when they start their playoff run, which increases our odds of garnering at least one crooked number on the scoreboard.
Travis Kelce will certainly be a main factor in that quest, as he always is, but perhaps more so than usual in this matchup. The All-Pro was the best at his position in 2018 and that should present an ominous challenge for the Colts, who allowed more catches (106) and receiving yards (1,208) to tight ends than any team in all of football this season.
With Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins also in the fold, this is a really tough receiving corps to go up against. Damien Williams has done an admirable job filling in at running back, while Spencer Ware (hamstring) looks like he’ll be back from injury to provide a boost.
The Colts defense yielded 21.5 points per week to rank 10th in the league, including only 15.5 points during their current 10-1 stretch dating back to Week 7, but the Chiefs’ high-scoring offense is nothing like they’ve faced. Also consider Indy’s D has had plenty of off outings, getting tagged for at least 27 points by the likes of Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, Sam Darnold and Andy Dalton.
Defensively, the Chiefs have also endured their portion of rough patches, which could pave the way for another productive showing at the office from Andrew Luck. With an over this high, we’re certainly going to need it.
In all the commotion surrounding the Chiefs offense, people forget that the Colts fared successfully in this department. They boast the NFL’s fifth-highest scoring offense at 27.1 points per game and Luck draws the right opponent here to potentially manufacture something in line with that.
The Chiefs possessed the league’s second-worst pass defense during the season, giving up 273.4 yards through the air per contest, and that was a main reason why opponents put up 26.3 points on a weekly basis.
The main strength in Kansas City’s defense is its ability to get to the quarterback, even tying for the NFL lead with 52 sacks. Unfortunately for Justin Houston and Co., they’re about to tangle with arguably the best offensive line in football. No team this year allowed fewer sacks than the Colts.
In his comeback campaign, Luck proved he’s still an upper-echelon QB and I believe he’ll continue solidifying that in today’s outing. He actually has a fairly loaded supporting cast, with talented targets in T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron and Chester Rogers. Luck’s running game is maybe the best he’s ever had, led by the talented Marlon Mack.
Hilton has averaged 98.4 receiving yards in his seven career postseason games, so look for the sixth-year wide-out to have a big showing. It will only help that stud safety Eric Berry (heel) is not expected to suit up.
Of course, there are some concerns regarding the weather, but I don’t think it will be much of a factor. The worst of the snow is already out of the way and the low-30’s temperature could be worse.
Plus, Luck has actually performed well when working in below-40-degree weather. In five career games in this predicament, he’s registered a 10-2 TD/INT ratio to go along with a 90.0 passer rating.
With the line at 56, I’m buying it down a point to 55 in order to protect myself in the event of potential 31-24/35-20/38-17 outcome. I recommend doing the same, as this one could be close.
Play: OVER 55 (-130)