Colts-Patriots TNF Betting Preview: How to Find Value in this Over/Under
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Andrew Luck, Tom Brady
Betting odds: Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
- Spread: Patriots -10
- Over/Under: 51
- Time: Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime
>> All odds as of Wednesday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: It looks like Tom Brady and the Patriots have done enough to convince the market that they’re back, as more than 60% of bettors are backing them as a 10-point favorite as of writing (see live data here).
Sharp bettors haven’t disagreed, either, as the line has yet to move in favor of the Colts. Where there is some disagreement is on the total. Sixty percent of bets are on the over, but more than 70% of the money is on the under.
There was also a steam move triggered on the under. As a result, the total has fallen from 53 to 51 since opening. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Pats easily dispatched the Dolphins last week 38-7, but don’t be so quick to lay the points with the favorite here. Casual bettors tend to overvalue what they saw most recently, and oddsmakers know this, which means it has been profitable to fade teams following big wins.
Since 2003, betting against teams after a home win by 21 or more points has returned +42.1 units of profit. — John Ewing
Did you know? Brady has opened as a double-digit favorite in prime time nine times over his career heading into this week. He’s 8-1 straight up but only 2-7 against the spread as six of the eight wins were one-score games.
Since 2003, more than 60 games have been played in which one team is listed as a double-digit favorite in prime time; Brady has made nearly 15% of those starts.
Meanwhile, Andrew Luck is 22-14-1 ATS on the road against every team but the Patriots. He’s 0-3 SU and ATS in Foxborough, failing to cover the spread by 23.2 points per game.
Luck has completed more than 50% of his passes in six of the stadiums he’s played in on the road, but only 47.6% at Gillette. His lowest passer rating among the other six away stadiums? 75.4 at Mile High. It’s 48.8 in New England. — Evan Abrams
Matchup to watch: Julian Edelman vs. Colts Slot Corners
Edelman has never cleared 58 yards in the regular season against the Colts (although he has in the playoffs), and undrafted second-year corner Kenny Moore has turned into one of the league’s better slot corners, allowing a passer rating of only 53.8 this season (per Pro Football Focus).
But Edelman could catch a break as he attempts to knock the rust off with Moore’s status in doubt due to a concussion. — Chris Raybon
Biggest mismatch: Patriots WRs vs. Colts Secondary
All three of Indianapolis’ corners — Moore, Nate Hairston and Quincy Wilson — are in danger of missing the game while the Patriots all of a sudden can run out a top three of Edelman, Chris Hogan and Josh Gordon.
And as we mentioned on the Action Network NFL Podcast, Phillip Dorsett (revenge game alert!) has slid into the Brandin Cooks role better than anyone could have expected and has been the Patriots’ leading wide receiver. — Raybon
Which team is healthier? Patriots
The Colts have already ruled out No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton (hamstring/chest), tight end Jack Doyle (hip), running back Marlon Mack (hamstring) as well as Wilson (concussion) and Moore (concussion).
Meanwhile, the offensive line is in even worse shape than usual, as center Ryan Kelly (hand, questionable) and left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring, questionable) could join right tackle Denzelle Good (personal, out) on the sideline.
There’s a chance that the Patriots won’t have Rob Gronkowski (ankle, questionable) or a full serving of Gordon (hamstring, questionable), but most of their key contributors are otherwise healthy. This includes Edelman, who make his season debut after serving his four-game suspension.
DFS edge: Edelman’s return is great news for the Patriots, but it could be outweighed by the potential absence of Gronkowski.
Overall, Brady has averaged 24.8 PPR points per game and 7.9 yards per attempt with Gronk compared to 19.9 PPR points per game and 6.5 yards per attempt without Gronk since 2013. The good news is that this hasn’t exactly rubbed off on Edelman, who has parlayed his additional 2.8 targets per game with Gronk sidelined into a +2.5 PPR points per game split.
The Patriots have scored 30-plus points in five of their last eight home games. — Hartitz
Bet to watch: Under 51
Brady-Luck would normally have “shootout” written all over it, but we aren’t likely to see a repeat of Jared Goff-Kirk Cousins this Thursday.
We know Brady and Luck can move the ball up and down the field, but injuries and philosophical shifts for both teams mean it just won’t move quite as quickly as we’re used to seeing.
Luck can front all he wants about the health of his shoulder, but the numbers don’t lie: His average pass has traveled 6.8 yards beyond the line of scrimmage this season, which ranks 30th in the NFL, and his average pass attempt has gained only 6.1 yards (31st).
Not to mention that in two games without Hilton over his career, Luck has averaged only 5.91 yards per pass — which is an extremely small sample size, but the numbers make perfect sense.
The Patriots are in better shape — it’s nice to have Edelman and some guy named Gordon to throw to if Gronkowski can’t go — but Brady’s 6.8 yards per attempt isn’t likely to make a drastic jump if he ends up essentially swapping Gronk for Edelman in this game.
More importantly, we’ve seen offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels commit to the run more than he usually does this season. After running on 40% of their plays last season, the Patriots have kept it on the ground 45% of the time in 2018. With the Colts banged up in the secondary, the Pats will likely be efficient through the air but aren’t likely to change their approach drastically on a short week.
Betting the over in Patriots home games used to be free money — it went 28-12 between 2010-14, according to data from Bet Labs — but since 2015, it’s gone only 13-13, including 0-2 this season.
If you like the call, be sure to grab a 51.5 wherever you can, as sharps have been betting it down.
With the Colts’ ability to maintain their league-best 51.6% third-down conversion rate on offense compromised by the absences of Hilton and Doyle and their 22nd-ranked third-down defense likely to fall further amid injuries, I would expect the Pats to dominate time of possession and would also consider the under on Indy’s team total. — Raybon
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.