Colts vs. Patriots Odds and Predictions: Expert NFL Picks on Latest Spread, Over/Under For Saturday Night
Getty Images. Pictured: Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, Patriots QB Mac Jones
|Time||8:15 p.m. ET|
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We'll find out when the 9-4 Patriots — winners of seven straight — travel to Indianapolis to take on the 7-6 Colts in a Saturday night AFC matchup with major playoff implications.
Both teams have a lot in common, catching fire after slow starts to the season and coming off the bye week for this one to start their postseason pushes.
Oddsmakers initially opened the red-hot Patriots as 2.5-point favorites on the lookahead line before sharp money pushed this number through the zero, making the Colts as high as 2.5-point favorites with a total of 45.5 as of writing.
So where is the betting value for Saturday's AFC showdown? Let's find out.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Colts vs. Patriots Injury Report
- DT Antwaun Woods (Calf): Out
- C Ryan Kelly (knee/illness/personal): Questionable
- RB Damien Harris (Leg): Questionable
- LB Ronnie Perkins (ankle): Out
- OT Trent Brown (Leg): Questionable
- S Adrian Phillips (Leg): Questionable
Colts vs. Patriots Matchup
|Colts Offense||DVOA Rank||Patriots Defense|
|Colts Defense||DVOA Rank||Patriots Offense|
|Football Outsiders' DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team's success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Can Patriots Offense Keep Up?
The Patriots have won seven games in a row, averaging 32 points while giving up just 10 points per game. The defense has been boosted by playing the 29th-ranked schedule of opposing teams, which is something to consider entering this matchup. Still, it ranks second in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play and sixth in Success Rate (41.7%).
The Pats played a 19th-ranked schedule of opposing passing offenses, and they've given up 24 or more points against teams ranked 15th, outside of games against the Buccaneers and Bills that were heavily influenced by inclement weather.
The Cowboys and Chargers were able to find success through the air against New England, so it will be interesting to see if it can slow down Carson Wentz.
Slowing down running back Jonathan Taylor and the Colts' rushing attack will also be key. The Pats rank eighth in defensive eighth EPA per rush, although they did give up 270 yards on the ground to a Titans team without Derrick Henry.
Overall, we're looking at a big test for a Patriots team that has taken advantage of inferior or injured opposition like the Jets, Browns, Falcons and Titans over this winning streak.
Offensively, the Patriots are top 10 in both EPA per play and Success Rate. While Mac Jones won't get credit for their 14-10 win over the Bills, against whom he attempted three passes, he's quietly been one of the better quarterbacks metrically since Week 5. In that span, he's second in EPA + Completion Percentage Over Expectation (CPOE) against the third-most-difficult schedule of opposing pass defenses.
That means I'm expecting a solid performance against this Colts defense. The key will be if he can do enough to keep pace with an Indianapolis offense that will be able to find success against an untested New England defense.
Can Colts Defense Bounce Back?
The Colts sit at 7-6, just two games behind the Titans for first place in the AFC South. Indy has lost twice to Tennessee, though, so its focus will be on a wild-card spot.
This seems like a good matchup for Wentz and the Colts' passing attack, as I mentioned before. They've won four out of their last five games, averaging 34.2 points over this span, while Wentz ranks seventh in EPA per play since Week 9. During this stretch, Wentz has thrown eight touchdowns to just two interceptions while completing 65.2% percent of his passes.
Fortunately for the Colts, they have the NFL's leading rusher in terms of yards and touchdowns in Taylor. Offensively, the Colts should have no problems scoring.
The Indianapolis defense should be able to make Jones make plays, which is ideal. However, the Colts' pass defense is the weaker of the two units and gave up 38 and 27 points to the two top-10 passing offenses it has faced this season in the Buccaneers and Rams.
Even more problematic is that the Colts' rushing defense has slipped of late, as well. While some of that has been due to injuries, the Colts are dead last in rushing Success Rate since Week 10, allowing 57.3% of running plays to grade as successful.
We could see positive regression on that front, though, since this has been a top-10 unit for most of this year. With a bye week and time to prepare, I'm expecting a bounce back from this defense.
Colts vs. Patriots Predictions
These are two of the NFL's hottest teams as the Colts have won four out of their last five and the Patriots have won seven straight. Nevertheless, the Patriots haven't truly been tested with wins over the Jets, Browns, Falcons and Titans. Even the Patriots' win over the Chargers was a bit deceiving — and their victory against the Bills was hugely aided by the weather.
We've seen this Patriots defense struggle against top-15 units in the Buccaneers and Cowboys, and I'm expecting something similar here.
The Colts have also seen their defense slip, but with a bye week and time to prepare, I'm expecting a max effort from a team that is desperate to get into the postseason. I'll play the Colts -2.5 and over 45.5 as I'm expecting a higher scoring game.
Pick: Colts -2.5 & Over 45.5 | Bet to: Colts -2.5 & 46
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