Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Before the season, I identified 5 overrated and 5 underrated teams, with the idea of betting on them (or against them) until they proved me wrong or the odds makers caught up. This served me well as I’m 10-4 this year on games involving those 10 teams (and one of those losses is because I abandoned shipped on the Bills after week 1 and picked the Chiefs last week). However, two weeks into the season, I’ve had to adapt that a little. However, one thing remains the same. I still feel the Colts are underrated.
One of the reasons they’ve remained underrated and because they’ve played underrated teams. I feel the Bears and Vikings are both underrated teams right now. The Colts, meanwhile, don’t have a ton of talent of anything, but Andrew Luck is the real deal. After a rough opener against a strong Chicago defense, Luck was incredibly impressive in his 2nd start, passing for 224 yards on 20 of 31, despite minimal help from his supporting cast. Under pressure on 15 of 37 drop backs, he took just 2 sacks, scrambled 4 times for 21 yards, and completed 6 of 9 for a touchdown and of the 3 incompletions, 1 was dropped, and on 1 he was hit as he threw. In fact, if you take non-targets out of the equation and add in drops (accuracy percentage), he would have been 24 of 29. Expect this team to at least win the 6 games Cam Newton did last year, with a 7 or 8 win season being more likely.
Given that, it’s pretty weird that the odds makers think that the Colts and Jaguars are equal (home field advantage is 3 points). The Jaguars figure to be one of the worst teams in the league. Remember when Blaine Gabbert looked like a functional quarterback? That was fun. Against Houston, Gabbert finished 7-19 for 53 yards, after leaving with an injury and in the middle of the 3rd quarter, he was averaging less than 1 yard per pass attempt. His pocket presence regressed as he was pressured on 8 of 23 drop backs, scrambling once, taking 3 sacks and going 1 for 4.
Indianapolis doesn’t have nearly the defense that Houston does, but Gabbert still cannot be trusted as a functional quarterback going forward, especially behind an offensive line that could be missing two starters once again. They’ve had the league’s 31st ranked offensive line in terms of pass blocking efficiency. The one thing that has remained the same over their first 2 games is their horrible defensive play. Starting cornerback Derek Cox is expected back, but that won’t solve all of their problems. Stud linebacker Daryl Smith will also miss again this week. Andrew Luck and company shouldn’t have much problem moving the ball again this week. The Jaguars rank 30th in the league in yards per play differential.
I still feel like there’s a lot of line value with the Colts. They’re not the same crappy team they were last year. Andrew Luck is the real deal and they’re also much better coached. The Jaguars, meanwhile, might be even worse than they were last year because the defense is no longer respectable and because Maurice Jones-Drew, who had 47.7% of their offensive yards last year, most by a non-quarterback since OJ Simpson in 1974, isn’t the same as last year. If Blaine Gabbert can be respectable against a bad defense again like he did in the opener, they could keep this one close, but I don’t really trust him to do that.
Plus, the Colts are trying to avenge a divisional loss of 10 points or fewer, a situation teams are 59-38 ATS in since 2010. The Colts are also going into a bye , Teams in general tend to cover heading into a bye, as long as their opponent isn’t also heading into one, going 151-126 ATS since 2002. On top of that, week 1 rookie starting quarterbacks are 8-1 ATS and SU week 3 since 2008.
Public lean: Indianapolis (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if Jacksonville covers)
Indianapolis Colts 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 16
Pick against spread: Indianapolis -3 (-110) 3 units