Washington Redskins (3-8) at Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
The Redskins stand at 3-8, but they aren’t as bad as their record. Their -56 point differential isn’t as bad as their record. They have just 2 losses by more than 11 points. They’ve also been killed by the turnover battle (-9) and the return touchdown battle (-4), two things that tend to even out in the long run. On the season, they move the chains at a 71.47% rate, as opposed to 71.43% for their opponents, a differential of 0.04% that ranks 18th in the NFL. The Colts, meanwhile, move the chains at a 77.04% rate, as opposed to 72.70% for their opponents, a differential of 4.34% that ranks 6th. This line is way too high at 10 points.
The Redskins have been better on the road than at home, as they don’t have a single road loss by more than 11 and the only two road games they’ve lost by more than 4 points involved the other team returning a touchdown. They only lost by 4 points last week in San Francisco as 10 point underdogs and they could easily keep it close here in Indianapolis. The Redskins have benched Robert Griffin for Colt McCoy this week. McCoy isn’t as talented as Griffin, but he’s a better fit for this offense and he’s played well in limited action this season, completing 85.7% of his passes for an average of 10.17 YPA, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception on 42 attempts. I’m still confident in the Redskins even with McCoy under center.
Unlike last week, the Redskins are in their 2nd straight road game this week, which is an added benefit. Teams are 110-74 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 93-52 ATS when it’s their 2nd straight (and not 3rd straight) road game and they next play a home game. Historically, teams cover at about a 65% rate in that situation. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 187-191 in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.36 points per game, as opposed to 262-380 in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.34 points per game.
The only reason this isn’t a higher confidence pick is twofold. For one, the Colts go to Cleveland next week. While Cleveland has a solid record, the Colts will still be road favorites there next week and teams are 113-75 ATS as non-divisional home favorites before being non-divisional road favorites since 2002. Two, the Colts have a very solid homefield advantage. They are 15-7 ATS at home since 2012, when Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck came in. However, I still like the Redskins’ chances of playing another close road game.
Indianapolis Colts 24 Washington Redskins 20
Pick against the spread: Washington +10