Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans: 2014 Week 17 NFL Pick

Indianapolis Colts (10-5) at Tennessee Titans (2-13)

The Colts were embarrassed last week in a 42-7 loss in Dallas. I had Colts +3 as my Pick of the Week and I messed up big time. I failed to take into account the Colts’ relative road struggles, their struggles with quality opponents in recent years, including this year, and the impact that the absence of TY Hilton would have. I was desperate for a Pick of the Week in a tough week for games and I didn’t want to go with a team like Washington, Chicago, or Houston, the types of teams that had burned me in the past few weeks, even though everything I had told me they were the right side and I was still up big on the season (all 3 covered and Washington and Houston won straight up as big home underdogs).

I apologize for straying from what’s gotten me this far and not trusting what I do. Looking back, I should have made another team Pick of the Week and made Indianapolis a lower confidence pick (Dallas was still 7-23 ATS as home favorites since 2010 going into that one). However, I really like the Colts chances of bouncing back in a big way this week for a number of reasons. There a lot of differences between this week’s game and last week’s game and I feel really good about this one. This is Indianapolis as Pick of the Week take 2.

For one, TY Hilton is expected back after missing last week with a hamstring problem. Teams generally bounce back off of a blowout loss like the one the Colts suffered last week anyway, going 49-25 ATS since 2002 off of a loss by 35 or more. It might seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you think about it as teams are often overlooked, undervalued, and embarrassed in that spot. The Colts might not necessarily be overlooked by the 2-13 Titans, but they should be embarrassed after what happened last week (and they’re 13-1 ATS off of a loss since Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck arrived in 2012 anyway) and I also think they’re undervalued, as just 6.5 point favorites here.

Despite what happened last week, the Colts still rank 7th in rate of moving the chains differential, moving them at a 75.33% rate, as opposed to 71.43% for their opponents, a differential of 3.90%. Tennessee, meanwhile, has been horrible this year, moving the chains at a 66.50% rate, as opposed to 75.39% for their opponents, a differential of -8.89% that ranks 31st in the NFL. This line is too low. Speaking of Tennessee being horrible, the Colts have always beaten up on bad teams in the Luck/Pagano era, going 17-4 ATS against teams with .500 or worse records since 2012, as long as it’s week 4 or later (.500 or worse teams in the first few weeks of the season aren’t always necessarily bad). The Colts have had a lot of trouble with good teams like the Cowboys over the past 3 years, but they shouldn’t have much trouble blowing out the Titans.

On top of that, the Colts are in their 2nd straight road game this week, as opposed to last week when they were in their first. This puts them in a good spot. Teams are 82-63 ATS as road favorites off of a road loss as underdogs since 2002. 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 196-200 in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.29 points per game, as opposed to 276-392 in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.19 points per game.

The only thing the Titans really have going for them is their long losing streak, as they’ve lost 9 straight. Teams are 32-20 ATS since 1989 as underdogs off of a losing streak of 9 or more games. Again, this is a counterintuitive one, but it makes sense for the same reasons why teams covering off of blowout losses makes sense, teams tend to be undervalued, overlooked, and embarrassed in this spot. However, we’ve already established they aren’t undervalued and, while they may be embarrassed, I don’t see the Colts overlooking the Titans after what happened last week. I’m still confident enough in the Colts to make them by Pick of the Week as long as this line is less than a touchdown.

Indianapolis Colts 34 Tennessee Titans 17

Pick against the spread: Indianapolis -6.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

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