Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
This line has finally been posted as Andrew Luck has been ruled out and the Colts are 3.5 point favorites here at home for Jacksonville. For anyone who took Jacksonville earlier this week when they were +8 (like me) congratulations and if you took Indianapolis -8…well you shouldn’t have done that. I thought the Jaguars were the right side at +8 even with Luck playing. With Luck out, I still think the Jaguars are the right side, because they’re still in a good spot and the line should have shifted more than 4.5 points for Luck’s injury (Jacksonville is now +3.5).
Even though Jacksonville is banged up too, missing right guard Brandon Linder, defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, and tight end Julius Thomas (though left tackle Luke Joeckel and cornerback Dwayne Gratz will return this week), I think these two teams are about even without Luck. Indianapolis’ supporting cast around Luck, for the most part, is weak, as they don’t have a very good offensive line, running game, or defense, especially against the run, while new starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is 40 years old and hasn’t made a start since 2012.
Also, as I mentioned, the Jaguars are also in a great spot, as they have been all week. While we can’t use the road underdogs off of a road loss trend because this is the Jaguars 2nd of 3 road games instead of their 2nd of 2 (they go to Tampa Bay next week), teams do tend to bounce back off of blowout losses like the one the Jaguars had in New England last week, losing by the final score of 51-17. Teams are 58-38 ATS since 2002 off of a loss by 34+ points, as teams tend to be overlooked, undervalued, and embarrassed after a loss like that.
On top of that, the Colts have to play again in 4 days against the Texans in Houston (likely part of why they kept Luck out). Teams are 41-63 ATS since 2008 as favorites before a Thursday night game. The Colts are currently mere 1 point favorites in Houston and, if they perform badly here this week, they could be underdogs, which would open up another bad trend for the Colts. Teams are 21-56 ATS as divisional home favorites before being divisional road underdogs since 2002. It’s one of the most powerful trends out there that makes any sense. Finally, teams are 4-17 ATS during week 4 as favorites after winning their first game of the season in week 3, the previous week. The Colts are just in a horrible spot here, especially with the oldest quarterback in the league making his first start in 3 years for them. I put money on Jacksonville +8 earlier this week and definitely I’d still be willing to do it now at +3.5 with Luck ruled out.
The Colts typically play really well against the division and at home, going 15-4 ATS in the division since 2012 (when Luck and head coach Chuck Pagano first arrived), 18-8 ATS at home over that time, and 7-2 ATS at home against the division over that time period. They also have played well against weaker opponents during that time period, going 18-4 ATS against sub .500 teams in week 4 or later. However, it’s hard to trust any of those trends without Luck. I have a good amount of confidence that Jacksonville is the right side this week and would even put money on the money line.
Jacksonville Jaguars 17 Indianapolis Colts 16 Upset Pick +155
Pick against the spread: Jacksonville +3.5