Denver Broncos (7-0) at Indianapolis Colts (3-5)
The Broncos are in a good spot this week, as favorites of 6+ with another easy game on deck, hosting Kansas City next week. Favorites of 6+ are 78-39 ATS before being favored by 6+ since 2012, as significantly superior teams tend to take care of business and win big when they don’t have any upcoming distractions. However, the Broncos don’t deserve to be favored by that many. Despite their undefeated record, they rank just 10th in rate of moving the chains differential, as they have just 2 wins by more than a touchdown.
The Colts, meanwhile, are having a down year and rank 19th in that measure, but still don’t deserve to be underdogs of this many. Just two of their losses have come by more than a touchdown. They’re also historically very good at home and off of a loss in the Andrew Luck/Chuck Pagano era (2012). Luck is 19-9 ATS at home in his career, including 7-0 ATS as home underdogs, previously covering as 9.5 point home underdogs against the Patriots earlier this year, in a 7 point loss. Luck is also 15-3 ATS off a loss in his career. The Broncos have no business being favored by this many points in Indianapolis in this spot.
This line was only a field goal a week ago, before moving to six in the week since, following Denver’s big home win against the previously undefeated Packers. Despite that big movement, the public is still all over the Broncos. I love fading the public whenever it makes sense because the public always loses money in the long run and I love fading significant week-to-week line movements whenever it makes sense because those tend to caused by overreactions to a single week of play.
The Broncos’ defensive performance last week was no fluke and they rank 1st in rate of moving the chains allowed on the season, but I think their offensive performance was a fluke, as they still rank 30th in rate of moving the chains on the season (the reason why they’re only 10th overall). The Broncos don’t get a bye week to rest their ancient quarterback and put together a great gameplan for this game like they did for last week’s game. They’re also in a bad spot, as teams are 59-103 ATS off of a win as home underdogs since 2010, including 15-31 ATS as favorites.
There are two reasons why this isn’t a bigger play, in addition to the fact that the Broncos do have a pretty easy game on deck, meaning they have no upcoming distractions. The first is that they’re kind of in a tough spot off of an overtime loss. Teams are 54-72 ATS off of a road overtime loss as underdogs since 1989. The second is that the Colts’ top receiver TY Hilton might not play, after not practicing all week, while the Broncos aren’t missing anyone of note. Hilton’s injury hurts Andrew Luck’s chances against what’s obviously a good defense, a problem because Luck himself is dealing with a throwing shoulder injury and possible broken ribs. However, the Broncos’ offense isn’t good either and the Colts’ defense has actually been their better unit this season, especially now that they’re healthy, after dealing with injuries early in the season. They rank 9th in rate of moving the chains allowed on the season. They should be able to keep this one close and possibly even win here at home as 6 point underdogs. I’m confident enough in the Colts to put money on them.
Denver Broncos 17 Indianapolis Colts 16
Pick against the spread: Indianapolis +6