Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
Matt Hasselbeck is 3-0 as the Colts’ starter and the Colts have moved the chains at a 72.04% rate in his 3 starts, as opposed to 69.66% in Andrew Luck’s 7 starts. Certainly getting Luck back healthy for the stretch run and playoffs is very important because, at his best, he’s way better than Hasselbeck, but Luck hasn’t played well so far this year and it’s definitely been nice for them to have a capable game manager backup quarterback like Hasselbeck this year. The Colts’ defense has also been better than it has been in recent years, though losing talented rookie defensive end Henry Anderson for the season last week hurts. He was a big part of why they improved.
Anderson’s injury is one injury that gives me pause when I think about putting money on the Colts this week. The other is a knee injury to talented left tackle Anthony Castonzo, who will miss his first game of the season this week. The Colts rank 13th in rate of moving the chains differential on the season and have been better offensively when Hasselbeck starts, while the Buccaneers rank 21st, so I think we’re still getting value with the Colts as mere field goal favorites at home (where they are 20-10 ATS since 2012).
It’s also good to see that the public is on the Buccaneers, despite the line moving from 3.5 to the key number of 3 in the past week. About 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal, so that line movement is more significant than you might think. I love fading the public whenever it makes sense because they always lose money in the long run and I love fading a significant line movement whenever it makes sense because they tend to be overreactions to a single week of play. By taking Indianapolis here, I’d be able to do both. However, I can’t quite bring myself to put money on the Colts, so this is a low confidence pick. If the line dips down to 2.5 (unlikely), I’ll reconsider.
Update: This spread has dropped to 2.5, so I’m moving this up to a medium confidence pick.
Indianapolis Colts 26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
Pick against the spread: Indianapolis -2.5