Indianapolis Colts (6-8) at Miami Dolphins (5-9)
The Colts have really fallen apart in the last 3 weeks, losing all 3 games by a combined final score of 112-36. Luckily for them, they face one of the worst teams in the NFL this week, a Miami Dolphins team that ranks 31st in rate of moving the chains differential and that is likely going to be without talented center Mike Pouncey in this one. As poorly as the Colts have played in recent weeks, they’re still a far better team than the Dolphins, ranking 23rd in rate of moving the chains differential, so they should be able to bounce back this week and win on the road against a Miami team that is just 11-23 ATS as home favorites since 2008.
The Colts are also in a much better spot than the Dolphins, as they host the Titans next week. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have to turn around and play the Patriots, so they could look past Indianapolis. Their season is over in terms of their playoff chances and New England is annually their biggest home game. The early line has them as 3.5 point home underdogs and teams are 84-129 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 3+. That line could change if the Patriots win this week, lock up the #1 seed, and rest their starters for some or all of the game, but the logic holds either way. It’s a huge upcoming game on their schedule.
On top of that, favorites are just 103-169 ATS since 2008 before being underdogs when their opponent will next be favorites (the early line has them favored by 3 at home against Tennessee). The only reason this isn’t a high confidence pick or Pick of the Week is because of how unbelievably banged up 40-year-old Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (jaw, back, neck, ribs) is, something that seems to be showing in his play recently. The Colts would probably be better off going with Charlie Whitehurst, who was serviceable in limited action with the Titans last week. Whitehurst could still see action if Hasselbeck continues to struggle or gets hurt even further. I still have enough confident in the Colts to put money on them as 2.5 point underdogs.
Indianapolis Colts 20 Miami Dolphins 16 Upset Pick +120
Pick against the spread: Indianapolis +2.5