Denver Broncos (2-5) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
The Colts are 4-2 and lead the AFC South, but all 6 of their games could have gone either way. Their average margin of victory is 4.5 points per game. Their average margin of defeat is 6.5 points per game. And none of their 6 games have been decided by more than a touchdown. I expect this to be another close game, with the Broncos coming to town this week. The Broncos just got embarrassed by the Matt Moore led Chiefs at home on Thursday Night Football last week, but that game was much closer than the 30-6 final score suggested. The Chiefs managed just 14 first downs and won the first down rate battle by just 2.59%, as they scored 20 points from a fumble recovery touchdown, a busted coverage long passing touchdown, an ill-advised Denver fake punt, and a long punt return, while the Broncos missed 4 points on kicks.
Prior to last week’s loss, the Broncos’ previous 4 losses this season came by a combined 23 points, while their two wins also have come by a combined 23 points. Even with last week’s loss included, they still rank 17th in first down rate differential at -0.70%, which is actually slightly better than the Colts, who rank 18th at -0.89%. The Broncos also rank slightly higher than the Colts in my roster rankings as well. I have this line calculated at Indianapolis -2, so I like getting 5 points with the Broncos this week, especially given how close all of the Colts’ games have been this season. Even if the Colts end up winning this game, it likely won’t be by much.
Sunday Update: Despite right tackle Ja’Wuan James being active for the Broncos for the first time since week 1, this line has weirdly moved up to 6.5 this morning. I am moving this up to a high confidence pick.
Indianapolis Colts 20 Denver Broncos 19
Pick against the spread: Denver +6.5