New England Patriots (9-4) at Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
The Patriots are not only on a seven game winning streak right now, but they also have covered in all seven games by at least a touchdown, a significant feat that has not happened in at least three decades, which shows they have been consistently underrated. I think that remains the case as the Patriots, who lead the league in point differential at +150 and could easily be 11-2 or 12-1 right now if their offensive line was healthy at the beginning of the season, are 2.5-point underdogs in Indianapolis against the Colts, suggesting these two teams are seen as about even.
The Colts are also better than their record at 7-6, also in large part due to their offensive line getting healthy. They started 0-3 with two multi-score losses, but since then they are 7-3 with all three losses coming by one score to likely playoff qualifiers and six of their seven wins coming by double digits, leading to them having a point differential of +88 that ranks 7th in the NFL. However, they have played an easier schedule overall than the Patriots and are just 2-4 against teams with a winning record, while the Patriots are 4-2 and possess a significant edge in point differential even with a tougher schedule. In terms of schedule adjusted mixed efficiency, the Patriots rank 3rd, while the Colts rank 12th, with about five points separating the two.
My calculated line has the Patriots favored by a field goal, so we’re getting significant line value with the Patriots as 2.5-point underdogs. In most weeks, this wouldn’t be my Pick of the Week, but, in looking at the rest of the games this week, I don’t expect to like a side more than New England, given all of the COVID uncertainty. The Eagles and Raiders were sides I liked earlier in the week, but it’s tough to know what to make of those games now, with their opponents missing half their roster, the games being rescheduled, and the lines getting taken off the board.
I will do my picks as normal tomorrow, but I don’t anticipate locking in many, if any other bets before Sunday morning, due to the likelihood of gametime COVID absences, and even then I don’t see myself liking many sides enough to bet on them. The only reason I am locking this one in now is because it’s my Pick of the Week and because, thus far, both teams have been minimally affected by COVID absences this week and are unlikely to have a significant gameday outbreak tomorrow for this Saturday Night Football game.
New England Patriots 26 Indianapolis Colts 23 Upset Pick +115
Pick against the spread: New England +2.5
Confidence: Pick of the Week