The Colts are coming off an injury-riddled 8-8 season in 2015 where Luck went down midseason and the holes on the offensive line couldn’t keep Matt Hasselbeck upright. You can’t take much from that because Hasselbeck is, after all, a grandpa in this league and Luck’s return will certainly bring more value. However, the optimism surrounding the Colts just because of Luck’s return is a bit much when you consider how shaky the rest of the roster performed. A win total of 9.5 wins in Vegas right now is very high for a team whose quarterback’s name masks a lot of their weaknesses and Under 9.5 is certainly a valuable wager.
The Colts had a lot of holes and needs to patch up this offseason. Needs on the offensive line, the running game, secondary, and at linebacker. Most of the public remembers the Colts in the AFC Championship 2 years in a row but what most people do not realize how generous their road to those two games were. Here’s why the Colts aren’t as strong as people perceive them to be:
- In 2014-15 the Colts won the AFC South at 11-5 in a watered down AFC South division with the 3-13 Jaguars and 2-14 Titans. The only competition for Indy was Houston who was playing under Bill O’Brien in his first year head coaching. The Texans finished 9-7 in what was a learning curve year. The year prior saw every team in the South finishing with a losing record except for the Colts.
2. The Colts then opened the playoffs with a home game vs the Bengals on Wild Card Weekend. AJ Green & Tyler Eifert were both injured for this game so the Colts cruised easy.
3. The Colts went to Denver the following week and faced Peyton Manning at a time when Manning’s injuries were starting to catch up to him. The Colts beat up on a broken-down Manning in a high profile playoff game, marched on to Foxborough for the AFC Championship only to get steamrolled 45-7 by the Patriots. Deflategate or not, the Patriots were going to kill the Colts anyway because they were just so much better than them. The Patriots beat the Colts 43-22 in the playoffs the year prior and won in a blowout during the regular season too. How you compete versus the Patriots is the ultimate measuring stick in the NFL and the Colts failed time and time again during these years.
Bottom line – The Colts were terrible on defense and those weaknesses were masked by the fact that they faced Ryan Mallett, Zach Mettenberger, and a turnover prone Blake Bortles at quarterback all season.
Using this information to profit: The Colts are projected to win 9.5 games in Vegas and that seems to be too much. Take a look at their schedule on the road which is no small task:
Indianapolis Colts’ Road games in 2016:
@Denver, @ Jacksonville, @Houston, @Tennessee, @Green Bay, @NY Jets, @Vikings, @Raiders
- They face the Super Bowl Champs, a Texans defense with Watt (who will play in Week 1) that could be as good as ever with the way Clowney is playing, Tennessee who has improved so much on offense, Green Bay who is a contender, a solid defense in the Jets, a Vikings defense that can win games with or without Bridgewater, and a legitimate Raiders team. What’s the ceiling on the Colts’ win total on the road, 3 wins? Maybe? I could see a 3-5 or 2-6 road season for the Colts with some sloppy losses, yet betting and winning the over on their win total would require them to win 10 games.
The Colts are going to struggle to get to 4 wins on the road this season which means they need either 6 or 7 wins at home this year for their win total to go over. They have less talent on their roster than the Texans and Titans do and for those reasons you should look at taking the UNDER 9.5 win total.
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