2018 NFL Week 5 TNF: Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
October 4, 2018, 5:20 PM PDT
Picking a side (ATS)...
Our initial inclination is always to back the underdog against a bloated, double-digit betting spread--even before we crunch a single number or run a solitary computer simulation. This bias is rooted in the knowing that recreational bettors tend to gravitate toward favorites, despite the betting line adjusting away their advantage most of the time. Such behavior can skew betting lines unduly.
Consistent with our predisposition, since 2003, NFL teams coming off a big home win (by at least three TDs) that are favored by one to two touchdowns in the coming contest are 43-63-1
Moreover, a look at all NFL evening games with big spreads (since 1995) validates the edge for teams receiving points. UNDERDOGS covered 54 times for a 59% win rate (54-37-3 ATS).
Now consider that Brady's Pats are a dismal 2-8 ATS in evening games where New England is expected to win by 10 or more (4-1 ATS at home)...notably worse than the League-wide average.
Betting the total...
History also appears to favor the UNDER when the Colts take on the Patriots Thursday evening.
Per data from Pro Football Reference, Thursday evening football games with a closing total north of 50 have been easy money for UNDER backers. Low-score bettors are 24-12 from this spot.
Further, the advantage of having an elite quarterback at the helm has not exempted the Patriots from the tendency to post disappointing scores on Thursdays. Since Tom Brady became the Patriots starting quarterback in 2001, New England’s UNDER is 3-0 in TNF games with high totals.
When we relax the criteria a bit and examine Brady-era, Pats games with closing totals greater than 50 that were played during primetime on any day, we get a slightly expanded data set of 14 games. The UNDER was still a dominant 9-5 under these modified circumstances.
Keep in mind too that, despite Brady's undeniable greatness, the Patriots have not been particularly kind to OVER bettors in recent years. New England's O/U is 22-27 over the last three completed regular season campaigns, and 1-3 so far in 2018-2019 (also, of note, New England's sole payday for the OVER this season came against a total priced 3.5 points below the League's average score threshold; contrarily, tonight's total is set 2 points higher than the average score).
Bottom line: Our reading of the tea leaves supports Indy and the UNDER this evening. We concede that the Colts are pretty banged up, but, following the 38-7 shellacking the Patriots put on the Dolphins last week and the Colts' loss to the underdog Texans, we think public support for New England this week might be a bit frothy. To wit, the spread can be had at 11 at some shops, up a full point on the day.
In spite of our leans though, we did not get the requisite signals either from our power rankings or computer simulation routines, so we are not officially playing this game. However, unofficially, we like the idea of a +6.5 point Teaser bet offered at Bovada at -130 (Colts +17.5, Under 56.5)