2019 NFL Week 9: Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Indianapolis Colts +1
We took a point getting down on the Colts earlier this week, on the heels of a supportive signal from our primary, power rankings framework, as we made Indy to be ever so slightly better than Pittsburgh at Heinz Field for week 9. While our model gives Indy the cold shoulder as the favorite, we would probably play the Colts up to -1.5 (unofficially, that is).
Bookmakers, such as CRIS and Pinnacle, opened the Steelers as 1 to 1.5 point home favorites, but a throng of action on the away team pressured the line the other direction. At present, Pittsburgh backers are taking a point.
(73% of spread wagers tracked by The Action Network and 59% of dollars bet versus the number are behind the road cover as of the time of this writing.)
The extreme level of support behind the Colts and the resulting shift in the betting spread are significant for a couple for reasons. First, consensus ATS picks have proven profitable during weeks seven through 12 of the NFL season historically, especially when the herd is down on the away team.
Another big picture, historical trends-based system on our radar triggered for the Colts once they flipped to favorites. In a limited sample, good teams laying chalk on the road have been very profitable bets since 2003 (good teams in this context made an appearance in last year's playoffs and won their last three games).
Historical trends aside, fundamentally, we think the Colts' meaningful edge in the passing game will be sufficient to eke out the cover as short favorites. Through eight weeks of action, Indy has managed the ninth best offense in the League overall by Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. The Colts' aerial offense is about 19% better than average, while the Steelers passing defense is only slightly better than neutral, per this stat from the Football Outsiders.