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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Before the season started, the Indianapolis Colts had to have their eye on a pair of October home games that would give them a chance to make a real statement to the rest of the NFL. Last Sunday, they hosted NFC Super Bowl contender Seattle…and made a statement! Next Sunday, they host AFC Super Bowl favorite Denver and Peyton Manning. You know…THE FORMER COLTS LEGEND! How will they get up for San Diego Monday Night?

A game like this is the ultimate challenge for handicappers and sports bettors. How many points is something like that work? Is it worth anything at all? Indianapolis is a young team playing with fire and swagger. And, they have a hot quarterback facing a soft pass defense. Maybe it’s worth NOTHING and you should bet the Colts. But, if Indianapolis is flat as a pancake…or just tired off their 60-minute war with Seattle…then we may be looking at a factor that’s worth one or two touchdowns.

Let’s run our standard indicator stats for more context…

 

Won-Lost Records (opponents so far)

Indianapolis: 4-1 (Oakland, Miami, at SF, at Jax, Seattle)

San Diego: 2-3 (Houston, at Philadelphia, at Tennessee, Dallas, Oakland)

That’s what we mean about a hot team. Indianapolis isn’t just playing well…they knocked off Seattle and San Francisco in two of their last three games! San Diego has been inconsistent…playing as well as anybody for stretches (particular against Philadelphia and Dallas), but then struggling to get anything going in games they should have won. Nobody’s blown out San Diego yet. But…they’re sitting at 2-3 and looking at 2-4 right in the face.

 

Yards-Per Play to Date

Indianapolis: 5.6 on offense, 5.5 on defense

San Diego: 6.2 on offense, 6.5 on defense

As we saw last year with Andrew Luck and the Colts, they tend to outperform their raw stats with efficiency. The Colts find the end zone when they get close…so they score more points off 5.6 YPP than other teams. And, the defense has managed to pull off a “bend but don’t break” approach that allows fewer points on 5.5 YPP than you’d expect. Will those skills disappear in a flat spot?

San Diego’s offense has been impressive thanks to a smarter head coach and more talented receivers for Philip Rivers to throw to. But, that defense is a disaster. They grade out at 6.5 despite playing the relatively unimpressive offenses of Tennessee and Oakland. If the Colts AREN’T flat, then Andrew Luck may be in complete control of festivities against such a bad defense.

 

Turnover Differential

Indianapolis: +6

San Diego: -8

Another example of Indy’s efficiency. Andrew Luck has apparently learned from his mistakes last year…and has done a good job of protecting the ball. Indy’s been smart defensively too, exploiting opposing offenses who panic when they try to keep up with Luck. You know…it’s still COLTS FOOTBALL even if Peyton Manning isn’t there any more! On the other side, Philip Rivers apparently still HASN’T learned about avoiding mistakes. He was a turnover machine in last Sunday Night’s loss in Oakland. The Chargers need to fix that quick or they’re not going to matter this year.

 

Market Performance

Indianapolis: 3-2 ATS

San Diego: 3-1-1 ATS

Oddsmakers and sharps have underestimated both teams out of the gate. The Colts are at a 60% cover rate, while the Chargers are at 75% with a push in Tennessee. It’s important to remember that San Diego isn’t technically a disappointment at 2-3 straight up. They just missed beating Houston in the season opener, and lost to the Titans in the final seconds. A few plays here or there (particularly the plays involving turnovers), and San Diego is 4-1 straight up right along with the Colts.

 

Current Line: Indianapolis by 1.5, total 50

The market is giving Indy a lot of respect with that number. If home field advantage is worth three points…then the Colts would be -4.5 on a neutral field, and a whopping -7.5 at home. That would suggest the market doesn’t think the sandwich spot is an issue. If YOU think it IS an issue, then you’re getting great line value. If you’re not concerned…then profiting from Indy is simply asking a hot offense to win straight up against a defense allowing 6.5 yards-per-play.

JIM HURLEY knows everybody needs to win on Monday Nights. You can purchase his final decision (possibly a side AND a total) right here at the website with your credit card. Be sure to see if anything from Game Three of the NLCS featuring the Cardinals and Dodgers showed up for serious play as well.

If you have any questions, talk to the NETWORK representative in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.

We’ll get caught up in the LCS baseball action Tuesday and Wednesday in the NOTEBOOK. Then our big game football previews resume on Thursday. We’re really looking forward to talking about Florida State/Clemson, next week’s showcase game in college football.

Whether you’re pressing up from a great weekend…or bailing out because your own picks didn’t go so well...Monday is the most important betting night of the week in Las Vegas. Don’t you dare make a move UNTIL YOU HEAR WHAT JIM HURLEY HAS TO SAY!

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