Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Normally, a game like Indianapolis/New England would be buried in media hype. Even though, the NFL tabbed it for the only prime time game over the weekend of divisional round action…it’s a matchup that isn’t getting much media run the past few days.
You’ve read more about Johnny “Football” going pro. You’ve read more about Craig Biggio missing the Hall of Fame. Heck, sportswriters have talked more about the New Jersey governor this week (you’d have thought he was Rex Ryan) than they have about the Super Bowl chances for the winner of Colts/Patriots.
You know why that is? Nobody in the media thinks either team has a chance! The winner probably had to go to Denver, where it will be tough to win. If they survive that game, they’ll be underdogs against the NFC champions in the Super Bowl. Andrew Luck is still too young to go the distance. New England’s offense sputtered so badly without Rob Gronkowski that the media can’t forsee an end to the Pats recent title drought.
Just remember that nobody thought Joe Flacco was capable of going the distance at this time last season, and that this is the first time in several years that the Patriots have a defense capable of causing opponents headaches in the postseason.
Won-Lost Records (opponents so far)
Indianapolis: 11-5 (#11 schedule in USA Today)
New England: 12-4 (#21 schedule in USA Today)
New England may be the least respected 12-4 team in history! That’s a tribute to how ugly their offense looked without Gronkowski. But, they were still winning. They were just winning low scoring games that weren’t helping sportswriters in their fantasy leagues. We want to point out here that Indianapolis faced the toughest schedule of anyone left in the AFC half of the draw. You regular readers know that’s been a nice indicator stat in recent seasons…foreshadowing Baltimore’s run last year. That doesn’t mean the Colts are going to win. But, it means they’re slightly more battle-tested in big games this year than the Pats.
Yards-Per Play to Date
Indianapolis: 5.3 on offense, 5.6 on defense
New England: 5.4 on offense, 5.3 on defense
You look at those numbers, and you can see why the media (and the markets) aren’t very excited. The Colts have a negative differential, and substandard offensive volume. New England is generic, but at least has a defense that grades out in decent territory. Whoever wins will have to win with defense and ball control against Denver or San Diego next week.
New England: +9
This is how teams win with poor yards-per-play data. They make up for it with positive turnover differentials. New England has almost always gotten the best of the risk/reward area in this coaching/quarterback regime. It’s a good sign for young Luck that the Colts shone here as well. Unfortunately, Luck had a bad turnover game last week vs. KC, and in last year’s playoff loss in Baltimore…which means he may not have figured out yet how to carryover percentage play into the postseason.
Indianapolis: 10-6 ATS
New England: 8-8 ATS
Another reason the world isn’t excited about New England this season is that they’re not posting the kind of impressive wins that topple the pointspread. Peyton Manning garnered all the “passing volume” headlines. New England was just kind of there. Good season for Colts backers (who are now 11-6 ATS if they got Indy as a dog last weekend), in a season where too many in the markets were still calling them frauds.
Current Line: New England by 7.5, total of 52
Well, those who think Indy is a fraud are still influencing the market! That’s a very high line considering the indicator stats that have proven the test of time for us here in the NOTEBOOK. New England is the better team, but are they THAT much better without Gronk?
JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his full team of experts to get the right read on this game for clients. In particular, he’s had his computer programmers emphasize Luck’s turnover potential in their simulation studies. This could be an Indy upset if Luck plays smart…it could be a New England blowout if Luck keeps handing away free points.
The final word for DAY ONE of the divisional round games can be purchased here at the website any time before kickoff of New Orleans/Seattle. Be sure you build your weekend bankrolls with some Friday Night basketball! If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
Playoff previews still ahead in the NOTEBOOK:
Saturday: San Francisco at Carolina
Sunday: San Diego at Denver
It’s been a few days without football…and you’re chomping at the bit to get back on the gridiron. Be sure you link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK through the divisional round weekend for some of the biggest releases this entire season. IT’S TIME TO GET THE MONEY!