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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Last October, the Indianapolis Colts stunned the Denver Broncos 39-33 in a Sunday Night Shocker that went down as one of the biggest surprises of the year. Peyton Manning and company would only lose three games all through the regular season (four for the year counting the Super Bowl), and it was young Andrew Luck leading Manning’s former team to a statement-making victory.

It’s a special treat to see one of the elite teams in the NFL in a revenge spot. And, that motivation could certainly be helped by the very strong home field advantage enjoyed by the Broncos a mile high. With a chip still on their shoulder after the Super Bowl loss to Seattle, this could be one of the most “peak intensity” games of the whole 2014 season for Denver.

But, since everyone is talking about that…isn’t there a chance all the hype will drive the line way too high? Should Denver be laying more than a TD against a playoff caliber opponent who knows how to pass in the fourth quarter? Let’s review our key indicator stats for more context.


2013 Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)

Indianapolis: 11-5 (#10 schedule in USA Today)

Denver: 13-3 (#16 schedule in USA Today)

Denver was two games better in the standings, yet played a slightly softer schedule. On that scale, the difference is probably more like a game or a game-and-a-half. Denver is still the best team in the AFC, because 13-3 is a great record against a league-average schedule. Indianapolis is on their heels, with some good results last year when stepping up in class (ask Seattle and San Francisco about that!)


2013 Yards-Per-Play

Indianapolis: 5.3 on offense, 5.6 on defense

Denver: 6.3 on offense, 5.3 on defense

This is where you have to be concerned about Indianapolis, both in terms of playoff potential this year and their ability to compete with Denver on Sunday Night. They had a negative per-play differential last season, which means they relied too much on “points when they needed” them late in close games. It’s very tough to ALWAYS pull games out of the fire. True quality shows up in this stat with clearly positive differentials.  Denver represents true quality. The won-lost record of Indianapolis doesn’t match their stats.


2013 Turnover Differential

Indianapolis: +14

Denver: +5

Here’s another area that helped the Colts overachieve their yardage. They did a good job in the risk-reward area…and that speaks VERY well of their young quarterback. Young stars often have big troubles in this area because they try to force too many things. Luck has skipped over that step, at least to this point. Denver was a disappointment considering the veteran moxie of Manning.


2013 Market Performance

Indianapolis: 10-6

Denver: 10-5-1

Both teams cashed tickets consistently. Denver was 10-4-1 when not playing Indianapolis! The market has been trailing top teams in recent years…which is something to keep in mind with playoff contenders in 2014. The best teams are no longer overpriced.


Current Line: Denver by 7.5, total of 56


The game was at Denver -6.5 for much of the summer after an early opener. Momentum started building for a push through the key number of seven through the exhibition slate. And, now many pundits are forecasting a Denver blowout because of their yardage edge and intangibles. Maybe that’s what’s going to happen. Or, maybe Indianapolis will get the best of the turnover category, hold their own amidst the noise, and be in position to score another shocker in the fourth quarter. And, with a spread that high, they could fall behind by 14 points in the second half but still sneak in the backdoor with a garbage time TD.

JIM HURLEY knows you love betting the Sunday Night games in Las Vegas. This game will likely be part of a TV Parlay or possibly posted as a major release. You can always purchase the best NFL options right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about Sunday’s action, seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office before first kickoff Sunday at 1-888-777-4155.

We’ll focus on the nightcap of ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader in our Monday report…launching another blockbuster week of sports coverage. Here’s the tentative schedule…

Monday: NFL Monday Night TV Preview…San Diego at Arizona

Tuesday: College Football Notes or an MLB Preview

Wednesday: NFL Notes or Royals/Tigers MLB ESPN Preview

Thursday: NFL Thursday Night TV Preview…Pittsburgh at Baltimore

We’re still finalizing the college preview schedule. On Friday and Saturday, we’ll be choosing from Georgia/South Carolina, Tennessee/Oklahoma, and UCLA/Texas. Sunday Night next week will be Chicago at San Francisco, followed by Philadelphia at Indianapolis on Monday.

Hey…that means Luck will keep coming your way! Combine that with the handicapping skill of JM HURLEY, and you’re going to GET THE MONEY with BIG, JUICY WINNERS seven days a week! Don’t make a move in Colts/Broncos until you here what JIM HURLEY has to say!

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