Colts - Patriots Preview
WILL BRADY MAKE IT BACK TO THE SUPER BOWL, OR WILL UNDERDOG LUCK GO A LONG WAY?
Last Sunday's AFC Divisional game between the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos felt like a "changing of the guard" when Andrew Luck advanced to his first ever conference championship game at the expense of the aging and injured Peyton Manning. Can Luck surpass both current AFC quarterback legends with a win this Sunday over Tom Brady and New England?
It's only a matter of time before Manning and Brady are out of football as it is. Luck will likely be the dominant force at the AFC at that time given his current career projections. But, few were expecting it to happen this quickly. The betting market sure wasn't! Luck was more than a TD underdog last week, and is just under a touchdown underdog this week.
Yet, the early smart money has been on the Colts this week...suggesting that something very important may be in store for this Sunday's late kickoff in the championship twinbill. You've already studied JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats for Green Bay/Seattle. Let's see what they say about Indianapolis/New England in the nightcap...
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Indianapolis: 11-5 (#24 schedule in USA Today)
New England: 12-4 (#9 schedule in USA Today)
New England had the better record against the much tougher schedule...and that better record was cemented by a 42-20 road win at Indianapolis. No doubts about who the better team was during the regular season. Some doubts have arisen about January though because the Colts were very impressive in handling Cincinnati and Denver, while New England was life and death with #6 seed Baltimore last week. Will New England's poor recent home playoff history raise its head again?
Indianapolis: 5.9 on offense, 5.4 on defense
New England: 5.5 on offense, 5.3 on defense
Big surprise here...though you regular readers know we've been talking about this all season. New England was barely above break even on YPP differential. Brady is great about finishing drives...which makes the most out of 5.5 on offense. But, that's not championship caliber...and it's way behind what you saw in our NFC preview. Indianapolis wins this stat for the regular season, and has dominated it thus far in the playoffs (6.9 to 4.3 vs. Cincinnati, 5.1 to 4.3 vs. Denver).
New England: +12
This is why New England is 12-4. They still get the best of the risk/reward challenge. They always have in the Belichick/Brady era. It finally shut up "analytics" pretenders who kept saying turnovers were "random." They can't be random if New England is always in positive territory! Luck has played very clean this month, with his two interceptions last week coming on "punts" where the Colts where throwing deep bombs on third and long hoping to get lucky. This is probably the category that's going to determine the cover. New England can coast if they win it...but we'll have a ballgame if they don't.
Indianapolis: 10-5-1 ATS
New England: 9-7 ATS
Indianapolis is now 12-5-1 ATS for the whole season if you count the two easy playoff covers. That's amazing considering how bad they've looked in some of the non-covers. You probably watched their bad losses to New England, Pittsburgh, and Dallas during the regular season. They're 12-2-1 ATS in all other games! New England fell back to fractionally above break even at 9-8 ATS with the non-cover vs. Baltimore last week. The Colts have been underrated, which may be part of why the early smart money has been supporting them.
Current Line: New England by 6.5, total of 54
The opener of New England -7 has been bet down. That's important because seven is a key number...and because the public was likely to support Brady as a favorite here. Early money came in anyway! Note that the total has been slowly rising through the week as well because it doesn't look like game day weather will hurt the quarterbacks.
Was that early money on the dog and Over correct? JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his team of experts behind the line...on the scene...and in the computer room to account for every possibility in this game plus Packers/Seahawks. We know if Luck's ready. We what environments bring the best and the worst out of Brady. You'll be able to purchase the final word Sunday morning with your credit card right here at the website. If you have any questions, call us Friday during normal business hours or Saturday/Sunday morning at 1-800-323-4453.
We've scheduled a special football report for Sunday in the NOTEBOOK that will cover any important developments in the market or elsewhere (weather, injuries, etc...) Then it's back to basketball for several days in the interim between Championship Weekend and the Super Bowl. We'll preview big TV matchups and outline the conference races as you and the rest of the sports betting world starts to turn its focus on the build-up to March Madness.
Green Bay at Seattle...Indianapolis at New England...when championships are on the line, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!!