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The Colts will host the Texans Sunday in Indianapolis and are currently -5.5 point favorites at 5 dimes sportsbook with a total of 45.5. Looking at the betting trends at sportsbook.com we see that the public favors the Colts with 69% of the action as of Thursday coming in on Indy.
Despite losing to the Bengals last week, the Colts clinched the AFC South. As it stands now, they are pretty much locked in to the 4th seed in the AFC and will host a home playoff game. That means, they have little else to plat for, other than to possibly gain a little momentum heading into the playoffs. Coach Chuck Pagano said the team talked about this, and decided they were going to play out the rest of the schedule at full strength, and would not rest starters. Or, at least, would not rest MOST of the starters. Hmmm.
Even though Pagano is talking a good game, it can't take away from the fact that the players know it doesn't matter if they win or lose the rest of the way. There's no urgency. There's no do or die mentality as there is in just about every regular season NFL game with wins and losses being so important each week. Add in the fact that they are playing the Texans, a team that has always played well against the Colts and a team that is currently down and out, and this has the makings of an interesting game.
The Texans are an anomaly. I don't thin I have ever seen a team like this in all my tears handicapping the NFL. If I showed you certain stats from the Texans you'd think one thing and if I showed you other stats, you'd think another. For instance, if I told you the Texans were 2nd in the NFL against the pass defensively, and their offense was 16th rushing and 11th passing you'd probably guess that they were at least in the playoff hunt. Yet, if I told you they were 29th in points scored and 27th in points allowed, and their turnover margin differential was -14, you'd probably guess they were one of the worst teams in the NFL.
The yards per point stat we like to use can be misleading in a situation like this. That stat takes points scored and yards traveled and comes up with a number that tells you how far a team travels to score 1 point and vice versa on the defensive side. The Texans number on offense is 19.2, worst in the NFL. Their number on defense is 11.2, also worst in the NFL. Typically what that would tell you, is that a team has great difficulty moving the football, hence, the lack of points scored. On defense, it's typically telling you that teams move the ball with ease and score often.
But with the Texans, that's not necessarily the case. Their defense isn't terrible, but they give up a lot of points while their offense can move the ball some, they just can't put points on the board. The penalties and turnovers have a lot to do with that. At -14 in TO Margin, that places them among the worst in that category as well. Football is such a simple game. Turn the ball over, you'll likely lose. Don't turn the ball over and force your opponents to turn it over, you'll likely win.
Most of the numbers we like to use including yards per point and our model suggest the Colts are the right side. But we're not going that way here. If the Texans can come within a field goal of Seattle and New England, and these Colts for that matter, earlier in the year, as well as coming within a point of KC, then they can certainly come within 5.5 here in a spot that means nothing to the Colts.
This isn't a strong play and isn't a play we are making in the "real world" but I'd be very cautious if I was interested in backing the Colts here. You just can't trust their mental state here and the Texans may have an once or two of pride left. We certainly know they have the talent to compete here, if they can limit penalties and hold onto the ball. Texans +5.5
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