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CHARGERS AT COLTS
Don't like the direction our Divisional selections are headed this week. So far we are on all the Favorites. Keep in mind, we're underdog players here on the Key Release crew! But, it is what it is.
Last year, 3 of 4 underdogs covered in this round, with 3 of the 4 games being decided by a field goal. I think this year, there's a wider gap between the teams in this round. We're essentially hoping this year see's 3 Favs, or better, cover in this round. Over the last 30 years, the Favorites between -3.5 up to -14 have been profitable. Likewise, home teams, and specifically, home favorites have gotten the money, though not at an overwhelming rate. Lastly, of all the games in the last 30 years, in this round, close to half of them were decided by 14 points or more. So, we're in good company.
These two teams hooked up back in November, in a Sunday Night special. It was in San Diego, and the Chargers came away with a 23-21 win. The Chargers jumped out to a 23-0 lead before a Quarter and a half went by. Then, held on for the win, without scoring a single point in the 2nd half, and having to sweat an Adam Vinatieri missed field goal in the final seconds.
The Colts gave up two touchdowns on kick returns, and it was Peyton Mannings worst game of his career, tossing 6 interceptions. So it wasn't as if the Chargers beat the Colts. The Colts beat themselves. As a matter of fact, when you look at the stats from the game, you see the Colts coming out ahead in most categories. The Colts won the first down battle 25-11. Total yards went to the Colts 386-177. Passing Yards went to the Colts 311-86 and the Colts held the ball for 36 minutes, winning the time of possession battle.
It was a bad game for the Colts, in a tough spot. They were banged up pretty good going in, and they just came off their barn burner loss to the Patriots the week before, a game which was one of the biggest regular season games ever played in the history of the NFL. So, a natural let down was in order.
You can rest assured things will be different this time around. The Colts are healthy and have had an extra week to prepare. Most importantly, they are at home where they've played some good football, going up against a Charger team that's .500 on the road.
The Chargers beat up on some teams down the stretch. Teams like the Ravens, Raiders and Broncos, but they couldn't beat good teams on the road. They lost at New England, Green Bay, Jacksonville and Minnesota. Their signature win this year, over a good team, came against the Colts and we explained above how that game played out.
When the Colts were at their healthiest early on, they were blowing teams off the field. The Saints, Jags and Bucs were all beaten by 20+ points early on. Now, the Colts are once again healthy and chompin at the bit.
The Colts are known for offense, but guess who the number 3 team in the NFL was this year in yards allowed? Yep, the Colts. Matter of fact, of the remaining playoff teams, the Colts are #1 in that category as only the Steelers and Bucs were ahead of them. Some will point to the Chargers turnover margin, specifically interceptions where they led the NFL. But guess who was #2 ?? Yep, the Colts.
So clearly, the Colts are the better team here. They have all of the important edges. Coaching, Quarterback, defense......edge to the Chargers in the rushing game but that won't be enough.
So, in sticking with what seems to be the theme of the weekend for us, we're not going to back a team because we think they can hang within the number. We see no way for the Chargers to win this one, so we'll lay the number here and hope for a convincing win.
2* Colts -8.5