NFL AFC Championship Betting Picks: Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

2015 AFC Championship
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium – Foxboro, Massachusetts
Sunday, January 18, 2015, 6:40 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: New England -7
Current Line: New England -6 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 53
Current Total: 54
Opening Money Line: Patriots -295 / Colts +245
Current Money Line: Patriots -270 / Colts +225

The New England patriots are 6.5 point favorites against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Sunday.
The New England Patriots are 6.5 point favorites against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Sunday.

The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts meet in the playoffs for the fifth time since 2003 as the Patriots host the Colts in the AFC championship game Sunday. The winner will face either the Seattle Seahawks or Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl in two weeks in Arizona.

New England went 12-4 this season and won the AFC East title. The Patriots have qualified for the playoffs 12 times since 2001. New England finished tied with the Denver Broncos for the best record in the AFC but the Patriots won the tiebreaker by beating the Broncos earlier in the season. After a first round bye, New England escaped with a 35-31 divisional playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens last week.

Indianapolis won the AFC South division for the fourth straight year with an 11-5 record. The Colts beat the Cincinnati Bengals 26-10 in the wild card playoffs. Last week, Indianapolis upset the Denver Broncos 24-13 in Denver in the divisional playoffs.

New England looks to return to the Super Bowl for the 8th time in franchise history and first time since losing to the  New York Giants in 2011. New England has won 3 Super Bowls but none since 2004. Indianapolis is 2-2 in Super Bowls and hasn’t been since losing to the New Orleans Saints in 2009.

Since 2001, New England leads the series against Indianapolis 12-5. The Patriots have won 5 straight games against the Colts, the last 3 by 21 points or more. New England won in Indianapolis 42-20 earlier in the season. The Patriots have won 3 of the 4 playoff meetings including 43-22 last season in Foxboro in the divisional playoffs.

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Indianapolis is coached by Chuck Pagano. The Colts have road losses at the Denver Broncos 31-24, Pittsburgh Steelers 51-34 and Dallas Cowboys 42-7, along with home losses to the Philadelphia Eagles 30-27 and the New England Patriots 42-20. Indianapolis has  road wins at the Jacksonville Jaguars 44-17, Houston Texans 33-28, New York Giants 40-24, Cleveland Browns 25-24, and Tennessee Titans 27-10 along with home wins over the Titans 41-17, Ravens 20-13, Bengals 27-0, Jaguars 23-3, Washington Redskins 49-27 and Texans 17-10. Indianapolis has won 7 of the last 8 games. The Colts are 12-5-1 ATS and the total is 9-9 this season. Indianapolis was a 9.5 point underdog against Denver and the total was 53.5.

New England is coached by Bill Belichick. The Patriots have road losses at the Miami Dolphins 33-20, Kansas City Chiefs 41-14, and Green Bay Packers 26-21, and a home loss to the Buffalo Bills 17-9. The Patriots had already clinched home field going into the Bills game and rested a lot of their starters. The Buffalo loss snapped a 3 game winning streak for New England. The Patriots have road wins at the Minnesota Vikings 30-7, Bills 37-22, Indianapolis Colts 42-20, San Diego Chargers 23-14, and New York Jets 17-16 along with home wins over the Oakland Raiders 16-9,  Cincinnati Bengals 43-17, New York Jets 27-25, Chicago Bears 51-23, Broncos 43-21, Detroit Lions 34-9 and Dolphins 41-13. New England is 9-8 ATS and the total is 10-7 this season. The Patriots were 7 point favorites against Baltimore and the total was 47.5.

Indianapolis is outscoring teams 29-23 this season. The Colts are #6 in scoring and #19 in points allowed. Indianapolis is averaging 407 yards per game on offense including 306 passing 101 rushing yards. The Colts are #3 in total offense, #1 in passing and #22 in rushing. On defense, Indianapolis is allowing 343 yards per game including 229 passing and 113 rushing yards. The Colts are 95/232 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 71/218. Indianapolis has forced 41 sacks and allowed 29 this season. The Colts are -5 in turnovers. Indianapolis has 2 defensive touchdowns and has allowed 5 this season.

Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck has completed 61.7% of his passes for 4,761 yards with 40 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, along with 64 carries for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Trent Richardson has 151 carries for 519 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 27 catches for 229 yards. He is probable with the flu. Ahmad Bradshaw has 90  carries for 425 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 38 catches for 300 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is out for the season with an ankle injury.  Daniel Herron has 78 carries for 351 yards and a touchdown, along with 21 catches for 173 yards.

Receiver T.Y. Hilton has 82 catches for 1,345 yards and 7 touchdowns. Reggie Wayne has 64 catches for 779 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Coby Fleener has 51 catches for 774 yards and 8 touchdowns. Tight end Dwayne Allen has  29 catches for 395 yards and 8 touchdowns. Donte Moncrief has 3 touchdown catches and Hakeem Nicks has 4. Seventeen Colts players are listed on the injury report including 6 offensive linemen and 9 defensive players.

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New England is outscoring teams 29-20. The Patriots are #4 in  scoring and #8 points allowed. New England is averaging 366 yards per game on offense including 258 passing yards and 108 rushing yards. The Patriots are #11 in total offense and #9 in passing. On defense, New England is allowing 344 yards per game including 240 passing and 104 rushing yards. New Eng;and is 13th or better in all three categories. The Patriots are 105/234 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 92/232. The Patriots have forced 40 sacks and allowed 26 this season. New England is +12 in turnovers. The Patriots have four defensive scores and a special teams touchdown and have allowed two defensive touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 64.9% of his passes for 4,109 yards with 33 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, plus 57 rushing yards.

Running back Jonas Gray has 89 carries for 412 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. Shane Vereen has 96 carries for 391 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 52 catches for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. Stevan Ridley is out for the season with a knee injury. He had 94 carries for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 4 catches.  LeGarrette Blount has 60 carries for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns after returning to the Patriots after being released by Pittsburgh midway through the season.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski has 82 catches for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. Receiver Julian Edelman has 92 catches for 972 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 10 carries for 94 yards. He is questionable with a concussion. Brandon LeFell has 74 catches for 953 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is questionable with a foot injury.  Tim Wright has 26 catches for 259 yards and 6 touchdowns. Seven defensive players are listed on the injury report.

Indianapolis is 4-1 ATS after gaining more than 350 total yards, 7-2-1 on fieldturf, 19-6-1 after passing for more than 250 yards, 19-6-1 against AFC teams, 3-1-1 overall, 10-4 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 7-3 after a cover, and 36-17-2 after allowing less than 15 points. The underdog is 14-5-2 ATS in this series recently. The last 6 game sin this series have gone over the total including the last 4 in Foxboro.

New England is 8-1 ATS against teams with winning road records, 4-1 after rushing for less than 90 yards, 8-3 against teams with winning records, 5-2 after passing for more than 250 yards, 12-5 at home, 19-8 after allowing more than 30 points, 72-33-2 after gaining more than 350 total yards, 13-6 on fieldturf, 4-9 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 3-9 in playoff home games, 3-11 in playoff games, and 0-5 in AFC Championship games.

Indianapolis is a good young team but I am not sure if they are ready yet to beat the Patriots in Foxboro. Yes, they beat the Broncos last week in Denver, but after than game it was revealed that Peyton Manning had played the last month of the season with a torn quad muscle and wasn’t his normal self. Perhaps, the Colts won’t be blown out this time, but I still say the Patriots win and cover in a high scoring game.

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