NFL Betting Picks Week Nine: Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, November, 8, 2015, 4:25 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Colts
Opening Line: Denver -3
Current Line: Denver -4 (-105)
Opening Total: 45
Current Total: 46 1/2
Opening Money Line: Broncos -230 / Colts +190
Current Money Line: Broncos -190 / Colts +165

Manning and the Broncos travel to the Colts Sunday in a battle of AFC division leaders.
Manning and the Broncos travel to the Colts Sunday in a battle of AFC division leaders.

The 7-0 Denver Broncos travel to the 3-5 Indianapolis Colts. Denver is one of four undefeated teams left, the most ever in week nine of an NFl season. Denver is in first place in the AFC West over the 4-3 Oakland Raiders. Indianapolis is tied for first in the AFC South with the Houston Texans.

The series is tied 12-12 between the Broncos and Colts. The Colts have won 7 of the last 8 games against the Broncos  dating back to 2005. Denver won last year at home 31-24 to snap a six game losing streak against Indianapolis. However, the Colts would upset the Broncos 24-13 in Denver in the AFC Divisional playoffs.

Denver is coached by Gary Kubiak. The Broncos have home wins over the Baltimore Ravens 19-13, Minnesota Vikings 23-20 and Green Bay Packers last week 29-10, along with road wins over the Kansas City Chiefs 31-24, Detroit Lions 24-12, Oakland Raiders 16-10, and Cleveland Browns 26-23 in overtime.

Denver was a 2.5 point underdog against Green Bay and the total was 46. Both teams entered the game with 6-0 records. The Broncos dominated from start to finish as they had 500 total yards to just 140 for the Packers. Denver took an early 17-0 lead and would not look back as they cruised to a 19 point win. The Broncos are 5-2 ATS and the total is 2-5 this season.

Indianapolis is coached by Chuck Pagano. The Colts have wins over division foes the Tennessee Titans 35-33 and Texans 27-20 both on the road, and Jacksonville Jaguars  at home 16-13. Indianapolis has  road losses at the Buffalo Bills 27-14 and last Monday at the Carolina Panthers 29-26 in overtime, plus home losses to the New York Jets 20-7, New England Patriots 34-27 and New Orleans Saints 27-21. The Colts have lost three straight games.

Indianapolis was a 5 point underdog at Carolina and the total was 45.5. Heavy rains throughout most of the game turned the field into a muddy mess and both teams combined for seven turnovers. The Panthers took a 23-6 lead early in the fourth. Andrew Luck had a miserable game up to that point with only 40 passing yards and two interceptions. However, the Colts would rally to force overtime thanks to two touchdown passes from Luck. Both teams exchanged field goals in overtime, before another Luck interception in Colts’ territory led to the game winning field goal for the still undefeated Panthers. Indianapolis is 3-5 ATS and the total is 4-4 this season.

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Denver is outscoring teams 24-16 this season. The Broncos are #1 in points allowed. Denver averages 351 yards per game on offense, including 255 passing and 96 rushing yards. The Broncos are #26 in rushing. On defense, Denver is allowing 261 total yards including 172 passing and 89 rushing yards. Denver leads the league in total and pass defense and is #4 in rush defense. The Broncos are 35/102 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 31/94. Denver has forced 29 sacks but allowed 12 sacks this season. Denver is +5 in turnovers. The Broncos have four defensive touchdowns and have allowed three.

Peyton Manning has completed 62.8% of his passes for 1,864 yards with 7 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has been sacked 12 times. Manning has struggled at times due to age and Kubiak’s new offensive system. Because of numerous neck surgeries, Manning simply doesn’t have the arm strength he used to. Manning was, of course, the quarterback for the Colts for many years. He is probable with a shoulder injury.

Running back Ronnie Hillman has 85 carries for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns along with 7 catches. He is probable with a thigh injury. C.J. Anderson has 81 carries for 281 yards and a touchdown, along with 14 catches for 105 yards.

Receiver DeMaryius Thomas has 56 catches for 695 yards and a touchdown. Emmanuel  Sanders has 40 catches for 549 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Owen Daniels has 17 catches for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Bennie Fowler and Jordan Norwood will also get some targets. Norwood is doubtful with a hamstring injury. The Broncos acquired tight end Vernon Davis in a trade with the 49ers this week. He could see some snaps.

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Indianapolis is being outscored 25-22 this season. The Colts are #21 in points allowed and #20 in scoring. Indianapolis averages 352 yards per game on offense including 253 passing and 99 rushing yards per game. The Colts are #24 in rushing. On defense, the Colts allow 405 yards per game including 280 passing and 125 rushing yards. Indianapolis is #27 or worse in all three categories. The Colts are 49/121 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 50/126. Indianapolis has forced 12 sacks and allowed 17 this season. The Colts are -9 in turnovers this season, but the Colts have scored two defensive touchdowns.

Andrew Luck has thrown for 1,629 yards with 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and also has 27 carries for 162 yards. Luck missed two games with a shoulder injury, and it was revealed this week that he is also playing with several broken ribs. He is listed as probable and also has an ankle injury. Forty year old Matt Hasselbeck is the back-up and started against the Jaguars and Texans.  Hasselbeck has thrown for 495 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Running back Frank Gore has 120 carries for 516 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 19 catches for 116 yards. Josh Robinson could also get some carries, but is probable for undisclosed reasons. Another running back Tyler Varga is on injured reserve with a concussion.

Receiver T.Y. Hilton has 38 catches for 621 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is questionable with a foot injury. Donte Moncrief has 36 catches for 399 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tight end Coby Fleener has 29 catches for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns. Andre Johnson has 24 catches for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns. Phillip Dorsett has 11 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown. He is out until Mid-December with an ankle injury. Tight end Dwayne Allen and receiver Griff Whalen will also get some targets. Five defensive players are listed on the injury report.

Denver is 5-1 ATS against teams with losing road records, 4-1 after gaining more than 350 total yards, 13-5 against teams with losing records, 5-2 in road games, and overall, 11-5 after rushing for more than 150 yards, 2-5 after passing for more than 250 yards, 2-7 after a cover and on fieldturf, and 1-5 after allowing less than 15 points. The over is 8-2 in this series including 5-0 in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis is 4-1 ATS in week nine, 12-3-1 against teams with winning records, 4-1 in November, 19-7 after a straight up loss, 22-9-1 at home, 2-5 against AFC teams, and 1-4 on fieldturf. The Colts have covered the last eight games against the Broncos including 5-0 ATS in Indianapolis.

The Colts fired their offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton this week and Rob Chudzinski was named the interim coordinator. Hamilton was simply the fall guy though as the Colts have bigger issues than the punchless offense. Luck has struggled with injury and isn’t close to the same quarterback he has been in the first three years of his career. Denver is simply a better team and I like the Broncos to win in Indianapolis for the first time since 2003.

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