NFL Betting Week #16: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Sunday, December 21, 2014, 4:25 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Dallas -3
Current Line: Dallas -3 1/2
Opening Total: 55 1/2
Current Total: 55
Opening Money Line: Cowboys -160 / Colts +135
Current Money Line: Cowboys -180 / Colts +155

Dallas can clinch the NFC East with a win Sunday against Indianapolis.
Dallas can clinch the NFC East with a win Sunday against Indianapolis.

The 10-4 Dallas Cowboys were given an early Christmas present by the hated rival Washington Redskins. The Redskins upset the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday. The Cowboys will clinch the NFC East Division title with a win Sunday at home over the 10-4 Indianapolis Colts. However, while Dallas is 7-0 on the road, the Cowboys are only 3-4 at home. Dallas will also clinch at least the #3 seed in the NFC playoffs with a win. Indianapolis clinched the AFC South title last week. The Colts will likely be either the #3 or #4 seed in the AFC playoffs.

Dallas leads the series 9-5 all time against Indianapolis, including 5-2 at home. The Cowboys have won 2 of the last 3 games since 2001 against the Colts including 2 straight. Dallas won 38-35 in Indianapolis in 2010.

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 Indianapolis is coached by Chuck Pagano. The Colts have road losses at the Denver Broncos 31-24 and Pittsburgh Steelers 51-34, along with home losses to the Eagles 30-27 and the New England Patriots 42-20. Indianapolis has  road wins at the Jacksonville Jaguars 44-17, Houston Texans 33-28, and New York Giants 40-24 and Cleveland Browns 25-24, along with home wins over the Tennessee Titans 41-17, Baltimore Ravens 20-13, Cincinnati Bengals 27-0, Jaguars 23-3 Redskins 49-27 and Texans 17-10 last week. Indianapolis has won four straight games. The Colts are 9-4-1 ATS and the total is 9-5 this season. Indianapolis was a 7 point favorite against Houston and the total was 49.

Dallas is coached by Jason Garrett. The Cowboys lost at home to the San Francisco 49ers 28-17, Washington Redskins 20-17 in overtime, Arizona Cardinals 28-17 and Eagles 33-10. The Cowboys have road wins at the Titans 26-10, St. Louis Rams 34-31, Seattle Seahawks 30-23, New York Giants 31-28, Chicago Bears 41-28, and Eagles 38-27 last week plus home wins over the New Orleans Saints 38-17, Houston Texans 20-17 in overtime, and against the Giants 31-21. Dallas has won 4 of their last 5 games including 2 straight. Dallas is 8-6 ATS and the total is 8-5-1 this season. The Cowboys were 3.5 point underdogs against the Eages  and the total was 54.5.

Indianapolis is outscoring teams 30-23 this season. The Colts are #3 in scoring and #17 in points allowed. Indianapolis is averaging 421 yards per game on offense including 311 passing 111 rushing yards. The Colts are #3 in total offense and #1 in passing. On defense, Indianapolis is allowing 351 yards per game including 241 passing and 110 rushing yards. The Colts are 84/199 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 61/189. Indianapolis has forced 36 sacks and allowed 26 this season. The Colts are -4 in turnovers. Indianapolis has 2 defensive touchdowns and has allowed 5 this season.

Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck has completed 61.4% of his passes for 4,492 yards with 38 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, along with 63 carries for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Trent Richardson has 151 carries for 507 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 24 catches for 212 yards. 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 61 carries for 313 yards and a touchdown, along with 15 catches for 105 yards.

Receiver T.Y. Hilton has 82 catches for 1,345 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is questionable with a hamstring injury.  Reggie Wayne has 59 catches for 665 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Coby Fleener has 42 catches for 682 yards and 6 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 7 offensive linemen and 7 defensive players.

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Dallas is outscoring teams 26-23 this season. The Cowboys are #7 in scoring and #19 in points allowed. Dallas is averaging 378 yards per game on offense including 231 passing and 147 rushing yards per game. The Cowboys are #9 in total offense and #3 in rushing. Dallas is allowing 360 yards per game including 250 passing and 110 rushing yards per game. The Cowboys are #22 in total defense and #23 in pass defense. Dallas is 89/183 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 90/196. Dallas has 23 sacks and has allowed 29 this season. The Cowboys are +1 in turnovers. Dallas has two defensive touchdowns and has allowed three this season.

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is battling small fractures in his back after undergoing offseason back surgery and also a fractured rib. He has played the last 5 games after missing the Arizona game. Romo has completed 69.3% of his passes for 3,188 yards with 28 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, plus 33 rushing yards. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions in four straight road games.

Running back DeMarco Murray is putting up some MVP like numbers and has 351 carries for 1,687 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 54 catches for 395 yards. He leads the league in rushing, but has had some fumbling issues. Murray suffered a broken hand late in the win against the Eagles last week. He underwent surgery to repair the break on his left hand. He is a game time decision, but since he carries the ball with his right hand he could play Sunday.  Joseph Randle has 34 carries for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lance Dunbar could also get some carries. He has 91 rushing yards and 16 catches for 207 yards.

Receiver Dez Bryant has 79 catches for  1,148 yards and 13 touchdowns. Terrance Williams has 32 catches for 501 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tight end Jason Witten has 53 catches for 564 yards and 4 touchdowns. Cole Beasley has 29 catches for 334 yards and 3 touchdowns. Gavin Escobar only has 9 catches but 4 touchdowns. Nine defensive players are listed on the injury report.

Indianapolis is 4-0 ATS in week 16, 6-1-1 on fieldturf, 19-6-1 in December, 15-5-1 after failing to cover, 8-3-1 overall, 34-16-2 after allowing less than 15 points, 1-3-1 after a straight up win, and 0-3-1 against teams with winning records.

Dallas is 4-0 ATS after gaining more than 350 total yards, 1-4 after scoring 30 points or more, and at home, 0-4 in week 16 and on fieldturf.

This is an important game for both teams, but even more so for the Cowboys. The past three seasons, Dallas has entered week 17 games with a chance to win the NFC East and lost each game to a different division rival. The Cowboys can clinch the division and not have to worry about that hanging over their heads heading into next week’s game against the Redskins. This game against the Colts has traditionally been a game the Cowboys have lost, but I really do think Dallas is mentally tougher than they have been in recent years. Dallas never makes it easy and I think they pull out a close win in a shootout.

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