Indianapolis @ New England
Vegas: NE -10
DomModel: NE -4.863
Recommendation: IND +10
-RB Marlon Mack (hamstring) was INACTIVE weeks 1 and 2, played partially in week 3, ad was INACTIVE in week 4. He is OUT for TNF week 5.
-LT Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) was INACTIVE week 1, 2, 3, and 4. He is officially QUESTIONABLE week 4.
-TE Jack Doyle (hip) was INACTIVE weeks 3 and 4. He has been ruled OUT for week 5.
-CB Quincy Wilson (concussion) was INACTIVE week 3 and 4, and has been ruled OUT for week 5.
-CB Kenny Moore suffered a concussion during his week 4 game and is OUT for week 5.
-RT Joe Haeg injured his ankle during his week 3 game. and has been placed on IR.
-WR TY Hilton (hamstring) is OUT for week 5.
-RT Denzelle Good is OUT for week 5 for personal reasons.
New England Patriots:
-RB Rex Burkhead hurt his neck during his week 3 game and did not return. He was dealing with concussion issues earlier in the year. He has been placed on IR.
-WR Julian Edelman is returning back from suspension week 5. He will play.
-WR Josh Gordon (hamstring) was INACTIVE week 3 but played on a limited basis week 4.
-CB Eric Rowe was INACTIVE weeks 3 and 4.
-LB Ja’Whaun Bentle was placed on IR.
-TE Rob Gronkowski left his week 4 game with an ankle injury. The Patriots were up 31-0, so it’s not a surprise he didn’t return. He will play week 5.
***Line shop reminder: we were able to find this line at 10.5. We’re calling it a 10 point spread since that’s the vegas consensus when we made the decision, but always shop around if you can.
Ok, quick detour before we begin. This is a controversial bet because the entire Indy team is dead. First and foremost, no, the model is not taking into account any of the injuries. Nope, it doesn’t care that Julian Edelman is back. So why recommend it?
For starters, the model calls for a massive edge. The question becomes this: are the injuries enough to evaporate our edge? We think our edge is smaller than the model is telling us, but it’s still there.
Let’s break down the injuries: I don’t really care about Mack since he’s hardly played at all this season, save for a handful of snaps week 3. Though it’s noteworthy that tackles Joe Haeg and Denzelle Good are out, I think there’s a chance stud LT Anthony Castonzo returns for the first time this year. Haeg and Good aren’t exactly all pro tackles anyway, so is it that big of a deal if they are replaced? The biggest deal for me is purely narrative: when betting the Colts, I always prefer to have Good and Luck in the game together.
Whatever, I don’t need luck. I’m Liam Neeson in this bitch. I’m Taken this one down.
In the end, the biggest injuries that I’m worried about are TY Hilton and CBs Kenny Moore/Quincy Wilson. There will definitely be a noticeable drop off at some key positions. I just don’t think it’s enough to overcome the value that the model identified.
The clincher for us to recommend this bet, however, came from Dom and his analysis on the moneyline. I’ll let him explain here:
“Part of my compulsion to take the points on this game stems from the disparity between where the spread stands and where the spread ought to stand based on the consensus moneyline. A 10 point spread should correlate to moneyline odds of approximately -700/+500. As of this writing, the consensus moneyline stood at -550/+425; this has moved somewhat from the -500/+400 early this morning. Both of these fall short of corresponding to a 10 point spread, instead corresponding to spreads of 9.5 and 8.5, respectively. Based on this morning’s moneyline, win probability for this game hovers around an 80/20 split. The spread tells a different story, closer to 75/25.
It‘s important to note here the variation in moneyline prices between line originators. British oddsmaker William Hill continues to post -500/400, though most offshore books have shifted.
Moneylines and point spreads should exhibit “gravity,” pulling each towards the other. The truth may lie somewhere in between. Combined with the model showing a strong preference towards the Indianapolis bet, I prefer to wager with the points.”
So there you have it, some insight into how we come about making these decisions on whether or not to recommend bets. Let’s move onto the breakdown.
When Indianapolis has the ball:
This offense has struggled this year. Andrew Luck appears to still be getting over shoulder issues, as he’s opted for more dink and dunk options and less deep passing than years past. Naturally, his shoulder will get better with each passing (pun intended) week, and he balled out last week against Houston (40/62, 64.5%, 464 yards, 4 TDs, 0 picks). The offensive line hasn’t done much to protect him – they’ve allowed the 4th most total pressures in the league. I’m slightly hopeful LT Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) can return. He started practicing last week and has been limited this week.
Chester Rodgers and Ryan Grant will remain primary receivers, while Zach Pascal will step in for TY Hilton. Pascal played well last week — he caught 6 balls on 10 targets for 56 yards and a touchdown. A 2nd year undrafted with little NFL experience, we shouldn’t expect much out of Pascal, but that was at least promising.
New England defense:
After getting back key DE Trey Flowers and versatile safety Pat Chung, the Pats defense stepped up last game and completely shut down Miami. Overall, however, they’ve been an inconsistent overall defense while positing mediocre numbers against the run and the pass. This is in line with what we’ve seen from the Patriots defense in years past, and we should expect it to continue.
When New England has the ball:
By his own standards, Brady has had a rough start to the year. Likely frustrated by lack of receiving options and Gronk double-teams (not that kind of double-team, Rob), he’s put up pedestrian numbers no matter which way you look at them. The big boost for this game comes from long time Brady man-crush/slot receiver Julian Edelman. Edelman should be a welcome addition to a Patriots offense that has struggled when targeting receivers. Somehow, the Patriots receiving core makes up only 42.1% of Brady targets.
On the ground, the Patriots are without Rex Burhead and Jeremy Hill, and are therefore all in on rookie RB Sony Michel. He broke out a bit last game after rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown. Naturally, the jury is still out on Michel.
The Colts defense has played better than most realize thus far. They’ve played well against the run (3.9 ypc opponent average) and excel in limiting yards after the catch. They have struggled in coverage, which doesn’t bode well with two corners out. The positive way of looking at this is.. well, they’ve been garbage in coverage with these guys, they’ll continue to be garbage without them.
TL:DR Conclusion: The Colts are 4-0 going into the 4th quarter this year, suggesting they are better than their 1-3 record indicates. In the end, we expect the Patriots to win, and I think they’ll have success throwing the ball, but we’re taking the points for the reasons stated above.
Now, have a beer (or 10) and enjoy Thursday Night football, bitches.