WILL Andrew Luck play? That’s the big question surrounding this game, but the Colts have won their last two games without their star quarterback.
The 3-2 Colts host the unbeaten 4-0 Patriots and so far in the betting, all of the money has come for the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Patriots opened as -7.5 favourites, keeping in mind the status of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is still up in the air, but it has since blown out to -10.0.
If Luck doesn’t play, expect that line to continue to drift, but if he does the line should come back down a few notches. It’s a tough situation for bettors, but we’ll do our best to decipher which team has the best chance of winning despite the quarterback issues.
Colts vs. Patriots odds and market moves
Colts +330 (+10 at Bovada)
Patriots -410 (-10)
Once upon a time, bettors would have dreamed of getting the Colts at home paying +330. It simply doesn’t happen in the Manning/Luck era, but the Colts have been far from convincing this season and the status of Luck is a big worry for bettors.
Getting 10 points at home will please Colts backers regardless of which quarterback comes out to play. The Colts were facing a 0-2 hole with Luck at the helm, but their back-up has proved his worth and the Colts have won their last two.
Punters on the New England side of the coin could have got them at -7 earlier in the week, but the line has since shifted out. That’s mostly due to the large amount of money being bet on the Patriots to stay unbeaten, and it has directly affected the points spread market.
The most popular option will be bettors putting the Patriots in their NFL parlays and at -410, that’s about all the price is good for.
The Patriots will focus heavily on quarterback and leader Tom Brady, who has thrown 116-160 for 1387 yards and 11 touchdowns.
His best receiver has been Julian Edelman. The smaller-framed receiver has caught 34 balls from Brady for 399 yards and three touchdowns.
With the threat of both Edelman and Gronkowski, it’s tough to see the Patriots not putting big points up on the very average Colts secondary.
The Colts will look towards the rejuvenated Frank Gore to provide a tough running game. The former San Francisco 49’er has run for 325 yards and three touchdowns. His hands have let the Colts down on a couple of occasions, but he’s only getting better as the season progresses.
There isn’t much value betting the Patriots in the head-to-head market, unless you feature the -410 in a parlay. The value in the Patriots -10 has been tarnished by the market movement somewhat, so we’re prepared to risk a play with the Colts.
The Colts have covered only one spread this season, which is a concern, but now that they’re underdogs, covering lines will be much easier.
Colts vs. Patriots stats and injury update
Indianapolis Colts last five games:
Bills 27 – Colts 14
Colts 7 – Jets 20
Titans 33 – Colts 35
Colts 16 – Jaguars 13
Texans 20 – Colts 27
After dropping their first two games in embarrassing fashion, the Colts with primarily Matt Hasselbeck at the quarterback position have rallied and got their team in a winning position at 3-2.
Granted, their last three wins have all come against average opposition, they have been doing the simple things right and the bodes well ahead of Sunday’s game.
The Colts have averaged only 19.8 points per game and they are giving up 22.6 points per game. Despite having Frank Gore in the side, the Colts have averaged only 92 yards on the ground.
In terms of passing yards allowed, the Colts don’t fair too poorly in this statistic. They give up 293.2 yards per game and the Patriots are averaging 346.9 through the air. If the Colts can limit Brady to short passes, that will frustrate their high-powered offence.
Colts injury report:
Andrew Luck (quarterback) – questionable to play
Jerrell Freeman (linebacker) – questionable to play
Tyler Varga (running back) – injury reserve
Matt Hasselbeck (quarterback) – probable
New England Patriots last five games:
Patriots 28 – Steelers 21
Bills 32 – Patriots 40
Patriots 51 – Jaguars 17
Cowboys 6 – Patriots 30
It hasn’t exactly been tough going for the Patriots so far. The only game they really came under threat was in Week 2 where they faced a tough Bills side.
The seven-point win against the Steelers in the opening round was closer than it looked as the Steelers scored very late in the game. All other wins have been blowouts and bookmakers are predicting something similar here.
They have averaged 37.2 points per game and only given up an average of 19. A whopping 439.2 yards has been achieved through the air, thanks to that Tom Brady arm, and they are matching the Colts with 92.5 yards on the ground.
For the Colts to be successful, it’s about stopping the crossing route of the Patriots and forcing Brady to make unusual throws
Patriots injury report:
Dion Lewis (running back) – questionable to play
Dont’a Hightower (linebacker) – questionable to play
Nate Solder (offensive tackle) – out
Brandon LaFell (wide receiver) – out
Aaron Dobson (wide receiver) – day-to-day
Colts not giving away status of Luck
Bettors have no idea what to think about Andrew Luck’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Patriots, but Luck believes he’s heading in the right direction.
“Certainly took the next step,” Luck said during Wednesday’s practice. “Did more and more, and felt better and better.
“I’m getting better every day, and pretty darn close to where I want to be.
“Throwing better, moving faster, doing everything better and with less restriction.”
The nature of his shoulder injury has yet to be advised. There is speculation of whether it’s a shoulder separation, muscle damage or if he has any additional injuries.
Luck had never missed an NFL game prior to suffering the shoulder injury in the Week 3 game against the Tennessee Titans. Luck will have missed three weeks come kickoff on Sunday night.
“He looked good, throws were good, good command as usual,” said Colts coach Chuck Pagano.
“Again, he’s heading in the right direction. I know I sound like a broken record.”
Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck isn’t giving anything away, stating that he expects Luck to play on Sunday.
“My guess is that Andrew [Luck] starts this week,” Hasselbeck said. “I soft of felt that last week but I really feel that this week. But I don’t know and it’s outside of my control.”
Luck practiced on Wednesday, but was “limited” in his action. Hasselbeck didn’t think he was limited in his practice however.
“I’m not an expert, but I think he was a full go today,” Hasselbeck said. “I really wasn’t evaluating him so much, but yeah, he had great throws out there.”
Luck said if he wasn’t 100 percent ready, the organisation won’t let him play.
“I know for a fact the higher-ups in this building are not going to put anybody out there that’s not ready to play at a productive level in the NFL,” Luck said.
“It’s the defending Super Bowl champs, they’re a [4-0] team, we’re 3-2, trying to get a win.
“AFC conference game, at home, on Sunday night, certainly there’s some excitement. But I think the right level of excitement.”