- Evan Abrams, Betting
Talk about a changing of the guard in the AFC South. Before the season started, the Houston Texans were listed as a six-point home favorite over the Indianapolis Colts on the Las Vegas Hotel's game of the year list. Now, the Colts are laying between 1.5 and 2.5 points on the road against Case Keenum and the Texans on "Sunday Night Football," which is approximately an eight-point swing toward the Colts.
Since the Texans franchise entered the NFL in 2002, the Colts have dominated their meetings, going 18-4 straight up (SU) but just 10-12 against the spread (ATS) overall, and with a 7-4 SU (3-8 ATS) record on the road in Houston. If you look more recently, the Colts have dropped their past three meetings in Houston both SU and ATS by a combined 49 points.
Since Andrew Luck took over the starting quarterback job last season in Indianapolis for Peyton Manning, after they went 2-14 with Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins, the Colts are 16-8 SU and 15-9 ATS in 23 regular-season games and one playoff loss. Luck has played in only three prime-time games in his short NFL career, going 2-1 SU and ATS against the Jaguars, Chargers and most recently the Broncos.
One of the biggest storylines of this season so far is the Texans' struggles. Houston is 1-6 ATS in 2013, and the Texans are 4-12 ATS in their past 16 games, including their two playoff games last season, when they went 1-1 ATS.
The Texans have been a home underdog just six times since the beginning of the 2010 regular season, and Houston is 2-4 SU and 2-3-1 ATS in those contests. One of the most positive aspects for the Texans for the past season and a half has to be defensive star J.J. Watt. Only two players in that time frame have more total pressures on opposing QBs than Watt does (109); those two players are Geno Atkins (110) and Charles Johnson (112).
Indianapolis' offensive line in 2012 allowed the most total pressure on their QB (244 instances), with the most hurries (162) and the most hits allowed (56); but in 2013, the Colts are 11th in total pressure, 14th in hurries and third in hits allowed.
According to ESPN Insider's PickCenter, the public is currently on the Colts at minus-1 at an 87 percent clip, which is a huge margin for any game. Using the numbers between NumberFire and TeamRankings, the score of this matchup is sitting at an average of 23.6 for Indianapolis and 20.2 for the Texans.
Let's get some analysis of the line from Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hotel and an ATS pick on the game from four wiseguys.
Matchup: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Spread: Opened Houston minus-2; now Indianapolis minus-2
Total: Opened 44.5; now 44.5
3hEric D. Williams