Las Vegas sports books aren't in the habit of giving away money.
And, when the Colts, one of the league's top five teams, are just 2.5-point favorites over the Texans, who are 2-5 with two semi-miraculous wins and Case Keenum at quarterback, Vegas understands everyone is going to bet Indianapolis. It's less than a field goal! What a gift!
And, in fact, as of Friday morning, ScoresandOdds.com said 86 percent of bets are coming in on the Colts. And why not?
Indianapolis seems poised to win this game and put the Texans away for good. Houston looked good against Kansas City two weeks ago in Keenum's first start, but there's still not a ton to like about this Texans team. So what does Vegas know that we don't? That the Texans aren't going to happily fade away this season without a battle? There has to be something.
I'm falling into the trap and taking the Colts, because by any measure they're the far better team (Football Outsiders' DVOA metric ranks the Colts third in the NFL this week, and the Texans 29th, which seems about right). Playing at Houston doesn't change that. This Indianapolis team won by 20 at San Francisco already, so it can play well on the road. Then when the Texans somehow cover, I'll tip my hat to Vegas for knowing more than everyone else.
Here are the rest of this week's picks:
Dolphins (+3) over Bengals (Thursday): Forgot to post it on Twitter, trick or treating and all, but I liked the home dog on a short week.
Chiefs (-3) over Bills and anyone else: I'm not picking Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn to beat any team, much less a very good 8-0 Chiefs squad. Lewis gives Buffalo a chance to cover, but he's still questionable to play because of a rib injury. If Lewis starts, I lean Buffalo. If it's one of the other two, it'll be real ugly.
Cowboys (-10) over Vikings: Looks like it might be Josh Freeman at quarterback again for the Vikings. So if you're in a 20-yard radius of his intended receiver, take cover.
Titans (-3) over Rams: Monday had to be a disheartening loss for the Rams, and they're not going to score any easier on Tennessee's defense.
Jets (+6) over Saints: There's no way the Jets are as bad as they looked last week at Cincinnati. Defensively, they'll figure out some ways to keep the Saints from going nuts.
Chargers (-1) over Redskins: Again, Vegas knows better than anyone, but still, explain this line to me again? I'll fall into another trap here, and take the clearly superior team.
Falcons (+7.5) over Panthers: I think the Panthers win but the Falcons cover, which means I'm picking Carolina to win a close game, something they've proven time and again they absolutely can't do. And you wonder why my record this season is so bad.
Raiders (-2.5) over Eagles: I can't think of one good reason to pick the Eagles on the road right now. Or at home, for that matter.
Buccaneers (+16.5) over Seahawks: Tough to pick a team that has already quit on its coach, but did you see Seattle's offense on Monday night?
Browns (+2.5) over Ravens: The over/under for this one is 41, a total these two offenses might not reach if they played a doubleheader on Sunday.
Steelers (+6.5) over Patriots: Since Tom Brady's not going to take off on any 93-yard quarterback runs, the Steelers might have a shot.
Bears (+10.5) over Packers: Josh McCown had a bye week to settle in, and Chicago will give Green Bay a strong run on Monday night.
Last week: 3-10
Season to date: 43-77-2
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