Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1 p.m. ET

Texans at Colts Betting Preview: Texans (+7/-108), Colts (-7/-112)

Houston Texans

The heartbreak of the Texans’ loss to the Colts on Dec. 6 extended into last weekend when Houston (4-9) seemed to lack competitive fire in a 36-7 defeat to the Bears. Now comes a rematch against a Colts team they kept out of the end zone in the second half two weeks ago.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 341 yards against the Colts earlier this month and ran for another 38 so he is well aware he can move the ball against Indianapolis. Without his late-game fumble near the goal line, the game could have belonged to Houston.

Watson is second in the NFL with 3,761 yards passing but he has been sacked 39 times, third most in the league. The running game has an abysmal 1,121 yards, fewest in the NFL.

Indianapolis Colts

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is back with four touchdown receptions in his last three games, including two last week against the Raiders and one two weeks ago against the Texans. The veteran did not have a TD over his first 10 games.

Tied atop the AFC South at 9-4 with the Titans, the Colts close with the Titans, Steelers and Jaguars. Only the Steelers’ game is on the road. Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers has multiple scoring passes in each of his last four games and has done it six times in the last eight games.

Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez is the feel-good story of the week after returning to practice two weeks after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. His status for Sunday remains in question.

Texans at Colts Betting Pick for Week 15

Eliminated from playoff contention after their humbling loss to the Bears last week, the Texans can at least use their recent loss to the Colts as motivation. What should be a motivator, though, is reversing their lackluster effort at Chicago when Watson was sacked seven times.

Colts head coach Frank Reich believes his team showed its true identity in last week’s 44-27 victory over the Raiders. Indianapolis has won four of five and figures to have plenty of momentum after collecting 456 yards last week, including 212 on the ground.

Texans at Colts Betting Pick:

Colts 34, Texans 21

Texans at Colts Best Bet for Week 15

Look for Reich to step on the gas in order to see if his Colts team really is hitting its stride with the playoffs approaching and a spot not yet secured. The Texans’ offense figures to be more like it was two weeks ago against the Colts as long as it fixes some of what plagued it in Sunday’s game at Chicago, although getting the running game going would appear to be a tall order.

Texans at Colts Best Bet: OVER 51 total points (-110)

Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada, 4:05 p.m. ET

Colts at Raiders Betting Preview: Colts (-3/-108), Raiders (+3/-112)

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts (8-4) enter the contest tied for first in the AFC South with the Tennessee Titans but because of tiebreakers are second in the division and seventh overall when it comes to the AFC playoff race. That makes their first ever trip to Las Vegas to play the Raiders even more meaningful. The Raiders lead the all-time series 10-8, including 9-7 in the regular season, but the Colts have won five of the last seven meetings.

Indianapolis lost the last contest between the two teams, 31-24, in Week 4 last season at Lucas Oil Stadium but that was with Jacoby Brissett at the helm. Future Hall of Famer Philip Rivers is scheduled to get the nod this time which would be his 29th career start against the Silver and Black. That would break a record for most regular season starts against the Raiders that he shares with John Elway. Rivers already holds the marks for most wins (18), touchdown passes (47) and passing yards (7,103) against the Raiders.

The Colts have won three of their last four games, including a 26-20 victory at Houston last Sunday. Rivers completed 27 of 35 passes (77.1 percent) for 285 yards and two touchdowns in that one while rookie running back Jonathan Taylor had a career-high 135 scrimmage yards, including 91 rushing, and T.Y. Hilton had season highs in catches (eight) and yards (110) as well as a touchdown reception.

Las Vegas Raiders

Thanks to the Miracle in the Meadowlands, the Raiders (7-5) find themselves still in serious playoff contention but currently on the outside looking in as the No. 8 seed. It would have been a whole lot worse if not for Derek Carr hitting Henry Ruggs III with a game-winning 46-yard touchdown pass with five seconds remaining to beat the winless Jets, 31-28, on Sunday. The winning TD against a surprising all-out blitz cost New York defensive coordinator Gregg Williams his job and saved Jon Gruden’s squad an embarrassing loss.

It was the 20th fourth quarter comeback of Carr’s career, an NFL record for most in the first seven seasons. Carr finished the day throwing for 381 yards and three touchdowns and got plenty of help from tight end Darren Waller. Waller had 13 receptions for a career-high 200 yards and two touchdowns to become just the fourth tight end in NFL history to have 200-plus receiving yards and two or more touchdowns in a game.

Defensive end Clelin Ferrell returned after missing a pair of games with COVID-19 and had two sacks and two forced fumbles to go along with six tackles. However, the Raiders’ defense was gashed for 206 yards rushing even though the Jets lost starting running back Frank Gore after two plays with a concussion. Cornerback Trayvon Mullen added a highlight-reel one-handed interception, his second pick in the past three games.

Colts at Raiders Betting Pick for Week 14

Indianapolis has won three road games in a row and will be facing a Las Vegas team that has struggled at home in its first season in sparkling new Allegiant Stadium, winning just twice in five games. They’ll be going against a Raiders defense that is allowing 28.9 points per game which ranks 28th in the league and has struggled defending the pass, allowing an average of 257.1 yards per game.

This is the start of a make-it-or-break-it three-game home stretch for Las Vegas which still must play Miami at home in two weeks and ends the season at Denver. Trying to stop old nemesis Rivers won’t be easy, especially with a secondary that has three key performers in safeties Johnathan Abram (knee) and Jeff Heath (concussion) and cornerback Damon Arnette (concussion) battling injuries.

Colts at Raiders Betting Pick

Colts 35, Raiders 30

Colts at Raiders Best Bet for Week 14

The over is 5-1-1 for the Raiders in their last seven games against a team with a winning record and 6-0-1 in the last seven games when Las Vegas is a home underdog. The over is also 6-2 in the Colts last eight games overall and 8-3 in the last 11 games that Indy has entered as a road favorite.

Colts at Raiders Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-118)

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts Betting Preview

Sunday, November 29, 2020, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis. 1 p.m. ET

Titans at Colts Betting Preview: Titans (+3/-105), Colts (-3/-102)

Tennessee Titans

The Titans (7-3) might have 10 players on injured reserve for this game, so their depth will be tested. The holes that need to be plugged are on offense, defense and special teams.

The defense had trouble at times in the first matchup with the Colts, and now leading tackler Jayon Brown (76 stops) has landed on the injured list with a severe elbow injury. It has been a grueling stretch for the Titans, who needed overtime to win last week at Baltimore.

The good thing for Tennessee might be that they have physical running back Derrick Henry, who can dish out some punishment and is the league’s leading rusher this season with 1,079 yards. But the Titans managed only 294 yards of totals offense against the Colts when they lost 34-17 in the team’s meeting earlier this month.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts (7-3) could take a huge step in the AFC South race if they complete a regular-season sweep of the Titans. Indianapolis won the first meeting just 17 days prior to this second scheduled encounter. The Colts will aim for their second three-game winning streak of the season.

Quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 308 yards in the first matchup with Tennessee. He had running back Nyheim Hines making big plays in that game, as the latter scored two touchdowns. The Colts are 4-1 under coach Frank Reich in his matchups with Titans coach Mike Vrabel.

Titans at Colts Betting Pick for Week 12

The Titans should come in with some confidence after knocking off Baltimore. This is a team that has relied on defense and yet it still needs to get some of that swagger back.

The Colts should be feeling good, too, after following their victory against Tennessee with last week’s comeback triumph against Green Bay. This will be a test if Rivers can put together another solid performance.

Titans at Colts Betting Pick:Colts 30, Titans 27

Titans at Colts Best Bet for Week 12

The Colts have scored at least 31 points in four of their past five games. Much of the tone of this game probably will depend on how the Indianapolis defense fares because the Titans are bound to come in with a better game plan this time.

The Colts looked vulnerable in the first half last week against Green Bay, then locked down for a sterling second half of defense. In eight of the last 11 Titans-Colts games, at least one of the teams has scored 30 points. For the season, Titans’ games have averaged 53.8 points per game.

Titans at Colts Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-110)

Best Betting Picks for NFL Week 11: Doubling Down on the Packers, Chiefs, and Steelers

Happy Thursday football fans and welcome back to another edition of our best picks column. There was an interesting trend that unfolded in Week 10; four teams that finished below .500 last season posted victories. The list includes the Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, and the Miami Dolphins. Not only that, but these teams are a combined 24-12 this season and they’re all in the playoff hunt. This just proves that anything can happen on any given Sunday.

Last week, I predicted wins for the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, and the Green Bay Packers, but hedged my bets by saying the Ravens wouldn’t cover while the Saints and Packers would win big. Although the Saints did win big while losing Drew Brees, the Packers only beat the fiesty Jaguars by four.

As a result, I posted a 2-1 mark to improve to 23-6 on the season. The picks for the upcoming week will be somewhat challenging as there is only one matchup that offers a double-digit point spread. So, without further delay, here’s a look at my best bets for Week 11.

Week 11 NFL Best Bet No. 1: Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts

This is a classic game featuring one of the better offensive teams in the league squaring off against one of the better defensive units in the league. The Packers are ranked third in scoring (30.8 points per outing), sixth in total yards (395.8), and passing yards per game (274.3). Green Bay also falls just outside the top-10 in rushing, averaging 121.4 yards per contest on the ground.

As good as the Packers are from an offensive standpoint, the Colts’ defense is just as formidable. Indy has allowed the second-fewest passing yards per contest (198.7) and they are ranked third in rushing yards allowed per contest (91.8). Along with that, the Colts are the top team in the NFL in yards per play (4.8) and third in rushing yards per attempt (3.5). Talk about a difficult pick.

Despite the Colts’ stout defensive stats, I’m predicting that Rodgers and the Packers will have another good outing in what should be a competitive game.

James’ pick: Packers win by a field goal

Week 11 NFL Best Bet No. 2: Kansas City Chiefs (-7) at Las Vegas Raiders

For those of you who have been following my picks this season, it is no secret that KC is one of the teams that I go with a lot. And I don’t make any apologies for doing so, either. After all, they are the defending champions and they are 8-1.

However, this matchup against the Raiders could be a shot at redemption for the reigning NFL champs; the Raiders handed the Chiefs their only loss – a 40-32 victory back in Week 5.

There are two reasons I’m going with the Chiefs here: First, they are a perfect 4-0 since losing to the Raiders and they have won those games by an averae of 16 points per contest. Second, Andy Reid is 18-3 in his career coming off a bye week. Considering those factors, I’m picking the Chiefs to split the season series in a close one.

James’ pick: Chiefs get revenge but don’t cover the spread

James’ NFL Best Bet of Week 11: Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Remember when I mentioned there was one matchup on this week’s slate of games that featured a double-digit favorite? Well, this is the one. On one side of the coin, we have a Jaguars’ squad that has dropped eight straight games. Sure, they hung tough with the Green Bay Packers but they’re still just 1-8 on the season.

Furthermore, the Steelers are a top-five team in passing yards allowed per contest (211.3) and they are a top-10 squad in rushing yards given up per outing (106.8). On top of that, the Steelers have the third-best scoring defense, giving up just 19 points per contest.

Based on how they played against Green Bay, the Jaguars will make this a competitive affair. In the end, though, the Steelers will prevail and remain the lone unbeaten team in the NFL.

James’ pick: Steelers win AND cover the spread

Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts Betting Preview

Sunday, November 22, 2020, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, 4:25 p.m. ET

Packers at Colts Betting Preview: Packers (+2,5/-105), Colts (-2.5/-115)

Green Bay Packers

Co-owners of the NFC’s best record despite steady injury concerns, the Packers (7-2) may have close to a full complement at their disposal. Receiver Allen Lazard was activated from injured reserve this week following his recovery from recent core-muscle surgery, while fellow receiver Davante Adams is expected to suit up after aggravating a previous ankle injury in the Packers’ 24-20 home win against Jacksonville in Week 10.

The Packers have continued winning despite a shaky defense that is tied for 30th in the NFL with 0.8 turnovers forced per game and 27th in opponent passer rating. The unit could receive a boost, however, as starting cornerback Kevin King is expected back after missing the past five games with a quad injury.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers ranks second in the league with 26 touchdown passes and has thrown just three interceptions while completing 67.8 percent of his throws.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts grabbed the AFC South tiebreaker lead with last week’s 34-17 road victory at Tennessee, and enter Sunday’s meeting with a few extra days of rest after beginning the Week 10 slate on a Thursday.

Indianapolis (6-3) excelled down the stretch against the Titans behind a no-huddle attack piloted by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who was 29-for-39 passing for 308 yards and a touchdown. Rivers again will look to utilize his check-downs when needed.

Running back Nyheim Hines leads the Colts with 33 receptions as the team tries to generate a more consistent running attack. After suffering their first home loss of the season against Baltimore in Week 9, the Colts will look to keep winning behind a top-ranked defense led by linebacker Darius Leonard.

Packers at Colts Betting Pick for Week 11

The Colts seem to fare as Rivers does. He has 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in the team’s six victories, but just one TD against five interceptions in the three losses.

If the Packers’ jelling pass rush and improving secondary can bait Rivers into a pick or two, that could be the difference in what shapes up as a shootout in Indy.

Packers at Colts Betting Pick: Packers 34, Colts 28

Packers at Colts Best Bet for Week 11

Rodgers with a (mostly) full stable of playmakers for a game played indoors? That figures to favor the Packers despite the hefty ranking of the Indy ‘D.’

Look for the teams to trade their share of points, yards and gutsy play-calls. Coaches Frank Reich of Indianapolis and Matt LaFleur of Green Bay both aren’t shy about going for it on fourth down.

Packers at Colts Best Bet: OVER 51 total points (-115)