Sunday football, week 18 - Colts @ Jaguars
Time: 1:00 PM ET, Jan. 9, 2022
Location: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
Current Line: IND -15.5 Total: 44.5
Here’s the difference though. Jacksonville is dead last in the NFL in turnover margin at -27. The Jags have thrown 17 picks and fumbled the ball away 12 times. Guess who is tied for first in the league in turnover margin? Yep, that would the Colts and an extra possession will be the difference in Sunday’s game. That is why we’ll back Indy laying 15.5 points.
The Indianapolis Colts have gone 6-2 over the last eight games of the season and are in position to earn a playoff berth win a season-ending win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags are just 2-14 and can secure the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL draft with a loss on Sunday. Jacksonville has lost its last eight games in a row and has absolutely zero incentive heading into Sunday. The Colts, on the other hand, have a lot to play for.
With news of the Colts needing a win in the final week of the regular season, the line on Sunday’s game jumped from 8.5 to its current 15.5. Double-digit spreads will scare many bettors, but against Jacksonville they have become common. Last week, the Jaguars were 17-point underdogs to the New England Patriots. Jacksonville lost by 40, 50-10.
The Jags were double-digit underdogs against the Rams and lost 37-7. Now, Jacksonville was a 10.5-point underdog in the first meeting with the Colts this season. Indianapolis would win but by a score of 23-17 giving the Jags the cover.
Jacksonville hasn’t had much success against the number this season. Overall, the Jags are 4-12 ATS and 2-6 ATS at home. In their last seven games, Jacksonville is 0-7 ATS. What is extremely surprising is that Indianapolis has had trouble covering against Jacksonville for the past several years. In the last 13 games between these two teams, the Colts are just 1-11-1 ATS.
Indy has been winning games with its running game and its defense. Jonathan Taylor is the NFL’s leading rusher he finished last week with another 100-yard game. QB Carson Wentz has only averaged 168.6 passing yards over the last seven games. He really hasn’t been needed though. In those seven games, the Colts gave up more than 17 points just twice and rushed for over 200 yards in three of those games.
The Colts have covered in three of their last four games, including one (Houston) as a double-digit favorite. Despite the large point spread there is still value on the Colts. Here’s why.
If we go back to 2003 and look at games late in the season in December and January we find a trend. When we look at “good” teams with a winning percentage between 51 and 67 percent who played “bad” teams or those with a winning percentage of 0 to 33 percent; we find the good teams have done remarkably well against the spread.
In such games, the good teams have gone 102-80-3 ATS. We can break it down even further if we take just the final week of the season. We can go even a little deeper and make if the final week of the season with a good team needing a win over a bad team to secure a playoff berth. That has happened enough to give us this: Good teams are 28-19-1 ATS when facing a bad team in a season finale where the good team must win to make the playoffs. For good measure, the so-called good teams have outperformed the spread by a margin of 2.7 points.
Remember, Jacksonville is 2-14. The Jags fired their head coach and they haven’t won a game since Nov. 7. How they beat the Buffalo Bills that day is still anyone’s guess, but since then Jacksonville has lost eight straight and don’t forget the Jags are 0-7 ATS in their last seven games. In those seven games, Jacksonville has lost them by an average scoring margin of 19.4 points.
Ironically, the Jags last win against the spread was against the Colts back in November. And then there is the Colts run-heavy offense. It isn’t exactly built to roll up tons of points. Here’s the difference though. Jacksonville is dead last in the NFL in turnover margin at -27. The Jags have thrown 17 picks and fumbled the ball away 12 times. Guess who is tied for first in the league in turnover margin? Yep, that would the Colts and an extra possession will be the difference in Sunday’s game. That is why we’ll back Indy laying 15.5 points.
Watch the games for free? Sign up with Paramount+ and TRY IT FOR FREE, CLICK HERE!
SUNDAY, JANUARY 9
Steelers @ Ravens
Titans @ Texans
Colts @ Jaguars
Patriots @ Dolphins
Panthers @ Buccaneers
Jets @ Bills
Full schedule for week 18 here can be found here!