NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Not That Tough
by Dennis Ranahan

The New England Patriots are double-digit favorites tonight when they host Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. I had a client call me this morning and say, “I like the Colts with those points.”

You can’t blame him.

Double-digit favorites in the NFL have to be a bad bet.

Right?

Can be, but not always.

First of all, those that say they would never lay double-digits in the NFL are going to miss some really good plays. And, the idea that double-digit underdogs are always the way to go is to miss the real target … beat the point spread.

So, let's begin a look at tonight’s game with some basic facts. In the past 20 years in the NFL there have been 217 games where the home team team was favored by 10 to 11 points. Know how they did?

Straight-up, these heavy favorites are 179 and 38 … a winning average of .825. But, more importantly, how have they done against the spread?

These same teams favored by 10 to 11 points are 103-108-6 against the spread. Less than 50%, but not enough on either the favorite or underdog side to make them profitable on their own when a 10% vig is factored into the equation.

So, take the double-digits or lay the double-digits, but don’t base that opinion on the point spread alone. The fact that a team is getting or giving 10 to 11 points shouldn’t affect how one wagers on the game.

So, without a fear of the point spread, what do we have in front of us tonight?

First, you can cancel the flowers and rest home for the Patriots, they proved their grit last week when faced with the prospect of falling three games back of the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East Division race. New England avoided a 1-3 start, and allowing the Dolphins to move to 4-0, with a 38-7 statement win.

Now, do the Patriots fall back to the team that lost back-to-back games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions, or continue on the assent they began last week versus the Dolphins?

Tonight, they host an Indianapolis team that has Luck but are without one of his primary weapons, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who is sidelined with an injured hamstring. Indianapolis is also coming off a hardfought overtime loss to the Houston Texans and working on a short week with a road game on Thursday night.

Contrast the tough situation facing the Colts to the benefits the Patriots are looking to reap when Tom Brady adds Julian Edelman to his arsenal. Edelman missed last year with an injury and was suspended the first four games this season when some of the supplements he was taking in his rehab were banned by the league. The Patriots will also have Rob Gronkowski available, he was a game day decision with an ankle issue and has now been cleared to play.

See, once you get by the big spread, which in this case seems to be nothing more than a way to get people to bet on the wrong side, this game isn’t tough at all.

Qoxhi Picks: New England Patriots (-10½) over Indianapolis Colts