Oddsmakers anticipate tight battle for AFC South supremacy Sunday in Indianapolis

By Joe Rodgers, BetIndiana News

First place in the AFC South is on the line in Sunday’s Texans-Colts game from Lucas Oil Stadium (1 p.m. ET/Noon CT, CBS), and based on the point spread, we are in for a tight division affair.

The Colts are consensus 1-point favorites in early betting action. When factoring 3 points for home-field advantage, the spread suggests the Texans (4-2 straight up and against the spread) would be favored at a neutral site, but Indianapolis (3-2 SU, 3-1-1 ATS) has owned the series both SU and ATS of late.

Since 2011, the Colts are 11-6 SU and 11-5-1 ATS against the Texans, including winning and covering four of the past five meetings. Last season, the Colts avenged a Week 4 home loss by beating Houston on the road as underdogs in Week 14, and more importantly, again in the wild-card playoff game on Jan. 5.

In that 21-7 wild-card win as 1-point away underdogs, the Colts, behind 148 rushing yards by Marlon Mack, outgained the Texans 422-322 and held Houston running backs to under 30 yards.

While revenge is a popular handicapping angle, divisional teams attempting to avenge two straight losses are covering just 51.7% since 2015, a losing bet when factoring in the vigorish

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A big factor in the Colts’ recent success against the Texans, of course, is no longer in Indianapolis, and in Games of the Year lines offered for wagering before Andrew Luck’s retirement, the Colts were 4-point favorites for this Week 7 contest.

Through six weeks of the season, the Colts and Texans have three common opponents. Last Sunday, the Texans won 31-24 in Kansas City, where the Colts, as 11-point underdogs, beat the Chiefs in Week 5 in the biggest upset of the 2019 season.

Both teams also won and covered as home favorites against the Falcons. The only differing result was against the Chargers. Indy pushed a 6-point spread in an overtime loss in Week 1, while the Texans won outright as 3-point road dogs in Week 3.

While Jacoby Brissett has filled in efficiently for Luck, Texans QB Deshaun Watson has entered the MVP conversation, priced at 5/1 odds following the win over the Chiefs. Over the past two weeks, Watson has thrown for 706 yards and six touchdowns, tacking on 89 yards and two more scores on the ground, and compiling a QBR of 91.7, despite five dropped passes by his receivers.

While those statistics have come against the woeful defenses of the Falcons and Chiefs, the Colts haven’t been much better statistically, ranking 26th in Football Outsider’s DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) in total defense. Indianapolis, however, held the powerful Kansas City offense to 324 yards and 13 points last time out and is expected to get back All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard.

Colts safety Clayton Geathers, Mack and T.Y. Hilton have also used the bye week to heal from injuries that caused questionable tags for Week 5. Despite being a game-time decision against the Chiefs, Mack (ankle) had 29 carries for 132 yards and caught three passes for 16 yards. He played 67% of snaps, which should increase on Sunday. Hilton (hip) caught 4-of-5 targets for 37 yards with the Colts going run-heavy to hold onto the lead.

Brissett’s 5.2 yards per attempt should also increase against a Texans defense mediocre against the pass (15th in DVOA) that allowed 80 yards and two TDs to Tyreek Hill on Sunday and just lost starting cornerback Bradley Roby to a hamstring injury.

Brissett has started three games against the Texans in his career, one with the Patriots. In 2017 as a member of the Colts,

Brissett was 2-0 SU and ATS vs. the Texans, throwing for a combined 422 yards, three TDs and one interception.

Sunday’s total is 48, and based on the Colts’ run-first approach and the return of Leonard, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the game finish UNDER. With an UNDER in Week 2 against the Titans, the Colts became the best UNDER bet in divisional games since 2011, with that bet cashing at a 33-17 rate in those spots.

Texans at Colts betting trends
- The Colts are 27-8 SU and 20-13-2 ATS all-time against the Texans.
- The Texans are 7-15 ATS in their last 22 games as an underdog of 3 points or fewer.
- UNDER is 14-7 in games between the Colts and Texans since 2009.
- UNDER is 74-51-2 in games where divisional teams are attempting to avenge at least two straight losses.

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Posted on 2019 Oct 15