On Sunday Night Football, the final playoff spot will be on the line as the Indianapolis Colts take on the Tennessee Titans. However, if the Houston Texans lose earlier in the day to the Jaguars, then the winner of the Colts and Titans will be playing for the AFC South divisional crown.
No matter what, the loser will be out of the playoffs. A tie in this game would also cause both teams to be eliminated from playoff contention if the Steelers win. With so much playoff madness surrounding this game, it’s going to be exciting television for all football fans. Kickoff inside Nissan Stadium is at 8:20 PM ET.
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The following odds are courtesy of live odds feed:
|Betting Data||Indianapolis Colts||Tennessee Titans|
|Current S/U record||9-6||9-6|
|2018 ATS Home||3-4-1||4-3|
|2018 ATS Away||4-3||4-4|
|2018 O/U Home||4-4||4-3|
|2018 O/U Away||3-4||3-5|
Sunday’s dramatic showdown will be the 49th time these two teams have played against each other. Currently, the Colts hold a 32-16 record against the Titans. Indianapolis has won 12 of the last 14 games including the first encounter this season by a score of 38-10. Indy has gone 5-1 against the Titans on the road.
Indianapolis (9-6) enters this contest having won three straight games including a last-minute comeback over the New York Giants last weekend. The win kept them in the hunt for a playoff spot, which they can make a reality this weekend if they beat the Titans.
Indy has been a surprise team under the guidance of first-year head coach Frank Reich and looks to punctuate their 2018 season with a playoff birth.
Tennessee (9-6) has won four straight games and has become a rushing powerhouse over that stretch. Running back Derrick Henry is finally fulfilling his potential and leading this team with his physical rushing style. The big question mark coming into this game is the health and availability of QB Marcus Mariota who suffered a pinched nerve last weekend against Washington.
Right now, Mariota is questionable and taking things one day at a time. The team is optimistic that he will start on Sunday night.
The NFL betting lines for this game were delayed due to Mariota’s health. Once oddsmakers got an idea of his availability, they set the spread at -3 points in favor of the Colts. The Over/Under was also set at 43.5 total points with most online betting sites.
Let’s get this out of the way right now, if Mariota doesn’t play then the Titans will lose this game. Backup QB Blaine Gabbert is not as talented as Mariota and he’s vastly inferior to his counterpart Colts QB Andrew Luck. If Marcus is out, then the Colts will smash the Titans as they did in the first encounter this year when the Colts won 38 to 10.
For the sake of this betting prediction, we’re going to assume that Mariota plays and go with the -3 spread. If he doesn’t play then I expect this spread to double.
On offense, the Titans are all about running it right down your throat and capitalizing on play action. Over the last 3 games, their rush offense has been impressive. And this is largely due to Derrick Henry’s resurgence.
Over that span, Henry has 492 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns. He singlehandedly beat the Jaguars on Thursday night football and the Giants a week later.
The Colts do have a tough run defense that only gives up 102.2 yards per game. Their problem has been in the passing game, which allows 257 ypg. But, that shouldn’t be a huge concern for them this weekend as the Titans only average 206.7 passing ypg and 19.5 ppg.
Offensively, the Colts don’t have as tough of a rushing attack as the Titans. Indy only averages 104 rushing ypg. Their strength is the passing game and the playmaking abilities of Andrew Luck. Indy’s QB has 4,308 passing yards, 36 TDs and 14 INTs on the season. He’s led this team from the brink of disaster when they were 1-5 on the season.
In the first matchup this year, Luck had 297 passing yards and 3 TDs. Indy finished the 3rd quarter with a lead of 31 to 3 and won the game 38-10.
I don’t see the score being that lopsided, but I do think that Indy will win this game due to Andrew Luck and containing Derrick Henry.
For the NFL bet, I say take the Colts moneyline. I don’t like the -130 odds on the Colts spread of -3. With those odds, you might as well take the Colts moneyline and not have to worry about them covering. I also don’t like the Over/Under because we don’t know if the Titans will score many points without Mariota.
Indy is 8-1 SU in their last 9 games, 12-2 SU against the Titans, 13-3 SU as a favorite, and 4-2 SU after two or more straight wins. The Titans are 10-14 SU as an underdog, 1-5 SU in their last 6 home games against the Colts, and 3-10 ATS after winning two or more straight games.
I believe the Colts are the better team and it starts with the QB. Andrew Luck has returned from a shoulder injury that kept him out all last season, and he’s only gotten better as the season has gone on.
I like the Colts defense to outplay the Titans defense as they will be on the field longer due to either Gabbert starting or a less than 100% Mariota playing all game.
I’m taking the Colts to win this slug fest and go on to the playoffs by defeating the Titans 23-20.
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