A play-in game could be boiled down to something as elemental as the respective health of the two quarterbacks – plus the Indianapolis Colts also have a strong track record as a road underdog.
With an AFC playoff berth at stake, the Andrew Luck-led Colts are 3-point road favorites on the Week 17 NFL odds against the Tennessee Titans with a 43.5-point total for Sunday night at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Led by a reinvigorated Luck, the Colts will try to tap into a long-term trend of being 12-2 straight-up and 11-3 against the spread in their last 14 games against the Titans, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The Titans are hopeful that quarterback Marcus Mariota, who suffered a “stinger” on the right side of his body in their Week 16 game on December 22, will try to play in a do-or-done game.
The Colts, who are 9-6 SU and 7-7-1 ATS this season, are laying points since they put up 38 points against Tennessee in the AFC South rivals’ first matchup of the season. It may not feel as easy this time around, but the Colts do an excellent job of keeping Luck upright and should give him a chance to make some plays downfield against Tennessee’s pass defense, which is the fifth-stingiest in yards-per-pass
Luck will have to rely on other weapons, as No. 1 wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will likely have a tough matchup against Adoree’ Jackson, while tight end Eric Ebron is facing a secondary that clamps down well on tight ends. The Colts have had a steady, if slowing down of late, ground game built around Marlon Mack.
Despite Luck’s injury issues prior to this season, the Colts are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six games in Week 17.
For the Titans, who are 9-6 SU and 8-7 ATS, the main question involves the extent to which Mariota playing hurt affects an offense that has run hot and cold all season. Indianapolis allows the sixth-lowest yards-per-rush in the NFL, and if Mariota’s physical limitations take away a read-option threat, then the Colts could thrive at blowing up rush attempts by Tennessee running back Derrick Henry.
The Titans are not an explosive team – only the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills, losing teams with rookie quarterbacks, have connected on fewer touchdown passes this season – and need their ground game to keep them out of obvious passing downs. If Mariota is unable to play, veteran Blaine Gabbert is the next man up behind center for Tennessee, which is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games at home.
The total has gone UNDER in five of the Colts’ last six games at online betting sites, with an average combined score of 38.0 points. The total has gone UNDER in three of the Colts’ last four games against the Titans, with an average combined score of 45.75 points.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.