Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens Line
The Indianapolis Colts (11-5, 4-4 away) travel to face the Baltimore Ravens (10-6, 6-2 home) in an AFC Wild Card showdown on Sunday, January 6th. Former Ravens’ defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano will be guiding the surging Colts in a game that will have plenty of headlines coming in. Taking a look at the pro football odds in Las Vegas, I find a spread of Baltimore -6.5 over Indianapolis and a total set of 46 points.
Why Baltimore Covers
The Ravens are one of the best home teams in the league over the past few seasons. They have now won 17 of their last 19 home games, including a 33-14 victory over the New York Giants in a huge game in Week 16. They are outscoring opponents by an average of 9.3 points per game this year.
Indianapolis has not been nearly as sharp on the road as it has been at home. It is just 4-4 away from home this year, and it has been prone to the blowout in its losses. All four of its road losses have come by 12 points or more. The Colts are giving up 29.1 points per game away from home this season while getting outscored by 7.6 points per game.
Baltimore beat Indianapolis 24-10 at home last season on December 11th. This game was an even bigger blowout than the final score would indicate. The Ravens outgained the Colts 358-167 for the game. Joe Flacco threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, while Ray Rice rushed for 103 yards and a score.
The Ravens are 19-8 against the spread in their last 27 home games against poor defensive teams that allow at least 5.65 yards per play. Baltimore is 5-1 against the spread in its last 6 Wild Card games. Also, the Ravens get back their defensive leader in Ray Lewis this week, which will be a huge emotional boost.
Why Indianapolis Covers
The Colts have been underrated all season. They won 11 games this year when nobody thought this team would make the playoffs. They have been playing for head coach Chuck Pagano, who has been battling cancer all season. He just returned in Week 17 to coach Indianapolis to a 28-16 home victory over the Houston Texans.
This team is red hot coming into this game having won five of its last six games overall. This is one team that nobody wants to face right now with the kind of momentum they have coming into the playoffs. Plus, these players are playing for a head coach with cancer, so the emotional lift they get from that cannot be overstated.
Indianapolis has really owned this series with Baltimore over the past decade. The Colts have won eight of the last nine meetings in this series. They are a perfect 8-0 against the spread in their last eight meetings. Indianapolis has covered five straight meetings in Baltimore.
Baltimore is 0-6 against the spread in home games off a road loss over the last 3 seasons. It is not playing well coming into this one having lost four of its last five games overall. The Colts are 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 games overall. Indianapolis is 8-2 against the spread in its last 10 vs. AFC opponents.