Wednesday, September 28, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 4, 2011-12)

The Indianapolis Colts are holding on to slim playoff hopes. Those hopes will basically die if they fall to 0-4. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won two consecutive games and are tied for the AFC South lead. How will Curtis Painter fare in his first NFL start?

The early spread on this game is Buccaneers (-10). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All lines from Cooper's Pick and Injury Reports from covers.com as of September 28, 2011. Always keep yourself updated with injury lines because they’ll unexpectedly change throughout the week.

#0: Current Record (Straights Only)
Indianapolis Colts 2-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-3

#1: Injuries
The Colts placed DB Melvin Bullitt and LB Gary Brackett on IR with shoulder injuries on September 28. Along with Peyton Manning, Kerry Collins is questionable after getting concussed in the third quarter of Week 3. LB Ernie Sims and OG Ryan Diem are also questionable.

S Tanard Jackson is expected to make his return from his year-long suspension. This comes at the perfect time since S Cody Grimm was placed on IR with tears in his ACL and MCL. OT James Lee and LB Quincy Black could also miss this game.

#2: Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis
The biggest thing that one should consider when betting on/against the Colts is how much of an impact will their defensive line have. A team will solid offensive tackles will have an easier time against the Colts than a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers who has a decimated offensive line.

The Buccaneers have only given up 4 sacks and 11 QB hits. That’s pretty good when one considers that they’ve played the Detroit Lions (Kyle Vanden Bosch and Ndamukong Suh), Minnesota Vikings (Jared Allen) and Atlanta Falcons (Jonathan Abraham and Ray Edwards).

#3 Fourth Quarter
There are a couple reasons that I think that the Colts will fall apart in the fourth quarter.
Buccaneers’ QB Joshua Freeman has developed into one of the NFL’s most reliable quarterbacks in the clutch. The Colts are also averaging less than 25 minutes of possession per game, dead last in NFL.

#4 Colts’ Discipline
The Colts do have discipline. They have a turnover ratio of (+2) and they’ve only committed 13 penalties. That’s the second fewest in the NFL.

Final Predictions:
The Buccaneers won’t light up many scoreboards. That’s why I’m hesitant to give 10 points. The Colts just need one big play and they should be within the spread for this game.

The worst case scenario for the Buccaneers is that they’re losing by one possession in the fourth quarter. Then it’s Curtis Painter vs. Joshua Freeman. Good luck with that.

Against the Spread: Indianapolis Colts (+10)
Straight:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Indianapolis Colts 10

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