Saturday Night Football Betting: Should You Bet on the Colts to Beat the Streaking Patriots?

There have been a lot of wild things about the 2021 season, and one of them is the campaign the New England Patriots are having. Starting off the year 1-3, it seemed unlikely that they'd rip off a seven-game win streak, but here we are.

Following their Week 14 bye, the Patriots take to the road to face the Indianapolis Colts as 2.5-point underdogs, per NFL odds. The total is set at 45.5 points.

Our nERD-based rankings show that this game could be a delight. Both teams are ranked inside the top 10, with the Pats (fourth) slightly ahead of the home Colts (ninth).

Let's dive into some interesting betting angles for this contest.

Taking a Deeper Dive

Rookie Mac Jones has been solid this season but isn't being relied on to do too much. Using our Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, Jones has logged a league-average 0.10 Passing NEP per drop mark, firing for 2,870 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. He's done what's been asked of him and is having a nice year for a rookie.

After a change of scenery this offseason, Carson Wentz has been solid. He boasts a clip of 0.14 Passing NEP per drop back, throwing for 2,948 yards and 22 touchdowns.

As for the running backs, this is an interesting situation to watch for the Patriots. Damien Harris has already been ruled out for the contest, so out goes his 735 rushing yards and efficient 0.02 Rushing NEP per carry. It's likely going to be a hefty dose of rookie Rhamondre Stevenson -- and he's actually been the more efficient runner at 0.05 Rushing NEP per carry, including a 44.0% Rushing Success Rate.

All-world running back Jonathan Taylor gives Indianapolis a solid advantage at the running back spot. On the season, his marks are quite impressive, especially considering the workload. On 241 rushing attempts, Taylor has still been highly effective and efficient, posting 0.22 Rushing NEP per carry while logging 1,348 yards and 16 scores. He's no slouch in the passing game, either, nabbing 36 passes out of the backfield.

These two teams rely on different strengths. The Colts are stronger offensively, coming in 7th, whereas the Patriots are only 13th. On the flip side, New England boasts the 2nd-best defense via our metrics, while Indy is only 18th.

Bets to Consider

The Colts are 2.5-point favorites, and the total sits at 45.5 points. Where should you have your money for this one, according to our numbers?

Our projections fall in line with what oddsmakers are expecting. We side with the Colts despite that gaudy win streak for New England. We expect Indianapolis to win 61.2% of the time, and we are projecting the Colts to win 24.84-21.55. Betting on the Colts to cover 2.5 points is a one-star bet which we peg for a return of 7.55%.

With the total, our algorithm projects the over to win out 51.81% of the time, but we actually forecast a negative return on investment on both sides of the total.

One player prop I like and our projections kind of like is the rushing yards line for Rhamondre Stevenson, which is set at 67.5 yards (-110). We project him for 68.9 rushing yards, but let me make the case for why I'm more into the over than our model is.

The Colts are a pretty average run defense, ranking only 14th against the run this season. This game should be tight, which should lead to plenty of touches for Stevenson. On top of that, Harris is out, which only solidifies the rookie's role. Plus, the Colts have been gashed in the past for 100-plus yards by Leonard Fournette, Derrick Henry and Elijah Mitchell, so Stevenson could explode.

Historical Betting Trends

-- The Patriots have won the last eight meetings between the two teams.
-- During the Pats' seven-game win streak, they are also 7-0 against-the-spread (ATS).
-- The Colts have been no betting pushover, though. Indy is 7-3 ATS over their last 10 games.