The team that everyone thought the Indianapolis Colts could be has finally arrived, and the timing could not be better, as Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town for a Week 12 showdown.
The Colts (6-5) are riding a season-best three-game winning streak and, after a 1-4 start, have won five of six following their 41-15 dismantling of the Buffalo Bills on the road last Sunday. Jonathan Taylor extended his blistering pace, rushing for a season-high 185 yards to give him a league-best 1,122 for the season. He also ran for four touchdowns and added a fifth receiving, raising his overall TD count to 15.
Taylor’s superlative effort — it was his third straight 100-yard game — allowed Carson Wentz to be a game manager, which he ably did by completing 11 of 20 passes for 106 yards and the scoring toss to his running back. Wentz has thrown for more than 240 yards just once in Indianapolis’ six-game surge, but he also has not thrown an interception during the current winning streak.
While Taylor does merit MVP consideration, being the top running back in a pass-happy league has created long odds to win the award. To wit, FanDuel has him listed at +2500, while DraftKings, BetRivers, and BetMGM are all offering +2000. On Sunday, he and the Colts will be trying to stop the frontrunner for the award in Brady.
The 44-year-old quarterback helped the Buccaneers (7-3) snap a two-game skid with a methodical 30-10 victory over the New York Giants on Monday night. Brady threw for 307 yards and a pair of touchdowns as he spread the wealth through the air. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and running back Leonard Fournette all had six receptions apiece, with Evans and Godwin on the back end of Brady’s scoring tosses.
Brady is facing the Colts for the first time since joining the Buccaneers, but has a long and storied history of tormenting Indianapolis from his days under center for the New England Patriots. Including the postseason, Brady is 15-4 lifetime versus Indy, with 4,790 yards and 38 TD passes. He is 5-2 overall when visiting Indianapolis, including a 5-1 mark during the regular season.
Colts slight home underdogs across the board
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The line for this game opened with the Colts as 1-point underdogs, but early betting on the Buccaneers pushed it to its Colts +3 as of 2:45 p.m. CST on Wednesday. Most books are offering that play at -110, including Caesars, theScore Bet, Betway, and Unibet, in addition to BetRivers, FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM.
There is also near-consensus on the over/under at 52.5 points, with most books daring bettors to choose which side of the hook they want to ride. Again, -110 is the most common offering, but the under can be grabbed at -109 on the Kambi platform powering BetRivers and Unibet. FanDuel is on an island at 51.5 points, offering a -115/-105 split.
The team total for the Colts also incorporates a high-side hook at 24.5 points, with various offers on the over. WynnBET is the pick for those confident in Wentz and Taylor turning this into a high-scoring affair with a +105 for the over, with Caesars (-105) and FanDuel (-106) also off the standard -110.
The moneyline is in a narrow band: Caesars and theScore offer the top value for a Colts win at +140, followed by FanDuel at +138.
First-half plays to ponder
This is really well done by @TomBrady and Brate from MNF for @Buccaneers offense! pic.twitter.com/zaMmH3Vf9U
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 24, 2021
The spread is tighter for the opening two quarters, though PointsBet stands out by offering the Colts +2.5 at -115. FanDuel is the only other book to brook +2, offering -110, while the Colts +1.5 is the most popular play. Among those offering that number, WynnBET has the best play at -105. TheScore is also on its own on the low side with a Colts +1 listing at -110.
Much like the full moneyline, the first half features a narrow band ranging from +125 (Caesars) to +115 (theScore). FanDuel and Kambi both have three-way lines that offer +135 for the Colts, while WynnBet’s play there offers a bump to +130.
BetMGM is on the low end of the totem pole for the first half over/under at 25.5 points (-110), with most offering 26 or 26.5 points. DraftKings, Caesars, TheScore, and Betway are all offering -110 in both directions at the lower number, while the higher number has some variety. WynnBET and Kambi are both offering -110 as the best play for the over, while FanDuel is trying to appeal to under bettors with a -120/+100 split.
The first-half team total for the Colts is 12.5 points everywhere but WynnBet, which has a -120/+100 play at 10.5 points. On the larger number, BetRivers and Unibet have a -110/-129 split, with the over elsewhere starting at -120.
Photo: Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports