NFL Week 10 Leveraging Tails: Back Gardner Minshew and the Colts to produce against the Patriots

2T5JNWG Indianapolis Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew passes against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)

• Worlds apart in 2023: Compared to teams over the last 14 years, the Indianapolis Colts are nearly exactly league average on offense and defense, while the New England Patriots are average on defense but have fielded a 10th-percentile offense. That is a fairly massive difference, especially considering the market is pricing these teams just a point apart on this neutral field.

• Ample opportunity: Given New England’s pass-funnel nature, both volume and efficiency should be on the Colts' side, making it an attractive spot to back them.

• Get $150 in bonus bets: New FanDuel customers who bet $5 or more receive $150 in bonus bets if their team wins, plus a profit boost token every day. Join FanDuel today!

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Many bettors place wagers in multiple markets — spreads, totals, teasers, props, etc. — where they generally get oriented by following a bottom-up approach: “Which spreads do I like?” or “Which totals stand out this week?”

However, the goal in this space is to follow a top-down approach. We will take a deep dive into one game a week and consider how bettors can best apply a specific theory on a team, player or trend and capitalize on it in the betting market.

Some bets will track more traditional markets, but we will more often look to maximize our upside in the multitude of different markets offered by sportsbooks.

Best Bets

Indianapolis Colts -6.5 (+190)
• QB Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts: 250+ passing yards & Indianapolis Colts -5.5 (+750)

Let's start with the fundamentals of how each of these teams has moved and prevented teams from moving the ball. Compared to teams over the last 14 years, the Indianapolis Colts are nearly exactly league average on offense and defense, while the New England Patriots are average on defense but have fielded a 10th-percentile offense.

That is a fairly massive difference, especially considering the market is pricing these teams just a point apart on this neutral field.

 Looking week-to-week, the Colts' offense has been consistently average. The Patriots' offense has been well below average.

 The chart above shows how well the Colts have moved the ball relative to their opponents. On the whole, they have been far more consistent, hovering around average in all but two games this season despite facing some tough defensive opponents.

 The Patriots offense has consistently performed well below average outside of their games against Miami and Buffalo. And that was before the team lost Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker, two starting wide receivers.

Matchup Angles

 Over the last month or so, the Colts defense has allowed separation at one of the highest rates in the league. But over the same timeframe, the Pats rank 31st league-wide in yards of separation, and quarterback Mac Jones has thrown into tight windows at a top-three rate, suggesting that New England will have issues generating the requisite separation to succeed against this secondary.

 Furthermore, the Colts' defense has struggled to limit big plays, allowing explosive plays of 15 or more yards at the sixth-worst rate in the league.

 Again, Jones and the Patriots have generated the fewest expected points added (EPA) on deep pass attempts, diminishing that theoretical advantage.

 The Patriots rank third in rushing success rate allowed and seventh in EPA allowed per rush, but they come in at 28th in EPA allowed per pass and 25th in passing success rate allowed.

 As a result, teams are passing against the Patriots at the eighth-highest rate in the league.

 Even if the Patriots can force the Colts to abandon the run game, Minshew has been terrific even when the defense knows a pass is coming and ranks near the top of the league in EPA per play on passing downs.

 Couple this angle with the previous points about New England’s pass-funnel nature, and both volume and efficiency should be on the Colts' side, making it an attractive spot to back them.

Betting Featured Tools
  • PFF's Best Bets Tool reveals the bets PFF's data and algorithms give the biggest edge to within spread, total, player prop, and moneyline markets.

    Available with

  • PFF's Player Props Tool reveals betting opportunities within player prop markets.

    Available with

  • Power Rankings are PFF’s NFL power ratings based on weekly player grades in each facet of play. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season.

    Available with

  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NFL game.

    Available with

  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NCAA game.

    Available with

Subscriptions

Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
OR
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit