NFL Monday Night Football – Jets at Colts

The Colts put together one of the most disappointing efforts in Week 1, while the Jets surprised many people by cruising past the Browns by 21 points. Will a return to Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday night turn things around for the defending AFC South champions or will New York fly to a 2-0 start?

Indianapolis fell behind Buffalo, 24-0 and never recovered in a 27-14 defeat, as Andrew Luck’s opening day record dropped to 1-3. Luck connected on a pair of late touchdowns and threw for 243 yards, but the running game never got off the ground with just 64 yards rushing.T.Y. Hilton hauled in a team-high 88 yards for the Colts, but is listed as questionable for Monday’s game after suffering a bruised knee in the fourth quarter at Buffalo.

The Jets crushed the Browns, 31-10 to easily cash as 3 ½-point home favorites, as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes in his New York debut. Fitzpatrick spread the ball around as four receivers caught at least two passes, while Brandon Marshall picked up 62 yards and a touchdown in his first game in a Jets’ uniform. The contest finished ‘over’ the total of 39 ½, as the final touchdown came with 10:38 remaining.

The Colts and Jets are meeting up for the first time since Luck’s rookie season of 2012, when New York dominated Indianapolis, 35-9 at Met Life Stadium. The Jets intercepted Luck twice, while rushing for 252 yards on Indianapolis, who was held out of the end zone. For the exception of Luck, many of the top offensive players in that game are no longer on either of these teams, as Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow combined to throw for 105 yards. New York is making its first trip to Indianapolis since the 2010 playoffs, when the Jets escaped past the Colts, 17-16 as one-point underdogs in the Wild Card round.

Since 2012, the Colts have compiled a solid 14-5 SU and 11-6-2 ATS record as a home favorite, including a 7-2 SU and 6-2-1 ATS mark last season. Indianapolis failed to cover its home opener of 2014, falling on a last-minute field goal to Philadelphia (also on Monday night), 30-27 as three-point favorites. All three home openers have been decided by four points or less with Luck under center, including a 21-17 victory over Oakland in 2013 as 11-point ‘chalk.’

The Jets lost their first six road games last season before December victories at Tennessee and Miami. New York is riding a four-game skid in away openers since 2011, but the last two defeats at New England and Green Bay were decided by seven points or less. In the last three seasons, the Jets have put together a 5-2-2 ATS record as a road underdog of seven points or more, while winning just three times, which includes a Monday night triumph at Atlanta in 2013.

VegasInsider.com handicapper Joe Nelson says the underdogs may be worth a look on Monday, “While Fitzpatrick is not the long term answer for the Jets, he is very familiar withChan Gailey’s offense and had a steady performance in Week 1 against a good Cleveland defense, aided by a strong running game for New York behind Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Run defense may again be an area of weakness for the Colts as the Bills rushed for 147 yards last week, but the Colts have been a far better performer on both sides of the ball at home in recent years.”

Nelson points out that even a loss for Indianapolis isn’t a season-killer, “For the Colts, an 0-2 start might sound devastating, but the division does not appear to be one that will require a great record to win as Indianapolis rattled off five straight wins to take command of the AFC South last season after losing the first two games.”

Luck is playing in his fourth Monday night game of his career, posting a 1-2 SU/ATS record, with the lone victory coming over the Giants as a three-point road favorite last season. The Jets have slumped to a 1-4 SU record in their last five Monday night contests since 2012, but have covered three times in the underdog role.

The underdog-‘under’ combination came through in both Monday night games in Week 1 with the Falcons and 49ers cashing at home. The ‘over’ hit in 12 of 18 Monday contests last season, while the ‘over’ is 2-3 in five primetime games so far in 2015.

The Colts are currently seven-point home favorites at most sports books, while the total is hovering between 46 ½ and 47. The game kicks off at 8:30 PM EST and can be seen nationally on ESPN.

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