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The Indianapolis Colts very well could be 0-4 instead of 2-2.
The Colts trailed Minnesota 15-0 before pulling out an 18-15 win and then this past Sunday scored 21 unanswered points during a late fourth-quarter rally to sneak past Houston, 31-27.
Yet oddsmakers continue to hold Indianapolis in high regards, perhaps wary of the Colts’ vast popularity with recreational bettors.
The linesmakers at Las Vegas Sports Consultants sent-out an opening number of Indianapolis minus seven at home versus Baltimore.
Those betting early didn’t see it that way. The line was down to as low as Colts minus four by early Monday afternoon.
“Baltimore has trouble scoring so it’s a little surprising to me,” LVSC senior oddsmaker Mike Seba said about early money coming on the Ravens.
Some oddsmakers believe the house should be proactive when it comes to the Colts, a huge public team. They would rather see an opening line that is too high on Indianapolis than the other way around.
At least this way, there’s a chance for two-way betting action. Open Indy too low and it’s going to be all one-way money.
Plus some linesmakers, Seba included, believe the Colts are ready to step up now that their offensive line is healthy again and Peyton Manning has gotten the rust off following a knee injury that caused him to miss training camp and preseason.
“They still have the weapons,” Seba said. “And Manning is getting better and better each week.”
One of the toughest NFL lines to make this week, Seba said, was the Miami Dolphins-Houston Texans.
There was some sentiment in the LVSC office for making Miami the favorite. The Texans are winless, after all, and off a devastating home loss.
The Dolphins have shown definite signs of already turning the corner in their first year under the Bill Parcells regime having posted back-to-back victories against New England and San Diego.
LVSC ended up recommending Houston as three-point home chalk, anticipating gamblers to back the winless team at home against a club that has dropped 22 of its past 25 games.
“Houston has played well enough to win,” Seba said mentioning the Texans’ narrow losses to the Colts and Jacksonville in overtime. “They’re a nice little team that just hasn’t put it all together yet.
“Miami is off two huge wins and now going on the road. Houston is 0-4 and in a must-win spot. You have to think what the bettors might be thinking.”
New England is in the unfamiliar position of being a six-point underdog. San Diego currently is minus six at home to the Patriots in the Sunday night matchup. If the line should get higher, it would mark the first time New England was more than a six-point ‘dog since 2001.
LVSC’s opening-line recommendation was Chargers minus 6 ½.
“I was thinking (Chargers) minus seven,” Seba said. “But that was before New England played San Francisco.
“It’s hard to lay that many points to the Patriots, but it’s a real good spot for San Diego.”
The Chargers have a strong revenge motive. The Patriots eliminated them in the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.
The disappointing Cleveland Browns host the New York Giants in the Monday night game. LVSC sent-out Giants minus 6 ½. The line was Giants minus 7 ½ on Monday afternoon.
“Now the Giants are finally getting respect,” Seba said.
The Giants should being 4-0 and averaging 37 points during their past three games. The Giants have won their last 13 road contests, covering all but one.
The Browns are anxious to show a national television audience they aren’t that bad. Problem is the Browns just might be that bad.
Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson is on pace for a 12-touchdown, 24-interception season.
Don’t be surprised, though, if late money comes in on Cleveland, especially if injured guard Eric Steinbach and wider receiver Donte Stallworth are able to play.
“Pros (professional bettors) are attracted to a home ‘dog off a bye week, especially on Monday night,” Seba said.