The Indianapolis Colts welcome back Andrew Luck, now the highest-paid player in the NFL, when they open the 2016 season against the Detroit Lions, who begin life without future Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson. The Colts are solid home favorites on the NFL Week 1 betting lines.
Here’s a View at the Lions at Colts Week 1 Lines Report, Free Pick & TV Info
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) July 13, 2016
Lions vs Colts Historical Betting Trends
The teams haven’t met since 2012, Luck’s rookie season. The Colts won that game at home, 35-33. Luck dropped back, then moved up to avoid pressure and buy time for a teammate to get open, tossed a short pass to Donnie Avery, and the receiver did the rest — racing untouched for a 14-yard touchdown and giving the Colts the comeback win as time ran out. The last time the Colts scored a game-winning TD with no time remaining on the clock was Sept. 30, 1990, to beat Philadelphia 24-23. Luck was 24 of 54 for 391 yards with four TD passes vs. Detroit. Matthew Stafford was 27 of 46 for 313 yards with two TDs and an interception late in the first half. Johnson had 13 receptions for 171 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown that gave Detroit a 30-21 lead late in the third quarter.
Lions are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Lions are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games in Week 1.
Under is 5-1 in Lions last 6 games in September.
Under is 14-4 in Lions last 18 road games.
Colts are 25-10- 1 ATS in their last 36 home games.
Colts are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games in Week 1.
Under is 8-3 in Colts last 11 games in Week 1.
Over is 5-2 in Colts last 7 games in September.
Why Bet on Detroit?
No question the Lions will miss Johnson, the greatest receiver in team history. Johnson dealt with a plethora of injuries over the past five seasons that ranged from his ankles to his fingers. Megatron’s decision to walk away from Detroit at just 30 years old wasn’t about the money or so much the win-loss record as it was the injuries. The perennial Pro Bowler leaves the Lions as their all-time leading receiver, hauling in 731 catches for 11,619 yards and had 83 touchdowns. In 2012, he set an NFL record for the most receiving yards in a season at 1,964. He also has the second-most receiving yards (329) in a game.
Johnson had been Stafford’s favorite target — and the NFL’s leading receiver — for the past seven years. The Lions have replaced him with Marvin Jones, formerly of the Bengals. Jones caught a career-high 65 passes for 816 yards last year and was the Lions’ top target at the wide receiver position. Jones said he and Stafford have been working hard to develop a chemistry together.
One concern for the Lions: protecting Stafford. Stafford has been sacked 89 times over the past two seasons — two more times than his total rushing attempts in 2014 and 2015. The consistent pressure Stafford has faced hindered Detroit’s offense as well. The Lions didn’t make any huge free-agent signings along the line, although they brought in veteran guard Geoff Schwartz. During the draft, the offensive line became a major focal point, with three picks used on offensive linemen.
Why Bet on Indianapolis?
Luck will take the field as the richest player in league history as he recently signed a six-year contract extension through the 2021 season for $140 million. The biggest prior deal in NFL history saw Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers ink a five-year contract for $110 million in 2013. Luck reportedly will have $87 million guaranteed, or $22 million more assured than the old marks to Eli Manning of the New York Giants and fellow quarterback Philip Rivers of San Diego. Luck, 26, struggled last season, making 13 turnovers and suffering a rib injury and lacerated kidney as well as shoulder and abdominal injuries. But the return of a healthy Luck should be worth about one TD per game. The Colts’ 20.8 points per game last season should rise to about 26 points or more.
The Colts surprised many by not firing coach Chuck Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson after last season’s 8-8 mark. It was the first time the Colts missed the playoffs under Luck.
Looking for a rookie surprise this year? Consider Colts running back Josh Ferguson. Colts owner Jim Irsay said the undrafted has “a chance to be special.” The Colts reportedly considered Ferguson as early as the fourth round of April’s draft, and he “made a distinct impression” during the offseason program. Indy does not have much of anything behind 33-year- old starter Frank Gore, Ferguson could find a role. Ferguson certainly had a productive collegiate career, as he played in 47 games at Illinois and recorded 4,474 all-purpose yards. He rushed for 2,586 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry, while he also caught 186 passes for 1,507 yards and eight touchdowns.
My Free Pick
The Colts were a Super Bowl contender two years ago with Luck healthy. They should be again this year. Go Indy on NFL lines here.