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Monday Night Football 10/27

Monday Night Football 10/27

Indianapolis at Tennessee
By Brian Edwards

This is a statement game for the Tennessee Titans. The NFL’s only remaining undefeated team gets a chance to step into the national spotlight and announce itself as the new bully in the AFC South on Monday Night Football.

The target is Indianapolis, the team that’s won this division five consecutive seasons. But the Colts haven’t looked like themselves in 2008. Yes, the blowout of Baltimore by a 31-3 count two weeks ago was vintage Indy, but the dominance of the Ravens didn’t carry over to last week.

Just when bettors were tempted into thinking Tony Dungy’s squad was ready to get hot, it goes into Lambeau Field and gets spanked, 34-14.

Marvin Harrison’s numbers are down and he seems to have lost a step. Peyton Manning missed all of training camp and has struggled without the support of an effective running game.

Indianapolis (3-3 straight up, 2-3-1 against the spread) is sitting at .500, which is surprising in itself, but the team has to feel fortunate to have three wins. In victories at Minnesota and at Houston, the Colts had to rally from double-digit deficits in the second half.

Tennessee (6-0 SU, 6-0 ATS) hasn’t faced that sort of adversity, winning four of its six games by double-digit margins. Jeff Fisher’s team is off a 34-10 triumph at Kansas City as an 8 ½-point favorite.

Chris Johnson and LenDale White had 317 of a franchise-record 332 rushing yards. Johnson ran for 168 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries, while White produced 147 yards and three touchdowns on 17 totes. The USC product busted loose for an 80-yard TD run that was the longest run of his career.

How nasty was the Titans’ defense against the Chiefs? They ended Brody Croyle’s season and also sent Damon Huard to the sidelines.

The Colts were on the other end of the spectrum in a lopsided loss at Green Bay. Manning didn’t throw a touchdown and had two interceptions, causing his TD-INT ratio to dip to 8/7. To give you an idea of how uncharacteristic those numbers are for Manning, consider that from 2003-2007 he had an incredible 168/60 TD-INT ratio.

Dominic Rhodes, who ran for two touchdowns against the Packers, is expected to carry the rushing load again this week. That’s because Joseph Addai will probably miss a second straight game after missing practice Thursday and Friday.

The ground game has been a major problem for Indy on both sides of the ball. The Colts are only rushing for 80.8 yards per game, which ranks 28th in the NFL. They are 30 in run defense, allowing 160 yards on the ground per game.

That looks like a disastrous recipe going against Tennessee, which leads the NFL in rushing with 190.2 yards per game. Johnson has been sensational as a rookie, rushing for 549 yards and three TDs. He averages 5.3 yards per carry. White has 314 rushing yards and eight TDs, averaging 3.9 YPC.

Kerry Collins hasn’t put up monster numbers in an offense that clearly has a run-first mentality, but the veteran has been just what the doctor ordered. In five starts, Collins has thrown just three interceptions.

Before the debacle at Green Bay, the Colts had been playing their best football on the road. For the season, they are 2-1 SU and 1-1-1 ATS on the road.

The ‘over’ is 2-1 in Indy’s three road games. Likewise, the ‘over’ is 2-1 for the Titans at home.

These AFC South rivals split a pair of games last season with each team winning on the road. The ‘under’ has cashed in each of the last six head-to-head meetings.

ESPN will have television coverage at 8:35 p.m. Eastern.

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Re: Monday Night Football 10/27

Tips and Trends

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

Colts: The Colts will be looking to bounce back after an awful loss at Green Bay. Sitting at 3-3, this isn’t the Indy team we’re used to seeing. The Colts have struggled on both sides of the ball this year and are lucky to be sitting at .500. However, history is on the side of the Colts for the most part tonight. Indy has won eight of the past 10 meetings and three of the past four meetings have been determined by three points or less. The Colts have a 4-2 record at LP Field in Nashville since 2002. Indianapolis has a 29-9 record in AFC South play since 2002.

Colts are 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
Colts are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 Monday games.

Key Injuries - RB Joseph Addai (hamstring) is doubtful.
S Bob Sanders (ankle) is OUT.

PROJECTED SCORE: 23 (OVER - Total Play of the Day)

Titans (-4, O/U 41): The Titans haven’t just won all of their games this year, they are also 6-0 ATS. Tennessee has arguably the best front seven in the NFL but they haven’t had a great deal of success sacking Indy QB Peyton Manning over the years. They got to him twice in the first meeting last year, but have not sacked him at all in five of their past six games against the Colts. Overall, Tennessee has just 11 sacks of Manning in 13 meetings with Indianapolis. Look for the Titans to run the ball tonight. They average 154.5 yards per game rushing, while Indy gives up 153.5 yards per game on the ground.

Titans are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 vs. AFC South.
Titans are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games overall.

Key Injuries - DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (groin) is probable.


Indianapolis is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Indianapolis's last 6 games on the road
Tennessee is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games at home
Tennessee is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home

Indianapolis at Tennessee
Indianapolis: 0-4 ATS vs. Tennessee
Tennessee: 6-0 ATS This season

Top Trends for this game.
TENNESSEE is 6-0 ATS (+6.0 Units) in all games this season.
TENNESSEE is 12-2 ATS (+9.8 Units) versus division opponents over the last 3 seasons.
TENNESSEE is 6-0 ATS (+6.0 Units) in all lined games this season.
TENNESSEE is 10-22 ATS (-14.2 Units) as a home favorite of 3.5 to 7 points since 1992.

Head-to-Head Series History
TENNESSEE is 4-0 against the spread versus INDIANAPOLIS over the last 3 seasons
TENNESSEE is 2-2 straight up against INDIANAPOLIS over the last 3 seasons
4 of 4 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

Colts (3-3) @ Titans (6-0)- NFL's last unbeaten hosts struggling Colt squad that lost two of last three vs. Tennessee, after winning previous seven meetings. Indy has had only one game this season where they didn't either lose or trail by double digits in second half, but they're 4-1 in last five visits here, with average total in those games 45.2. Colts yielded average of 163.8 rushing yds/game in first four games, improved to 83.5 in last two. Titans ran ball for 332 yards in first game after bye last week- they give up just 12.3 pg at home (4-0). Over is 3-1 in the last four games for both teams.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans

Oddsmakers currently have the Titans listed as 4-point favorites versus the Colts, while the game's total is sitting at 40½.

Peyton Manning was picked off twice in Indianapolis' 34-14 loss to the Packers in Week 7.

The Packers had been pegged as 1.5-point home underdogs in that contest, while the combined score went just OVER the day's posted total (47).

LenDale White had three rushing TDs in Week 7 as the Titans beat the Chiefs by a score of 34-10.

The Titans had no trouble covering the 8.5-point spread on the road in that contest, while the combined score went OVER the day's posted total (35).

Current streak:
Tennessee has won 6 straight games.

Team records:
Indianapolis: 3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS
Tennessee: 6-0 SU, 6-0 ATS

Indianapolis most recently:
When playing in October are 9-1
When playing on grass are 7-3
When playing within the division are 6-4
Before playing New England are 9-1

Tennessee most recently:
When playing in October are 7-3
When playing on grass are 7-3
After outgaining opponent are 5-5
When playing within the division are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Indianapolis's last 5 games when playing Tennessee
Indianapolis is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games on the road
Indianapolis is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games when playing Tennessee
Indianapolis is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Tennessee
Tennessee is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Tennessee is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Tennessee's last 5 games when playing Indianapolis
Tennessee is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home

Next up:
Indianapolis home to New England, Sunday, November 2
Tennessee home to Green Bay, Sunday, November 2

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Indianapolis (3-3 SU and ATS) at Tennessee (6-0 SU and ATS)

The Titans, who are off to their best start in franchise history, will try to remain the NFL’s only unbeaten team when they host the defending AFC South champion Colts at LP Field in Nashville.

Tennessee rolled to a 34-10 victory at Kansas City last week, extending its winning streak to nine (8-1 ATS) dating back to last season – the team’s longest such streak since winning 11 in a row in 1993 when the franchise was still in Houston. The Titans rolled up 455 total yards against the Chiefs, including 332 on the ground thanks to Chris Johnson (18 carries, 168 yards, 1 TD) and LenDale White (17 carries, 149 yards, 3 TDs).

The Titans have the NFL’s stingiest defense, allowing just 66 points through six games, and they rank third in the league in total defense, giving up just 268.5 yards per contest (179 through the air and 89.5 on the ground).

Indianapolis went to Green Bay last week and fell 34-14 as a one-point favorite, with All-Pro QB Peyton Manning finishing with a 46.6 passer rating as he went 21-for-42 for 229 yards and two INTs, both of which were returned for touchdowns. The Colts’ defense has been inconsistent this season, giving up 329 yards per game, including a whopping 153.7 on the ground.

These division rivals split last year’s meetings, with the visitor winning both contests and Tennessee going 2-0 ATS. In fact, the Titans have cashed in the last four battles with Indy after going 0-6 ATS in the previous six. Tony Dungy’s Colts have won eight of the last 10 meetings SU, going 4-1 SU in the last five trips to Nashville.

The Colts are 7-6 SU and 4-9 ATS on the road in Monday Night Football, while Tennessee is 11-8 SU and 9-9-1 ATS at home on Mondays.

Indianapolis is just 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games against AFC South rivals, but otherwise the Colts are on ATS streaks of 7-1 in October, 5-0 on Mondays and 5-2 following a non-cover. Jeff Fischer’s Titans are on ATS runs of 10-1 against the AFC South, 5-0 after a spread-cover, 6-0 after a straight-up win and 7-2 the last nine years in Week 8.

For the Colts, the over is 4-1 in their last five against AFC South competition and 5-2 in their last seven after a non-cover. For Tennessee, the over is on runs of 21-10-1 in October and 6-1 in Week 8, but the under is 6-2 in its last eight against the AFC. Also, the last six meetings in this rivalry have stayed under the total.

Finally, the over is 8-0-1 in Monday night games this season.


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MNF what's on the line: Colts at Titans

As this season progresses I am becoming increasingly convinced that few jobs out there are as hard as scheduling Monday Night Football games.

It's the highest profile game of the week, and it is supposed to be the game each week that people most want to see. Several times this year, and every year for that matter, we have been subjected to games that aren't nearly as good as they should be.

This week's game is a good example. Indianapolis at Tennessee - it was supposed to be a battle for the division lead between a very good team and a pretty good one. Instead, the team that was supposed to be pretty good is the best team in the league, and the team that was supposed to be very good is frustratingly average. If both teams maintain their form from last week then you'll want to bring a pillow, because you'll be aching for a nap by halftime.

The public is buying into Tennessee. Why wouldn't they? the Titans have covered six straight games. About six out of every 10 bets on this game have been on Tennessee. The line opened on the key number of three with the hometown Titans favored. The somewhat lopsided action has shifted that line to a widely available 4, with 4.5 available in some spots.

Unless something changes dramatically by game time, this will be the second straight time Tennessee is favored after being the underdog in seven consecutive meetings. The favoritism is more significant here than last time, though. That last outing was the last game of the season. Tennessee needed a win and was letting it all hang out. Indy just didn't want anyone to get hurt. Jim Sorgi took the majority of the snaps, and the Colts rushed a total of 10 times - it was little more than a scrimmage for the Colts.

That line was meaningless. This line could be a sign of shifting power in the AFC South.

The over can't miss on Monday nights this year, so it isn't that surprising that the public action is skewing towards that side. It's both strange and noteworthy, then, that the total is falling. It opened at 42, and it can be widely found at 40 now. That would indicate that smart money is likely on the under. In this case the smart money appears to be, well, smart - the last six games between these two teams have gone under. Neither team has established a firm preference this season - they have each gone over three times in their last six games.

Handicapping this game hinges on determining which Peyton Manning is going to show up. Short of time travel, there seems to be no reliable way to do that this year. Two weeks ago against a very solid Baltimore defense he completed 68 percent of his passes and had three touchdowns. The Manning we have long known seemed to be back, right? Not so fast. The next week against a Green Bay defense that is no better than Baltimore's (a lot worse statistically, actually) he completed just half of his passes, had no touchdowns, and served up two interceptions that you would have a hard time forgiving if they came from a rookie.

We may never know the true status of Manning's health before the season or now, but what is clear is that something is not right. In Tennessee he faces the defense that is allowing the fewest points in the league. My guess is that he would rather be playing Detroit this week. I'd have a much easier time trusting him if he were.

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