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Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens Point Spread - Pick

Indianapolis Colts (3-11 SU, 6-8 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (8-6 SU, 8-5-1 ATS)
Week 16 NFL
Date/Time: Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 4:30PM EST
Where: MT&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
TV: NFL Network

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: IND +13.5/BAL -13.5
Over/Under Total: 41

The Indianapolis Colts take on the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday at MT&T Stadium in week 16 action. The Colts lost their fifth in a row after blowing a 10-0 lead against the Broncos last Thursday and losing 25-13. After going up in the second quarter, 10-0, all they could muster was a field goal, falling to 3-11 in what has been a tough season for the Colts. They now go into Baltimore to take on a Ravens team that has won 4 out of 5 to climb back into the mix a little bit. On Sunday, they didn't mess around with the Browns, taking over late en route to a 27-10 win to lift their record to 8-6. They now host an Indy team with no margin for error, as they pursue a wild-card spot.

The Colts haven't covered a spread since November 12 and after showing some scrappiness even when losing, they have started to show the wear and tear of a hard season. They have been good enough to take a halftime lead in 9 games this season and they have lost seven of those games. Not a ton has gone well or according to plan for the downtrodden Colts. The formula for success on offense went cold without Andrew Luck, a thinning cast of playmakers, and a line that has deteriorated badly. The defense, while not great in recent seasons, has taken another step back this season. For them to put up such little fight against the Broncos in the second half at home was a bad statement on where the Colts are heading into the stretch run of the season.

It would have been nice to see Jacoby Brissett in a better position. Jettisoned into the starting quarterback role behind a deficient line and a lukewarm cast of guys to work with has left him with little hope. He certainly hasn't been very good, but has probably been made to look worse than he is. He can scoot some with the ball. RB Frank Gore can still produce, but is at a point in his career where the big games come more infrequently. Wide receiver TY Hilton, who hurt his hand, and TE Jack Doyle are definite assets, but it's just not a very expansive group of difference-makers on this side of the ball. They just weren't built to make a run at it without Andrew Luck behind center and we're seeing that manifest now.

The Indy defense might have had a chance to be decent if not for injuries coming down seemingly every week. A big chunk of their defensive prowess is either banged-up or on injured reserve. As a result, there isn't anything that they've been able to do particularly well. The pass-rush really hasn't been there, while it's certainly been there for their opponents. They've been equally inept against the run and the pass. And their top two playmakers in the secondary are both out of action. It's not that they haven't been decent at some points this season, but more often than not, it's abundantly clear that this side of the ball is not up-to-snuff.

Baltimore's game against the Browns last Sunday was relatively-close for a half, before the Ravens held the Browns to a scoreless second half and cruised home for the easy win. Their only setback in their last five games was a one-point loss to Pittsburgh two weeks ago, 39-38. Other than that, they have been pretty dominant. They've been all over the place this season, but have settled into a nice rhythm on both sides of the ball. The Ravens have scored three shutouts this season and have been a solid proposition at the betting windows.

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It took a while for Joe Flacco to get into gear this season, but he's been at his best the last handful of weeks. He hit a season-high for yardage against the Browns on Sunday, with a big assist from the other side of the ball, which contributed a touchdown to the cause. They have developed a decent one-two punch coming out of the backfield with Javorius Allen and Alex Collins. On Sunday, Allen had 70 yards, while Collins added five catches. WR Mike Wallace has been good lately and had 89 receiving yards on Sunday, while TE Benjamin Watson added 74 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown grab.

Other than a few times this season, the Baltimore defense has held up its part of the deal. They are giving up an average of just over 18 points a game this season. In their four wins in the last five games, they have given up an average of less than 12 points a game. In the secondary, Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Brandon Carr, and Marlon Humphrey have been solid, though losing Jimmy Smith hurts. On Sunday, Carr and Weddle both had picks and now have combined for ten interceptions on the season. Reserve corner Antony Levine, Jr. recovered a fumble, as did DT Brandon Williams. They look for similar results against a road Colts squad this Saturday.

It's never easy, especially in this season's formless NFL. We see a surging Ravens team playing perhaps its best ball of the season at home with a playoff spot in the offing against a Miami team coming off a dispassionate showing against the Bills last week. The disappointment, along with the overall wear and tear of the season, is maybe starting to resonate for the Dolphins. But again, it's never that easy. The Ravens are more than capable of a dud, while the Dolphins can hit some high notes from time-to-time. While it's hard to bet the Fins in this spot, I see them keeping it within the spread this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Miami Dolphins plus 13.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Colts-Ravens game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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