3 early point spreads to keep an eye on

If the public decides to get a little trigger happy in the coming days, history could be made Sunday in New England.

The Patriots are currently a 20-point favorite over the hapless Indianapolis Colts, a monstrous line the size of which we haven’t seen since, well, New England was a 23.5-point favorite over A.J. Feely and the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2007.

For those of you scoring at home, the Eagles covered that game, losing 31-28.

These may look like college football lines to you. Hell, they look like college football lines to me as well. But those two aforementioned point spreads still fall short of the biggest NFL line Las Vegas has ever posted.

The year was 1976 and the Pittsburgh Steelers were a 24-point favorite over the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Pittsburgh won the game 42-0.

It’s unlikely that the line for Sunday’s Pats-Colts showdown will get as high as 24, as that would open up a middle opportunity for sharp bettors who got down on New England -20 to fire again on the Colts +24, hoping the game lands in between so that both bets cash.

Regardless, it will be fun to watch if Dan Orlovsky can keep it close, or if Tom Brady and friends put their foot down on the gas and send Indianapolis home one game closer to securing Andrew Luck in next April’s draft.

In addition to the Pats-Colts matchup, here are two other games we’re keeping an eye on heading into Sunday.

CLICK HERE for all of the Week 13 lines.

DALLAS COWBOYS (7-4, 2-3 road) at ARIZONA CARDINALS (4-7, 2-2 home)

Time: 4:15pm ET
Opening line: Cowboys -6.5
Current line: Cowboys -4.5 (2-point swing)
Current betting patterns: 90% of the public is currently backing the Cowboys.

Tony RomoICONBe cautious of Tony Romo and the Cowboys this Sunday.

Analysis: Trap game alert! The Cowboys may be coming into this matchup on extra rest, but that hasn’t kept the early money from coming in on Arizona. The Cardinals have covered the number in three of their last four outings and could be in line for an offensive boost this Sunday, should starting quarterback Kevin Kolb return to the lineup after missing the last four games with a turf toe injury. Take note that this line has moved two points in Arizona’s direction, despite the fact that 90% of the bets already placed have come in on the Cowboys. That tells us the big money is on the Cardinals. You’ve been warned.

Interesting trends: The Cowboys are 0-4 against the spread in their last four games against a team with a losing record and 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 outings as a favorite.

Pick: Cardinals +4.5

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-7, 2-3 road) at CHICAGO BEARS (7-4, 5-1 home)

Time: 1:00pm ET
Opening line: Bears -9
Current line: Bears -7 (2-point swing)
Current betting patterns: 63% of the public is currently backing the Chiefs.

Analysis: The quarterback situation in both cities is most likely the driving force behind this movement, as veteran signal-caller Kyle Orton could get the nod for the Chiefs this Sunday against a Bears team that will ride backup Caleb Hanie one week after his three-interception outing at Oakland.

Matt ForteICONThe Chiefs will have their hands full trying to slow down Matt Forte this weekend.

The Chiefs may have covered the 10.5-point line last Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they had failed to cover in the three games prior to Week 12. However, Kansas City is 3-2 against the spread on the road in 2011 and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog.

Meanwhile, Chicago will look to get the playoff train back on the tracks by playing solid defense and ball-control offense. The Bears are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games as a home favorite and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a losing record.

Interesting trends: The Chiefs are 1-4 ATS in their last five games played in Week 13, while the Bears are 0-4 ATS in their last four games played in Week 13.

Pick: Most likely a no-play for yours truly, but if I was going to fire, I’d wait for the Bears to get to -6.5 before pulling the trigger.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-11, 0-5 road) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-3, 4-1 home)

Time: 1:00pm ET
Opening line: Patriots -20.5
Current line: Patriots -20 (.5-point swing)
Current betting patterns: 74% of the public is currently backing the Patriots.

Analysis: This is the true story of two teams headed in completely opposite directions. The hapless Colts are 2-9 against the spread this season and have failed to cover the number in seven straight games. After a slight mishap against the New York Giants back in Week 9, the Patriots have kicked it into overdrive, covering the spread in each of their last three outings.

Indianapolis has seen enough of quarterback Curtis Painter and has decided to give former Detroit Lion Dan Orlovsky—who is completing just 56% of his career passing attempts—the start this Sunday in Foxborough. Everything you need to know about Orlovsky can be learned from the video below.

Interesting trend: The underdog is 12-3-2 against the spread in the last 17 meetings between these two teams, but that matters very little, as most of those contests featured Peyton Manning at quarterback for the Colts.

Pick: It’s as square a pick as they come, but there’s no chance I’m backing the Colts in this one. I’ll take New England -20.5.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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