The Week 17 Sunday Night Football betting game between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans is so massive that NBC made it a part of their flex schedule, shifting the matchup to prime time. The winner grabs the final playoff spot in the AFC. Indianapolis-Tennessee is a “win and you’re in” type of game.
There’s no loss for drama in this matchup. The Colts can make the playoffs even though their quarterback didn’t play a single snap last season and their coach was the front office’s second choice. Andrew Luck failed to play in 2017 while Frank Reich only became the head coach after Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel turned his back on Indianapolis after first accepting the job.
The drama on the Titans’ side surrounds the status of quarterback Marcus Mariota. The good news for Mariota’s that he passed the concussion protocol. The bad news is that nobody, not even Mariota,, knows if he’ll be able to play.
Whether he does or doesn’t, the situation remains the same. Whomever wins on Sunday night stamps their ticket to the postseason. When the going gets tough, the tough rise to the occasion. This is a remarkable matchup to end the regular season with.
NFL WEEK 17 SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL BETTING
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, December 30th – Nissan Stadium – 8:20pm ET
Odds: IND -3.5 (43.5)
Colts Hope For Repeat of the Last Matchup
It’s remarkable how the Colts have played their way into this position. Indianapolis looked to be in full rebuild mode after last season. Not only did Andrew Luck take the entire 16 games off, but the Colts had just been spurned by a coordinator. That’s on top of the drama that seems to follow owner Robert Irsay no matter what happens on the field.
But, the Colts are here. Not only are they in a position to make it to the playoffs, but based on what NFL handicappers think, they should make it to the playoffs. Indianapolis opened a -1.5 favorite. They’re now a -3 road favorite in Week 17 Sunday Night Football betting.
Some of the betting dollars could have something to do with Mariota’s health, but most of the money’s about the amazing Andrew Luck, who was awesome in the earlier season 38-10 win over Tennessee. He completed 23-of-29, threw for 297 yards, and tossed 3 touchdowns. No matter what the Titans tried to do, Luck had an answer.
Luck’s also been one of the best quarterbacks in the second half of the season, throwing for 16 TDs to only 6 interceptions. The man took a year off and he’s picked up right where he was, as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
With Luck under center, Indianapolis is confident they can repeat what they did to Tennessee on Nov. 18.
Titans Will Use Home Field With or Without Mariota
Nobody in the Titans organizations knows if Marcus Mariota will play. In his news conference, Mariota stated he’s “optimistic” he’ll start on Sunday. Whether Mariota does or doesn’t, the Titans must feed off the energy their fan base always provides.
Tennessee has to use home field advantage to overcome the Week 17 Sunday Night Football betting line the way they’ve done throughout this season. The Titans are 6-1 in home games. They beat two playoff teams, New England and Houston, at home. The only team that dumped the Titans at Nissan Stadium was likely AFC North champion Baltimore.
A banged up Mariota might even be worse for the Titans than a healthy Blaine Gabbert because while it will be tough for Mariota to feed off the fans’ energy, Gabbert won’t have any issues. Many times playing off emotion can deter a team from doing the right things.
For the titans, it’s the opposite. Their biggest hope of upsetting the Colts is to use their emotions and feed off their fans’ energy. And yes, that means feeding the ball in to Derrick Henry’s hands as often as possible.
Week 17 Sunday Night Football Betting Trends
The line’s doubled to -3.5 and most NFL handicappers still like the Colts. The trends favor neither.
Indianapolis is 5-0 ATS versus a team with a winning record, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in Week 17, and 11-3 ATS in the last 14 meetings. The Titans are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 after allowing less than 150 yards passing in their previous, 7-2 ATS in their last 9 versus the AFC South, and 11-4 ATS versus a team with a winning record.
The real key in this battle might not even be Mariota’s status. The Titans suffered a major injury on Dec. 24 that could be the real reason handicappers favor Indianapolis. Tennessee placed Jurrell Casey on IR. The defensive tackle had 7 sacks on the season as well as 36 solo tackles.
Without Casey attracting two offensive linemen on every play, the Colts should find it easier to rush the football. They’ll no doubt protect Luck, which means Indianapolis has the edge.
Even if the Titans feed off the fans’ energy and play an emotional game, facts get in the way of Tennessee winning. Luck’s too good to stop without your best pass rusher. It doesn’t matter who you are.
Andrew Luck will have a monster night. Indianapolis will beat the Titans, cover the spread, and march into the postseason.
Week 17 Sunday Night Football Betting Free Pick: Colts -3.5