But the Patriots have not been good playoff bets recently, going just 2-8 against the spread over the last six postseasons.
In fact, New England has lost three of its last six home playoff games outright. Now, the Patriots are touchdown-favorites over an Indy team that just pulled off a comeback victory worthy of Frank Reich.
Patriots vs. Colts point spread: Patriots opened as 7-point favorites; the total was 53. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 28.5-25.4 Patriots
Why the Colts can cover the spread
Indy must be feeling pretty good after rallying past Kansas City in that AFC Wild Card bout last Saturday, winning 45-44. The Colts trailed at one point 38-10 but showed great heart in their comeback, taking the lead on a late Luck-to-Hilton TD pass, then holding off a Chiefs drive.
Also, the horseshoes on their helmets came into play when Luck grabbed a bouncing fumble and stumbled into the end zone for a key touchdown. By the numbers, Indy doesn't impress, but it's now 5-2 both SU and ATS against teams that made the playoffs this season.
They are also 4-1 ATS in their last five visits to Foxboro, so they know a thing or two about covering spreads here.
Why the Patriots can cover the spread
As the team that posted the second-best record in the AFC this season, New England is coming off a bye week. The Patriots finished the regular season on a 5-1 run, and their four losses this season came by a total of 18 points.
New England went a perfect 8-0 SU at Gillette Stadium this season, and 6-2 ATS, which is pretty good considering they were favored by at least a touchdown five times. The Patriots had two guys rush for more than 700 yards this year, one of which was LaGarrette Blount, who just went off for 189 in the season finale against Buffalo.
He could be Tom Brady's new best friend. Brady may not need much help in busting up a 2-6 ATS home playoff streak, especially if the Colts feel last week’s win was their Super Bowl and cannot rebound with emotion on the road.
The Odds Shark computer foresees a New England victory but an Indianapolis cover in a game that sneaks OVER its total. Last Saturday's comeback had to take a lot out of the Colts.
And remember, while they won that game, they also fell behind by four touchdowns. New England, meanwhile, had the week off. Wild Card teams have made some nice runs through the playoffs in recent seasons, but Indy isn't good enough to pull one of those off quite yet.
Give the points and take the Pats.
- Colts are 4-1 ATS past five trips to New England
- Patriots are just 2-6 ATS at home in playoffs since 2008
- Patriots are 5-1 ATS when favored at home
- Colts have played six straight OVERs on road vs. AFC East teams
- Patriots have played five straight OVERs at home vs. AFC South teams
- Patriots are 16-2 SU, 11-6-1 ATS vs. AFC South since 2003