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Colts vs. Dolphins Gambling Preview/Prediction

Monday Night Football Pick

Former divisional rivals square off on Monday Night Football when Miami hosts Indianapolis.

The Colts are off to 1-0 start while Miami lost its opener. That turn of events has led oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com to install Indy as a three-point road favorite, a price most bettors (89% of them) have been willing to pay. It’s another Monday night of football on ESPN and Sportsbook.

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These teams haven’t met since 2006 and the Colts have won the last two head-to-head contests, but overall, Miami owns an 8-4 SU & 9-3 ATS edge in the L12. The Dolphins, who have been awful at home overall with a 3-13-1 ATS record the last two seasons, will be looking to snap a 3-game SU & ATS skid in home openers. They turned the ball over four times in Atlanta this past Sunday while losing 19-7.

The Colts meanwhile thoroughly outplayed Jacksonville, but won just 14-12. They are 8-1 ATS in their L9 coming off a win/no cover spot. Indy is also 9-1 SU & 6-3-1 ATS in its L10 September road games and 15-8 ATS in its L23 as road chalk of 3-points or less.

Since Peyton Manning became a rookie in 1998, the Dolphins have had 14 starting quarterbacks in that same span and have never really found a long-term heir apparent to Dan Marino. While Miami has gone through the likes of Jay Fiedler to A.J. Feeley to Trent Green, Manning, meanwhile, has recorded nine 4,000-yard passing campaigns and tossed 334 regular-season touchdown passes.

With Marvin Harrison gone, all the attention has been put on Anthony Gonzalez and his impending breakout season. Gonzalez, however, injured his knee in a 14-12 win over Jacksonville and is out at least six weeks. Still, Reggie Wayne (10 catches, 162 yards, one touchdown) should be able to make some big plays downfield against a Miami secondary that was the weak link in 2008.

Defensively, Indianapolis will look to Freeney and fellow end Robert Mathis to pressure Chad Pennington and contain Pat White. The Dolphins were notorious with their “Wildcat” offense last year and White will make the unit even more dangerous. However, defenses will dare Pennington and his weak arm to beat them long.

Many pundits feel Miami will take a step back in 2009 after a mind-boggling turnaround a year ago, thanks to the inspired play of Pennington and the vocal Joey Porter on defense. Whether the 19-7 loss to Atlanta is an indication that the so-called “know-it-alls” are right remains to be seen.

Miami is hoping the third year is a charm for Ted Ginn Jr., who was drafted in the first round in 2007, but has played like a third or fourth rounder. Ginn Jr. was also taken for his return capabilities, but his statistics actually declined in his sophomore season after a respectable rookie campaign.

PREDICTION
The Colts will want to show the transition from Tony Dungy to Jim Caldwell will be no big deal, while Miami wants to prove 2008 under Tony Sparano was no fluke. Don’t be surprised if this game gets decided late in the fourth quarter and Adam Vinatieri has the final say.

INDIANAPOLIS 24, MIAMI 23

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