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Colts Odds / Team Preview – Super Bowl 44

Colts 2010 Superbowl Line, Predictions & Team Preview

We’ve introduced the challenger. Now let’s say hello to the champion. The Indianapolis Colts were four-point favorites for Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday night; now, they’re 5.5-point favorites. They don’t get wild sportsbook support because they’re the perfect football team. They get it because they always find a way to win and because they may have the best quarterback of all time taking snaps for them.

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Indianapolis Colts

Betus Odds To Win Superbowl 44 — -5.5)
Indianapolis Colts Moneyline Odds to Win Super Bowl XLIV -230

Record (including playoffs): 16-2
Against the spread (including playoffs): 12-6
Over/under (including playoffs): 10-8

Super Bowl XLIV: Indianapolis Colts Team Breakdown

Offense

It’s a testament to Indy’s reliability that they not only posted the NFL’s best record this season, but also the most ATS wins. No wonder bettors love them so much. When you have a guy like Peyton Manning helming your offense for a decade without missing a game, you beat the spread often.

Indy’s passing game is what every team wishes its passing game was. Manning is unbelievably well-protected; he took just 10 sacks in the entire regular season. With so much time to throw every week, he can read defenses and systematically pick them apart. If someone keys on Reggie Wayne, as Darrelle Revis did last week, or elite tight end Dallas Clark, Manning just finds his third and fourth options. Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie – rookies — caught 18 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns against the Jets’ No. 1 pass defense last week. Manning’s vision is so good that he can handle virtually any defense and make anyone, including two rookies, look like stars.

Indy’s running game? Well, it’s not so great. Actually, it ranked dead last in the NFL with 80.9 yards per game – eight fewer yards than 31st-ranked San Diego. While it’s true that Donald Brown and Joseph Addai didn’t move the chains regularly in 2009, is Indy’s running game that bad?

Or did the Colts simply stick with the pass all season since no one can stop them? We’ll only know the answer to that question if New Orleans stops Manning and forces Indy to run the ball.

Defense

Year-in, year-out, the Colts get lambasted for their poor tackling and weak run defense. Fair enough; their 126.5 yards allowed per game were the worst of any playoff team this year. As annoyingly brittle as Bob Sanders was, he was still a major plus for Indy’s run-stopping ability.

That said, the Colts’ pass defense is perennially underrated. It allowed a mediocre 212.7 yards per game during the regular season but always clamped down at crucial moments, as it did against Tom Brady during the Indy’s comeback victory in Week 10 or against Matt Schaub in the dying moments of Week 12. Because the Colts score so much, they also limit teams’ ability to run on them. Eventually, their opponents fall so far behind that they have no choice but to pass.

Special Teams

More so than for most NFL squads, Indy’s special teams are somewhat of an afterthought. Chad Simpson and T.J. Rushing are average return men that don’t hurt their team but don’t have the big-play abilities of Saints like Courtney Roby or Reggie Bush. Matt Stover has been adequate filling in for Adam Vinatieri and, whether or not Vinatieri returns from injury for the Super Bowl, the Colts are guaranteed to have a Super Bowl winner kicking for them on February 7.

Coaching

So Jim Caldwell isn’t a master deceiver like Sean Payton and Andy Reid, a player’s coach like Mike Tomlin or a loudmouth like Rex Ryan. That doesn’t make him a bad coach. He altered virtually nothing on offense – why would he? – but brought in a new defensive co-ordinator to employ a more aggressive defensive scheme that accentuates Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis on the ends. He also seems cool under pressure and a solid clock manager. Lastly, his decision to rest starters down the stretch looks smart now, doesn’t it? So, while he’s not the most hands-on coach in the world, he’s no slouch either.

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