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Please find below a typical 5 Star Club selection and corresponding analysis that my clients have grown to expect:

5 STAR CLUB INVESTMENT (Saturday, January11, 2014; 8:15 p.m. eastern time)

New England Patriots (-6.5) (-123) over Indianapolis Colts

Investment Advice: The Patriots are a 5* investment at -7 or less and become a 4* investment at -7.5 points. Please note that this investment was originally released to members on Sunday, January 5, at which time I instructed everyone to buy a 1/2-point to -6.5.

Analysis: The betting public is enamored by the fact that Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck led the Colts to the second biggest comeback win in playoff history over Kansas City last week, but that feat does not take away from the fact that the Colts are a below-average team from the line of scrimmage. The biggest concern for Indianapolis is a porous defense that is allowing 4.5 yards per rush play, 7.0 yards per pass play and 5.9 yards per play to teams that would combine to average just 4.1 yards per rush play, 6.6 yards per pass attempt and 5.5 yards per play. Overall, the Colts are 0.4 yards per rush play, 0.4 yards per pass play and 0.4 yards per play worse than average defensively this season, which is not indicative of a playoff-caliber team.

Now, the Colts have to face a New England offense that is averaging 30.4 points per game at home on 392 total yards per game. Moreover, New England’s offense enters postseason play in excellent form as evidenced by the fact that the Patriots are averaging 31.7 points on 378 total yards in their last three regular season contests. Overall, the Patriots are 0.3 yards per rush play, 0.1 yards per pass play and 0.2 yards per play better than average offensively, which is certainly good enough to move the ball against Indianapolis’ defense.

New England Offense vs. Indianapolis Defense

  • +0.7 yards per rush play advantage
  • +0.5 yards per pass play advantage
  • +0.6 yards per play advantage overall

What I find most fascinating is how the media portrays Indianapolis as having an explosive offense when, in fact, it is mediocre at best. The Colts are averaging 25.6 points per game at 4.3 yards per rush play, 6.6 yards per pass play and 5.7 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 4.1 yards per rush play, 5.5 yards per pass attempt and 5.5 yards per play to a mediocre offensive squad. Those numbers tell us that Indianapolis is just 0.2 yards per play better than average offensively, while being pedestrian through the air (6.6 yards per pass play against teams that would combine to allow 6.6 yards per pass play). Based on the empirical data, it is insulting to suggest that the Colts have a good offense and, further, it is offensive to assert that Andrew Luck is an elite NFL quarterback.

The largest disparity between these two teams may rest in their respective special teams as Indianapolis has one of the league’s worst units, whereas the Patriots have one of the best. The Colts’ coverage units have been terrible all season as they are yielding 25.4 yards per kick return and 13.4 yards per punt return. Meanwhile, New England is averaging 24.0 yards per kick return (24.8 yards at home) and 10.7 yards per punt return so field position will certainly benefit the Patriots Saturday. In addition, New England is limiting opponents to just 18.9 yards per kick return and 7.0 yards per punt return at home this season.

From a technical standpoint, home teams off a playoff loss the previous season are 18-4 SU and 16-6 ATS with rest in Game One of the playoffs the next season. And, the fact that Indianapolis scored 45 points last week is actually a bad omen in that teams that score 40 or more points are a money-burning 3-13 ATS in their next game. Finally, New England’s experience cannot be discounted as the Patriots have 31 players with playoff experience, while head coach Bill Belichick’s eighteen playoff wins are just behind Tom Landry (20) and Don Shula (19) in NFL history. New England’s vast playoff experience poses a significant disadvantage for Andrew Luck, who will be playing in his first road playoff game. Lay the points with the Patriots and invest with confidence.

Rating: 5*

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