Thu, Oct 9, 11:41am by Mike Randall
INDIANAPOLIS superstar quarterback Andrew Luck is the hottest player in the NFL.
And he has the Colts ($1.71 with BetEasy.com.au) absolutely blazing as they come in to Houston to take on the surprising Texans ($2.25 with BetFred.com.au).
Both sides are 3-2 and this is a game that will decide who gets the early lead in AFC South division.
Luck has been a man on a mission to start the 2014 season, finding his teammates for a league leading 14 touchdowns through the first five games and throwing for 1617 yards.
Huge numbers for the third year Colt who threw for 23 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons – he’s well on the way to shredding that mark.
The Colts have won the last three meetings with the Texans and will look to make it four in a row – not just against the Texans, but also on the 2014/15 season.
The Texans have one of the best defences in the NFL, but Luck is straight bossing it for the Colts and we expect them to hijack the points out of Houston.
If you look back on other Thursday night games this year, none of them have been close.
And the Colts have had two monster wins in their last three, with the best offence in the NFL.
If you’re looking for some value, you could do worse than back the Colts in the tri bet at Sportsbet.com.au, the -7.5 rated a juicy $3.38.
If you’re looking at game score, we think the Colts can eclipse the 24.5 points on offer at BetEasy.com.au at $2.16. They’ve cracked that score in three of their past four.
The Colts’ passing offence tops the league with 321.8 yards per game and ranks second overall 439.6 yards per game.
Surprisingly, key wide receivers Reggie Wayne (1) and TY Hilton (0) have scored just one touchdown between them, indicating the Colts have become a very diverse team now, capable of scoring from multiple positions.
“We’ve got some great runners, obviously some great catchers,” Luck says.
“I know when the ball can get in those guys’ hands and they get touches and feel that momentum, that good part of the game, they’re going to make plays.
“I do think we were in a good rhythm, and when you can get in that rhythm with good tempo and the way the guys are protecting up front, I don’t want to say it slows down but you do have a sense of comfortness, or whatever that is.”
After an 0-2 start, a 44-17 trouncing of the Jacksonville Jaguars, where the 25-year-old threw for four touchdowns and landed it on the chest of nine different receivers at least twice was backed up with another four touchdown throws in a 41-17 win over the Tennessee Titans.
The 25 year old became the only player in NFL history to throw for at least 370 yards, complete at least 70 per cent of his passes, throw four or more touchdowns and have one or no interceptions in consecutive games.
And then, last week, he threw for one TD, ran for another, and then milked the clock late to lead his side to a third straight win, this time over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Texans went 2-0 to start the season, knocking over RG3 and the Washington Redskins and then accounting for Oakland Raiders, before book ending a win over the Buffalo Bills with losses to the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
The Texans’ defence – headed up by the monstrous JJ Watt – leads the league with 12 takeaways through five games – and nine of those have come inside their own red zone.
Despite a disgusting 2-14 2013/14 season, the Texans have been rejuvenated, already eclipsing that record with new coach Bill O’Brien and new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, brought in from the Titans.
Although Fitzpatrick hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. His six interceptions are tied for worst in the league and, considering the Colts defence is ranked fourth for picks, he will probably hold that title outright after Thursday.
The Texans’ best player has been Arian Foster, who has crossed for three touchdowns and accumulated 404 rushing yards and 99 receiving yards.
But clouds over his gammy hammy and a blow up about Thursday night (Friday day in Australia), might hurt him this week.
“Thursday Night Football is pretty annoying for players,” Foster said.
“I don’t know one player that likes it.
“I really don’t know a fan that likes it, either.
“I think it’s just the league’s way to try to generate more revenue, but that’s what they are here for.”
Let’s hope, for Houston’s sake, he can get past his misgivings and put in a big one.
They’ll miss boom draft pick Jadeveon Clowney for this one, out with a meniscus injury. The good news for Texans’ fans is that he is slated for a return next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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