Daily Bet: Jaguars +3 1/2 vs. Colts

Five reasons to grab the points with the Jaguars against the Colts, with a team that’s 1-7 overall and 0-4 at home vs. an opponent that’s 5-3 and riding a three-game winning streak; with a team that starts Blaine Gabbert at quarterback vs. an opponent that starts Andrew Luck at quarterback; with a team that lacks passion vs. an opponent that’s clearly (and heavily) inspired by a head coach who is battling leukemia:

1) Two weeks ago, the Colts went to Tennessee and beat the Titans 19-13 in overtime. Prior to that, their last road win came on Dec. 16, 2010 in Oakland (with Peyton Manning under center). In between, Indy lost 10 consecutive road games. That’s right: The Colts are 1-10 in their last 11 on the highway—including a 35-9 loss to the freaking Jets four weeks ago—and they’re laying points tonight.

2) Sticking with this theme, going back to the final game of the 2009 season, the Colts have played 20 road games. Record: 5 wins, 15 losses. Those five wins: 19-13 at the Titans in overtime; 31-26 at the Raiders; 30-28 at the Titans; 27-24 at the Redskins; 27-13 at the Broncos. Yep: The Colts have exactly one convincing victory in their last 20 contests outside of Indy.

3) The Jaguars have won three in a row and four of five against the Colts (both straight-up and against the number), including two home wins and a 22-17 victory in Indy back in Week 3 of this year. The last time Indy won in Jacksonville: Dec. 17, 2009 (a 35-31 final, as Manning beat David Garrard).

4) Two weeks ago, the woeful Jaguars went to Green Bay and outgained the mighty Packers 341-238 and trailed just 14-12 going into the fourth quarter (eventually losing 24-15 as a 16-point underdog). QB stats in that one: Gabbert went 27-for-49 for 303 yards and one TD; Aaron Rodgers went 22-for-35 for 186 yards and two TDs. My point: The Jags aren’t the horseshit team most football fans think they are.

5) Finally, to steal a joke from comedian Dennis Miller, local sportsbooks last week got stomped like a narc at a biker rally, first getting hit hard with Saturday college football, then getting obliterated in the NFL (favorites went 10-4 ATS in Week 9). Now, everybody and their mother (and their grandmother– and their great-grandmother) are on the Colts tonight. Do you really think the books are going to continue to get pummeled? What’s more, do you really think the Jaguars aren’t going to use all this as motivation?

Yep, it’s time for my “Contrarian Play of the Year”: Jaguars 23, Colts 20. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆

Wednesday’s Result: Cavaliers +4.5 at Warriors (loss)

Record: 64-53-1