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Why the Colts can cover

Make no mistake: The sharp money is on the Indianapolis Colts to win the Super Bowl.

The Colts opened as 4-point favorites to dump the New Orleans Saints this Sunday; the early Super Bowl betting action was heavy on Indianapolis, moving the spread as high as six points. While it’s true both the Colts and Saints are public favorites, squares are more likely to wait until Super Bowl weekend to place their bets.

The point spread will shrink before game time if enough New Orleans money comes rolling in.

So why do the sharps have such confidence in the Colts? You can’t argue with their record: 14-2 SU and 10-5-1 ATS in the regular season, plus a pair of impressive playoff wins over the Baltimore Ravens (+6.5) and the New York Jets (+8).

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The two losses in question may count in the standings, but they shouldn’t play into your handicapping, since Indianapolis gave those two games away by resting the first unit. The Colts are as good as undefeated this year.

The Saints are 4-3 SU and 1-6 ATS in their last seven – give them the same benefit of the doubt on their last two regular-season games, and that’s still 1-4 ATS.

Although squares often place too much importance on the quarterback, he is still the most important man on the field, and the Colts happen to have the league’s Most Valuable Player in Peyton Manning. He has proved himself very difficult to overestimate. [ {{URL=http://www.oddsshark.com/Stats/Matchup/Football/NFL/9150}Matchup Report{/URL} ]

Manning earned his fourth MVP with 33 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions, and his patchwork offensive line came through by allowing only 10 sacks, the fewest in Manning’s career. If that weren’t enough, Manning was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLI after the Colts (-6.5) beat the Chicago Bears 29-17. (If you think he will win the Super Bowl MVP again, there are tempting odds at Bovada as well on that outcome).

He’s been here before. Drew Brees and the Saints have not.

Every star needs a supporting cast, and Manning has one of the top wideouts in the NFL in Reggie Wayne (100 catches, 10 TDs). But opponents who focus on defending Wayne are easy pickings for newcomers Austin Collie (60 catches, seven TDs) and Pierre Garcon (47 catches, four TDs), while tight end Dallas Clark (100 catches, 10 TDs) mops up everything underneath.

The Indy run game isn’t as stout as years past (Joseph Addai has just 3.8 yards per carry to go with his 10 TDs), but the Colts use it wisely to keep the offense balanced. The New Orleans run defense finished the year ranked No. 29 in the league in efficiency after losing LB Scott Fujita (45 tackles in 11 games) for the season.

Finally, here are some important betting trends in favor of the Colts this Sunday. Can they cover? Yes they can.

6-2 ATS in their last eight playoff games.
7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite.
5-0-1 ATS in their last six games against winning teams.
5-0 ATS in their last five playoff games as a favorite between 3.5 and 10 points.

Click {URL=http://www.oddsshark.com/betting-advice/super-bowl-betting}here to read more {/URL}Super Bowl betting stories here at OddsShark.com.