Pro Bettors Causing Jaw-Dropping Shift in Colts vs. Falcons Odds

The odds have shifted rapidly due to sharp money in the NFL Week 16 game between the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons

Nov 26, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith on the sideline against
Nov 26, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith on the sideline against / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

This Sunday's interconference game between the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons has huge implications for both team's playoff chances.

Not only is this game a pivotal matchup for the playoff picture, but we're seeing something extremely peculiar happen with the odds in this game throughout the week. The Colts originally opened up as 1-point favorites when the lines were first released on Sunday night. Indianapolis then moved to a 2-point favorite by Monday night.

Since then, the line has continued to move in Atlanta's favor. Now, as of writing this article on Thursday afternoon, the line has completely flipped and the Falcons are now listed as 2.5-point favorites.

So, what does that mean exactly? Well, let's dive into it.

Latest Colts vs. Falcons odds

If you aren't familiar with betting, allow me to explain what the point spread means. Right now, the Falcons are -2.5. That means if you bet on the Falcons to cover the spread they would need to win by three or more points for you to win your bet. If the Falcons win by just one or two points, or the Colts win the game, Colts +2.5 would be the winning side.

Generally speaking, the point spread is supposed to make betting on the side a 50/50 chance. In theory, if the game was played under the exact same scenario one million times, the average final score of those one million games would have the Falcons winning by approximately 2.5 points.

As we get closer to kick-off, the spread number is theoretically supposed to get more accurate as we get more information and the final number before kickoff.

What causes line movement?

There are two main reasons why a spread or "line" would move leading up to a game, like in this example where the Colts have moved from -2 to +2.5.

The most common reason and the one that usually causes the most significant change is injury news. A starting quarterback is announced as out of the game, a key player's injury flares up in practice that week, a big trade is announced, etc. In this scenario, it makes sense why the line would move. Obviously, for example, a team shouldn't be evaluated the same if their backup quarterback is playing instead of their All-Pro starter.

The other common reason for line movement is what's called "sharp money" or "pro money". This is one professional bettors who make a living betting 10s of thousands of dollars at a time on sports, and place big bets on games. If a sportsbook receives big money bets from players they have identified as "sharp", they will move the line to a more accurate number to reflect that "sharp money" may know more than they do.

Remember, it's not sportsbooks themselves that truly set a line. They set the original line but then move the number, often quickly, based on which side the pros are betting on.

This seems to be the case in this game. There has been no major injury news and the news that has come out has been in the Colts' favor with positive news surrounding Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman's status. Sure, Taylor Heinicke being named the starter may have started the initial movement in the Falcons' favor, but it still had moved another 1.5 points just this afternoon.

So, the only logical explanation left is that professional bettors have been hammering the Falcons all week. We rarely see 4.5 points of line movement in an NFL game based on sharp action alone.

This is all to say it's good news for Falcons fans. The majority of "sharp" bettors out there think the Falcons have a solid chance of winning this game and staying alive in the playoff hunt.

If you want to get in on the action yourself and bet on the Falcons like the pros are doing, you should do so at DraftKings Sportsbook. If you click the link below and sign up for an account, you'll receive $150 in bonus bets if your $5 bet on the Falcons this weekend wins!

Bet $5 on the Falcons, win $150 in bonus bets at DraftKings if they win!

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.