This week at TheRX, we look at Thursday’s matchup with the Indianapolis Colts visiting the Denver Broncos at the Mile High stadium, Empower Field.
The Colts arrive on the back of an unexpected loss to the Tennessee Titans to go 1-1-2 for the opening four games, while the Broncos arrive banged up and hurt from Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
My initial instinct this week for this game’s betting picks is that we will be looking at a typical TNF game where points are a precious commodity, so be prepared for a tough battle of gridiron grind on Thursday night.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos
Thursday, October 06, 2022 – 08:15 PM EDT at Empower Field at Mile High
Spread: Indianapolis Colts +3 – Denver Broncos -3
Total: Over/Under 43.5
Indianapolis Colts: Team Analysis
Indianapolis Colts will be hoping this season doesn’t end up like recent ones. The expression “Groundhog Day” springs to mind after the opening four games.
Like previous years, hopes were high in Indy that this was to be the year, but the fear is that it’s going to be a case of deja vu. The signing of the star quarterback, Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons raised expectations, and 356 yards against the Titans on Sunday and 1100 overall in four games is a fair return.
The Lineup and Injuries
Injuries look likely to play their part, and all-pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard getting carted off on his delayed seasonal reappearance after back surgery didn’t help the cause and will be a problem going forward, particularly on this short week with injury protocols to circumvent.
Leonard isn’t the only serious injury worry as we head into Thursday as running back Jonathan Taylor tweaked his ankle. He would be a hurtful loss given his strong form for the Colts since his 2020 draft.
What Needs to Improve
Matt Ryan’s throwing yards aren’t everything if the team doesn’t convert them into touchdowns, and with only five throwing touchdowns scored, putting points on the board is the Colts’ problem so far.
With Mo Alie Cox and draft-pick Jelani Woods both having two score games but no other touchdowns, it suggests the offense is taking time to gel with Matt Ryan so there is hope as long as confidence doesn’t dip too low in the meantime.
Denver Broncos: Team Analysis
After being involved in tight low-scoring affairs during the opening three weeks of this NFL season, it came as a shock to see the high-scoring loss to the previously winless Las Vegas Raiders at the weekend.
Denver’s Main Issue
In previous previews, I had discussed the Broncos’ lack of points, given the off-season signing of an elite quarterback, Russell Wilson from the Seahawks being a concern.
Despite putting up over twenty points for the first time this season, the offense still looks slightly out of sync. To be honest, with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy scoring further touchdowns up front, it suggests they are settling in better than Wilson if anything.
Either way, as discussed previously, play calling –or lack of it– may be the problem, and Nathanial Hackett as head coach will be to blame should it continue.
During the loss to the Raiders, the Broncos suffered a couple of serious blows, with Javonte Williams suffering a concerning knee injury that’s likely to rule him out of the immediate future months, while linebacker Randy Gregory is also looking doubtful for Thursday.
The Broncos and Hackett’s tactics are often designed upwards from their solid defense and the loss of Gregory would potentially be a big blow to their core foundation.
Colts vs. Broncos: The Final Verdict
This week feels like a must-win match for the Indianapolis Colts’ playoff chances, as they need to avoid any further lack of confidence for Frank Reich’s team. They are a little banged up with Shaquille Leonard likely out and doubts about Jonathan Taylor’s ankle –even if he makes the line-up.
There looks a similar status quo in Denver, with Javonte Williams out and Randy Gregory doubtful, while scoring points has been routinely tough at Mile High.
I don’t fancy the Denver Broncos’ chances of posting over twenty points like last week, as they look to sure up things, meaning any team totals on the Broncos are a good bet to the under.
So, it comes down to, can the Indianapolis Colts break down the Broncos? I have my doubts on that too, given how poor the Colts have looked on the road this year so far.
All of that indicates that the safest and simplest option for a solid bet on this game seems to be for the match to go under the total points of 43.5 with Caesars Sportsbook.
NFL Pick: Under 43.5 Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook