In Week 4 we saw high quality matchups between good teams and some highly entertaining games between some not so good teams. The Seahawks and Lions provided the entertainment in Sunday’s early games, while the Bills showed their class to beat the Ravens. And in the late window the Chiefs finally got revenge for their Super Bowl LV loss against the Buccaneers.
The AFC route to the Super Bowl is looking very likely to go through either Kansas City or Buffalo, with Philadelphia the early favourites in the NFC. The Eagles underlined their credentials against Jacksonville on Sunday, showing that they are able to win by any means necessary.
But unfortunately the week was somewhat overshadowed by injuries. We all know what happened with Tua a week ago but we also saw several big name running backs go down over the weekend, including two that were supposed to feature in Thursday Night Football.
Indianapolis Colts +3.5 @ Denver Broncos: 41.5
This wasn’t exactly a matchup that jumped off the screen a week ago but after injuries to Jonathan Taylor and Javonte Williams over the weekend it has become an even more uninspiring prospect. Sadly Williams is lost for the season for the Broncos but it looks like Taylor is only going to miss a week or two. It’s a real shame for both the players and their teams, who have been struggling offensively even with their star players.
It leaves tonight’s game as a matchup between two underwhelming quarterbacks on new teams and two groups of backup running backs. We will see a combination of Nyheim Hines, Phillip Lindsay and Deon Jackson for the Colts and Melvin Gordon, Mike Boone and potentially Latavius Murray for the Broncos. Lucky us!
The Colts seem to change quarterback every season and if you believe Nyhiem Hines, the lack of consistency is a key reason why they tend to struggle getting things going early on every season. There is probably something in that and I’m sure they will work things out to some degree during the season, but I think it’s fair to say they are unlikely to live up to their preseason billing of division favourites and their projected win total of 10.5. And realistically with the way Matt Ryan has been playing, they are probably going to be looking for their fifth new starting quarterback since Andrew Luck’s retirement in 2019.
Statistically Ryan hasn’t performed that much worse than last year but it hasn’t been pretty to watch. He is averaging just over 280 passing yards per game which is actually top six in the league but you would be forgiven for thinking it was bottom six if you’d watched the games. The Broncos are allowing just 193 yards per game and given Ryan’s line is as high as 234.5 in some places, I would lean the under. My favourite bet on Ryan is for him to throw an interception at 20/23 with Bet365.
The receiving corps in Indianapolis is mainly Michael Pittman with rookie Alec Pierce and a few other guys mixed in. Pittman should hit the over on his lines of 5.5 receptions and 65.5 yards and the Colts will certainly need him to if they want to win the game. But I think I will avoid given the Broncos secondary are allowing just 118 yards per game to opposing receivers. If you wanted to you could look at taking the under on some of their other guys like Parris Campbell, Kyle Granson, Ashton Dulin who have all proven to be very inconsistent.
Without Taylor for this game the backfield is going to be a little messy. Nyheim Hines is the normal passing down back and so he is probably going to get a little more early down work than normal with Lindsay and Jackson rotating for the rest of the snaps. Hines has shown that he can produce when given the opportunity in the past, but the only bet I would be looking at for him with any confidence is for him to go over 27.5 receiving yards.
Just like the Colts, the Broncos seem to change QB every year but the difference is that they have signed Wilson up for the long term after giving him a new five year deal in the off-season. But similar to Ryan, Wilson and the Broncos offense has been awful to watch so far and he is on course for career lows in most stats.
Wilson’s passing line tonight varies from 223.5 up to 231.5 and it is tough to see him not going over 223.5 given the lack of Javonte Williams in the running game. But I will be avoiding, as he hasn’t hit that number in a home game yet this year.
Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton have both had their moments and it appears as though Sutton is emerging as the Wilson’s number one target. He has 24 catches for 343 yards compared to Jeudy’s 11 for 183. I like Sutton to score a touchdown in this one at 6/4 and would lean towards the overs on the totals of 62.5 for Sutton and 48.5 for Jeudy, but I just think it’s tough to trust this offense.
Prior to Javonte’s injury, it looked as though the Broncos had finally handed the backfield over to him with Gordon not being able to stop fumbling. But it looks like it will be back to a committee with Gordon likely taking on a slight majority of the touches from Boone (as it looks like Murray will be inactive). If I was to take a bet on Gordon I think it would be the over on his receiving line, which is 12.5 yards.
It’s hard to see a win for the Colts in this game, especially without their primary weapon on offense. The only game they have won this season was really a case of the Chiefs throwing it away and I think the Broncos defense will be too much for their struggling offense. So, the Broncos should win and cover.
The under is also a strong bet given combined they average just 31 points per game.