Colts vs. Broncos Odds
A matchup of two offenses without their star running backs takes center stage on Thursday Night Football, when the Colts travel to face the Broncos.
Denver is 2-2 under rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett, while Indianapolis is 1-2-1, though its only win came against the Chiefs.
Let’s try to find an edge in this game.
Colts vs. Broncos Game Analysis
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Colts vs. Broncos DVOA Breakdown
When the Colts have the ball
The Colts’ offense has been abysmal through the first four weeks of the season, ranking dead last in DVOA. Now they will be without their best player, Jonathan Taylor, this one.
Much of the blame can be placed on Matt Ryan, who looked like a demotion from Carson Wentz to start the season. Out of 32 qualified quarterbacks, Ryan ranks 23rd in adjusted net yards per attempt, 19th in QB and 27th in expected points added per play.
Ryan has played as a top 20-25 QB so far this season. His poor per-game EPA could most likely be attributed to him leading the league with nine fumbles this season, two of which gave the Titans the ball in the red zone last week and turned into 14 points. Those costly turnovers were devastating for the Colts early in the season, but I can’t imagine a veteran like Ryan continuing to make those kinds of mistakes. We also have to remember that in Week 2 he was without his best two WRs, which was one of many reasons for the Colts’ embarrassing 24-0 loss to the Jaguars.
The Colts have been a pretty even team this year, ranking 19th in early hit rate (in neutral situations). However, I expect them to be heavier with Taylor out of the lineup and they’ll likely run more packages with pass-catching specialist Nyheim Hines likely leading the backfield.
When the Broncos have the ball
The Broncos will also be without a start RB Javonte Williams, who suffered a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. However, the Broncos should be fine with Melvin Gordon and Mike Boone taking control of the backfield, and they also added Latavius Murray on Monday.
It’s also a game the Broncos will likely attack in the air since the Colts defense ranks second in DVOA against the run but 27th against the pass.
One of the issues that plagued the Broncos was their inability to score in the red zone. A very low 30% of red zone readers have resulted in a TD this season, which ranks dead last in the NFL. Two of those drives ended in a fumble inside the 10-yard line. I have to imagine that number will regress towards the league average, especially as Russell Wilson becomes more familiar with the new scheme.
Both offenses fell short of expectations and will be without their starting RBs this week.
I expect a more passing game plan from both teams, who are currently in the bottom six in the TD% red zone. I expect both teams to have better luck in the red zone in the future and that could happen as early as tonight. 80% of the action has been on the underside here, but I think that’s more of an overreaction to the first four weeks of the season.
I’m projecting that closer to 43.5, so I like the value we’re getting here, especially since 43 is a key number. It’s 42.5 at BetMGM and FanDuel, but you can get 42 in most other books.
I still consider this a “skinny” for now. Be sure to follow me in the Action app to be notified if I end up locking this bet.
Choose: lean towards over 42
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