Colts vs Broncos Picks: Our 4 Thursday Night Football Best Bets
Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Ryan (left) and Russell Wilson.
- The 2-2 Broncos are home favorites tonight against the Colts.
- Indianapolis is 1-2-1, and its only win came against the Chiefs in Week 3.
- Check out our favorite betting picks for Thursday Night Football below.
Colts vs. Broncos Odds
|Colts Odds||+3.5 (-115)|
|Broncos Odds||-3.5 (-105)|
|Moneyline||+150 / -185|
|Over/Under||42 (-110 / -110)|
Colts vs. Broncos Picks
Brandon Anderson: What was once a potential AFC playoff preview now feels like an early elimination game. The Colts have the worst offensive and rushing DVOA in the league, and now Jonathan Taylor is an injury question mark. Denver has been almost as bad running the ball and just lost Javonte Williams.
Could that weirdly end up helping the Broncos? It might force them to pass more, and that's where Denver's been better. This is the sort of game you get Russell Wilson for. He's 29-18-4 ATS (62%) after a loss and 15-7-2 ATS (68%) at home in primetime. It's also a bad spot for the Colts as a road Thursday underdog coming off a multi-game home stand (35% ATS).
I lean Broncos but prefer the under. Indianapolis unders are 4-0 and the Colts have little chance against a good Denver defense. Broncos unders are 3-1 themselves after going 12-5 last year, and Denver isn't exactly scoring well either. Thursday night unders are 3-1 after 11-5 last season. These teams have only gone over 43 once in their eight games this season.
Chris Raybon: Gordon has a lot working against him clearing his rushing prop tonight.
First and foremost is his fumbling issue, which could have an impact on how much he sees the field even with Javonte Williams lost for the season with a torn ACL. Gordon has already put the ball on the ground four times this season, and seven times in his last 13 games dating back to last season. His most recent one came just four days ago and got him benched for third-stringer Mike Boone, who out-snapped Gordon 19-10 against the Raiders.
Even if Gordon starts the game, as expected, it's highly likely that Boone enters early and often to form a committee — just as Gordon did with Javonte Williams. Boone's snap count has every week (3, 7, 14, 19), and he's averaging 6.2 yards per touch to Gordon's 4.2.
If you read between the lines of offensive coordinator Justin Outten's so-called "endorsement" of Gordon, you can see that he immediately brings up Boone in the next breath … and then goes on to wonder aloud who else he can use in place of Gordon.
“With Melvin he’s going to carry the load obviously," Outten said. "We’ll have a mix of Boone and after that, we’ve got to figure out who can spell and who feels best in that position."
If you trust a guy to carry the load, you're not openly wondering aloud to the media about a theoretical replacement that's not even on the roster yet (the candidates are the newly signed Latavius Murray and practice squadder Devine Ozigbo).
On top of the uncertainty about Gordon's planned role, there's also the possibility of another fumble, which will almost certainly plaster him to the bench for the remainder of the game.
And even if Gordon's seizes the opportunity and protects the rock all night, this is still a brutal matchup. Per Football Outsiders, the Colts rank second in run-defense DVOA (-28.4%), third in stuff rate (26%), and second in second-level yards allowed per carry(0.50). Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who ranks eighth of 124 qualifiers in PFF run-defense grade (76.8), practiced in full this week and was left off of the final injury report after playing just 35% of the defensive snaps last week due to an elbow injury.
Gordon is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry with a long of 13 this season. The Denver offensive line has afforded its halfbacks just 0.97 yards before contact per carry this season, which is 27th in the NFL.
I'm projecting Gordon for under 50 rushing yards tonight and would take this down to 50.5.
Nick Bretwisch: The Colts have already had a horrific time generating offensive production (32nd in overall Offensive DVOA and 32nd in Rush DVOA). They're simply going to need to move the football in creative ways to stay in this game.
Denver's defense almost exclusively runs Cover-3 and Cover-4 zone defenses, but it also has a top-five blitz rate in the NFL. When faced with Cover-3, Cover-4 and blitz-heavy opponents, Matt Ryan leans on his lower Average Depth of Target (ADOT) pass catchers in Michael Pittman, his running backs and tight-ends.
Yes, we'll likely see some Kylen Granson, but over the past two weeks, Mo Allie-Cox has been the clear-cut TE1 on this team. In that time period, Allie-Cox has over 20% more snaps than Granson, while running 20 more routes — not to mention big Mo has led this entire Colts team in Yards After Catch since Week 2.
This number at 18.5 receiving yards at -110 is simply a price bookmakers should have thought twice about before posting.
Sam Farley: When Javonte Williams went down on Sunday, it was a hammer blow to the Broncos. The running back has been hugely impressive since being drafted in the second round of last year's NFL draft. Since the injury the Broncos have swooped to grab Latavius Murray, who will form a committee along with Gordon and Boone.
The focus will be on Denver's backs but the most important thing to remember in this game is how good the Colts run defense is. Indianapolis has allowed an average of just 89.5 yards along the ground, the sixth-lowest total in the league. Combine that with a running back room consisting of a fumbling Gordon and a newly acquired Murray, it makes sense for the Broncos to target the passing game.
Jerry Jeudy erupted for 102 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 before an injury slowed him down for the next two weeks. Last Sunday, fully healthy he was targeted five times, hauling in four for 53 yards and a TD.
I expect Jeudy to be targeted more on Thursday night and to eclipse the line of 51.5 receiving yards. I'd take this bet for anything up to 56.5.