Colts vs. Chargers Betting Odds & Predictions: Should Indy Be This Big of an Underdog?

Colts vs. Chargers Betting Odds & Predictions: Should Indy Be This Big of an Underdog? article feature image
Credit:

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jacoby Brissett

Colts at Chargers Betting Odds

  • Odds: Chargers -6.5
  • Total: 45
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

All odds above are as of Thursday and via PointsBet.

This matchup looks a lot different than it did just a few weeks ago.

Andrew Luck retired. Melvin Gordon is holding out. And stud safety Derwin James (foot) has been placed on Injured Reserve.

The Chargers have moved from 3- to 6.5-point favorites following Luck’s retirement. But is there hope for Jacoby Brissett and the Colts on the road? Our experts compare their projections to the odds and reveal their favorite picks in this comprehensive betting guide.

Colts-Chargers Injury Report

The Colts are dealing with some injuries as defensive end Jabaal Sheard missed practice with a knee injury, cornerback Kenny Moore (thumb) got in a limited session and the same goes for Devin Funchess (back).

Ideally, they’d would prefer to have Sheard suit up since he led the team in pressures, hurries and quarterback hits last season.

However, the Chargers are in worse shape on the injury/holdout front since they’ll be without left tackle Russell Okung (PUP) and Melvin Gordon (holdout), while James (foot) is on IR. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Chargers -6
  • Projected Total: 44

This line was Chargers -3 when Luck shocked the NFL with his retirement. I figured the line would bump up to Chargers -7 or -7.5, which it did, but it’s since been bet down to -6.5.

I have this graded as Chargers -6, creating some slight value on the Colts.

Gordon is set to miss the game due to his holdout. While I realize #RBsDontMatter — and that’s largely true when it comes to point spreads — the Chargers will also be without James (IR). Both key players being out could be worth a half-point or so to the spread.

While Brissett is a drop-off from Luck, he’s still one of the better backups in the league. He started for the Colts in 2017 but was thrown into the fire after being acquired right before Week 1, had a poor offensive line, poor coaching and not as many weapons. All of those factors have changed for the better, making him likely to succeed this time around.

Let’s not forget that while Luck had been sidelined all offseason with his ankle/calf injury, Brissett was working with the starters the entire time. I’d lean Colts +6.5 here. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Chargers’ Offensive Line vs. Colts’ Defensive Line

The Colts run a pretty unique defensive scheme. They ran more zone than any NFL team last season and were the highest-MOFO (middle of the field, aka no single high safety) defense. Their primary objective was to keep everything in front of them and limit big plays with safety help over the top.

Now, if they aren’t able to generate pressure, any elite quarterback can pick apart the Indy zone. The Colts fortunately had a very easy opponent QB schedule last season, but Philip Rivers and a group of elite receivers on the outside are more than capable of picking the Colts’ zone-based defense apart … if Rivers gets the time. And I’m just not sure the Chargers can give him that.

colts-chargers-betting-odds-pick-preview-nfl-week 1-2019
Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Philip Rivers

Keep your eyes on the matchup between the Colts’ newly-acquired DE Justin Houston (a top-five edge rusher last season) and Okung’s replacement, Trent Scott, an undrafted free agent who will be making his first career start at LT.

Scott will line up next to LG Dan Feeney, whose Pro Football Focus pass blocking grade (38.3) ranked last among 65 guards who played at least 500 snaps last season. And things don’t get much better at right tackle with Sam Tevi, who finished dead last in PFF’s pass blocking grades (40.2) among 64 tackles who played a minimum of 500 snaps last season.

If you can grab 7+, the look is Indianapolis because of the Colts’ advantage in the trenches.

Don’t sleep on the mass impact of James’ injury, either The All-Pro superstar played multiple roles and positions in Gus Bradley’s defense and his loss cannot be understated.

He’ll be sorely missed against the Colts, who love to run two tight end sets with Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle. The Chargers had issues covering TEs until the arrivals of James and fellow Pro Bowler Desmond King. There was no better duo at covering safeties.

Now, without James, veteran Adrian Phillips steps in. He’s not the worst backup, but he’s a significant downgrade in coverage: Among 65 safeties who played at least 300 snaps last season, Phillips was the only one who allowed more than one yard per snap.

Also, because the Chargers need him at safety, Phillips — a 2018 All Pro special teamer — won’t be participating on that unit. The same can be said for Austin Ekeler without Gordon. So, the perennially weak Chargers special teams unit will also take a hit without Gordon and James. Stuckey

Expert Pick

Chad Millman: Colts +6.5

Rule No. 1 in betting: Bookmakers live and die by public perception. And Luck is how most of the public perceives the Colts.

Not only was he the face of the franchise, not only did he retire unexpectedly, but the news broke during the first primetime college football game of the year, which led to a hastily arranged press conference afterward. As much as the fact Luck was retiring, the shock of the moment sent betting markets spiraling.

Before the news, the Colts had been 3-point underdogs to the Chargers. Afterward, the Luck-less Colts had moved to 7.5-point underdogs. Holy over-correction!

Wiseguys will tell you that the drop from Luck to Brissett was three points, maximum. And they backed up their beliefs by betting the Colts as 7.5-point underdogs, 7-point underdogs and even as 6.5-point underdogs. That is where the number is still sitting, even with 66% of the bets coming in on Los Angeles (check out our odds page for up-to-date info). I’ll be on the Colts.