Raiders vs Colts Picks, Prediction: NFL Week 10
Billie Weiss/Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Ehlinger.
Raiders vs. Colts Odds
The prompt is to talk about what excites me about this game or what doesn't, and I could not think of a less exciting game.
Sure, we have a ton of "awesome" media coverage about Jim Irsay's insane decision to hire a failed high school football coach, and the Raiders' uncanny ability to blow 17-point leads, but the game on the field will likely be ugly.
Jeff Saturday now heads up Indianapolis, and Sam Ehlinger remains behind center. Talk about two absolute unknowns when prognosticating a game.
On the other side of the ball, Josh McDaniels continues to vastly underachieve as a head coach. I honestly don't know who I would rather have: a former center who couldn't get a high school team above .500, or a proven failed head coach.
I can't think of an argument for McDaniels outside of a small sample size. This Raiders team has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, is rated favorably in the market, yet somehow finds a way to blow games. It's remarkable.
Raiders vs Colts Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Raiders and Colts match up statistically:
Raiders vs Colts DVOA Breakdown
Despite all the negative press, these teams do some things well.
The Colts have an above-average defense and thrive against the run specifically. The defense is fifth in Rush DVOA but now faces one of the best rushing offenses in the league with Josh Jacobs leading the charge.
The Raiders have a ton of potential at offense, but they sputter when ahead and Derek Carr makes costly mistakes. Despite blowing leads and putting up a zero in New Orleans, I have the Raiders offense rated higher than its performance to date.
While the Colts have played a ton of low-scoring affairs and have a seemingly stout defensive squad, they haven't played a good offense outside of the Chiefs in Week 3. The counter argument to Chiefs underperforming and ultimately losing to the Colts was the situational spot. Indianapolis was coming off a tie and a shutout loss, coming home to the dome against one of the top three teams in the league. It was their biggest game of the season, and a tough road spot for the Chiefs. We were actually on the Colts in that game, and it did not feel good but hey, we cashed.
Colts +4.5 | Raiders -4.5
It is no mystery that their offense has underperformed, which resulted in Ehlinger starting and then Frank Reich being fired. There's no reason to expect their 32nd ranked offense to start playing well with Saturday coaching. Maybe their line will start to improve? Who knows. Literally, who knows.
Looking at the Colts' road performances this season. Indianapolis has played Houston, Jacksonville, Denver, Tennessee and New England, allowing an average of 19.6 points per game. The Colts tied Houston to start the season, got shut out against Jacksonville, beat Denver in probably the second-worst Thursday Night Football game of the year, and then lost handedly to both Tennessee and New England. Nothing to write home about for Indianapolis on the road.
The good news for us is that these two teams have played several similar opponents, and they've performed similarly against them, giving us a solid baseline for analysis.
Based on these results and the lines being set in those contests, the Raiders are about one to two points better than the Colts on a neutral field. Obviously, this is in Las Vegas, so let's look at how they perform against the market expectation in those situations.
Somehow, Las Vegas has only played three home games to date. They collapsed against the Cardinals at home as 5.5-point favorites, then won solidly against the Broncos as 2.5-point favorites. The Raiders' most recent home game came against the lowly Texans, where they blew them out and won by 18. (That was huge for my survivor league, let me tell ya.)
Anyway, let's get a bet, huh?
Looking at similar opponents and home/road trends for each team, we see the Colts vastly underperform against the market, especially on the road, and Las Vegas overperform at home.
As I've stated above, this is not a game I will be keen on watching, but we can surely expect a ton of headlines to come out of it. I'm going to assume that we have little difference with Saturday at the helm (some people like a new coach to inject life, this just does not seem like the team for that), and that Ehlinger remains, well, Ehlinger.
Again, given the market valuations of each team, and their relative efficiencies to date, I have the spread projected at 5.3, so I'm showing an edge to the Raiders here at home. This aligns with the 1-2 point favorite on a neutral field logic I gave above.
Beyond having a good number, Las Vegas performs well at home, and is coming back off of two tough losses. I expect Carr to actually produce this weekend, and McDaniels needs to put some wins on the board to keep his job. Let's take the Raiders -4.5.
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