Colts vs. Bills Odds, Predictions, Picks: Indianapolis’ Run Game Will Keep It Close Enough To Cover NFL Spread
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan Taylor.
- In search of the latest Colts vs. Bills odds? Find the spread and over/under in our guide to betting this Week 11 NFL matchup below.
- With bad weather and a ground-and-pound offense, our analyst likes Indianapolis' chances to cover on Sunday.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
After starting 0-3, the Colts have won five of their past seven. There is only one problem with those wins: They all came against teams currently under .500. The two losses in that same span came against the Titans and Ravens, the only teams with winning records they played. To the Colts’ credit, they were able to keep those games close and force overtime. With five of their next seven opponents having winning records, the Colts will need to find a way to close out those close games.
Buffalo faces the same question because of its schedule. Five of its six wins have come against struggling teams and its only impressive win was against the Chiefs during their offensive identity-crisis phase. What makes the Bills special in the eyes of analytics is how they have won. Despite being a game and a half away from the best record, they still hold the best point differential. With the schedule toughening in the coming weeks, Buffalo will have its chance to live up to that massive differential.
Both of these teams will now need to show they can continue that success against tougher competition. Let’s take a deeper dive and see who starts their tough stretch with a win this weekend.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Colts vs. Bills Injury Report
- LB Darius Leonard (ankle/hand): Questionable
- LB Tremaine Edmunds (hamstring): Questionable
Colts vs. Bills Matchup
|Colts Offense||DVOA Rank||Bills Defense|
|Colts Defense||DVOA Rank||Bills Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Colts Have Relied on Early Leads
It’s no secret the Colts have built their offense around their stud running back Jonathan Taylor, and he has not disappointed. Taylor currently ranks second in yards after contact per carry, per Pro-Football-Reference. In addition to being a power running grinder, Taylor has flashed his big-play potential. In each of his past seven games, Taylor has broken through the defense for at least one 30-yard gain.
Taylor’s ability to bust out big plays early has allowed a lot of weight to be taken off Carson Wentz’s shoulders. Against the Bills though, Wentz may not be able to ride an early lead and play conservatively. So far this year, while tied or trailing, Wentz’s quarterback rating is under 90.0, per Pro-Football-Reference, and it is the only time he has thrown interceptions. The Bills will not stumble as most of the Colts’ other opponents have early. Wentz will need to play better when the game is tight.
Much like Wentz, an explosive offense could put the Colts defense in an uncomfortable position. This season, Indianapolis has been very middle-of-the-pack down to down. The Colts rank 17th in yards allowed per drive and 15th in points allowed per drive. What has helped them overcome those deficiencies though has been their ability to force turnovers. Indy currently ranks second in turnovers forced with 21, largely because of its 11 taken away fumbles. It will be interesting to see what remains for this defense if the turnover luck fades.
How Will Bills Run D Perform?
The starting point for all things Buffalo Bills is which Josh Allen will show up. Last week, we saw perfect Josh Allen, delivering strikes left and right and setting his offense up well. Two weeks ago, we saw the bottom of the barrel for Allen against Jacksonville. He tried repeatedly to make big plays while under pressure, and his tendency to push the envelope led to disaster.
There will be two things working in Allen’s favor this week though. First is a potential pivot in the Bills’ game plan after the Jacksonville debacle. On the year, Buffalo used three wide-receiver sets on 67% of their plays. Last week, this dropped to only 48% and led to more run-oriented formations. This allowed Buffalo to force an extra man in the box to guard the run while also allowing them to utilize more protection.
The second is the Colts’ struggles rushing the passer. Indianapolis ranks fifth-worst at pressure opposing quarterbacks with a 19.3% pressure rate, per Pro-Football-Reference. This is a good opportunity to build some offensive confidence before a tough stretch of defenses against the Saints, Patriots, Buccaneers, Panthers and Patriots again.
Defensively, the Bills have been outstanding this season. They are pretty much top-ranked in every stat: points allowed, yards allowed, turnovers, points per drive, net yards per attempt allowed. There is a slight fall-off against the run where they only rank third in yards allowed and yards per attempt. This has come against a group of underwhelming offenses, but it is still impressive.
The one major blemish on the defense’s resume was against the Titans. A healthy Derrick Henry ate the Bills alive for 143 rushing yards and three touchdowns. They will face a similarly scary rushing attack against the Colts’ elite offensive line and Jonathan Taylor. They will need to show the NFL world that the Titans game is no more than a blemish on their otherwise excellent year.
NFL Pick: Colts vs. Bills
If this were college football, a playoff committee would be looking at both teams’ resumes and asking where is the wow. The only real difference that stands out is Buffalo’s win against the Chiefs, but even that could get an asterisk. Fortunately, while these teams have performed similarly, particularly as of late, the spread does not treat it that way. Add in that it will likely be cold, windy and rainy, and a touchdown spread is too much.
The Colts already prefer a conservative game plan thanks to their offensive line and running backs. They will have no problem grounding and pounding their way through the Bills and asking Wentz to not do too much.
The Bills, on the other hand, rely on their passing game and ability to stretch the field. Josh Allen does have a rocket for an arm, but wind and a wet ball can put a damper on any passing attack.
I still expect Buffalo to win this one outright, but a touchdown in bad conditions against a run-first team is too much. Take the points and back the Colts to cover.
Pick: Colts +7 | Bet to: +7
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