Raiders vs. Colts Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Bet Over/Under With Carson Wentz Cleared To Play In Week 17
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Carson Wentz.
Editor's note: Carson Wentz officially cleared COVID protocols on Sunday morning and is set to play in NFL Week 17.
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The Colts are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, having won three straight games and six of their last seven. Their only loss was a tough 38-31 home battle to Tampa Bay. Indianapolis currently sits fifth in the AFC, and it can officially punch a ticket to the playoffs here this week.
The Raiders, meanwhile, are looking to win their third game in a row to stay alive in the race for the final playoff spot in the AFC. Las Vegas owns close wins over Cleveland and Denver and is now looking for its fifth road win of the season.
Which team should bettors back in this critical battle with huge AFC playoff implications?
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Raiders vs. Colts Injury Report
- DT Jonathan Hankins (back): Questionable
- S Andrew Sendejo (concussion): Out
- QB Carson Wentz (COVID): Questionable
- T Eric Fisher (knee): Questionable
- G Mark Glowinski (illness): Questionable
Raiders vs. Colts Matchup
|Raiders Offense||DVOA Rank||Colts Defense|
|Raiders Defense||DVOA Rank||Colts Offense|
|Football Outsiders' DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team's success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Raiders Offense Struggling Mightily Without Waller
Las Vegas is a very average squad when looking through the lens of team DVOA. The Raiders have specifically struggled defensively, ranking behind a disappointing Chicago defense and slightly ahead of Seattle. Offensively, Las Vegas hasn't been much better. The Raiders haven't scored more than 17 points in any of their last four games.
The Raiders have really missed the presence of their best offensive player, tight end Darren Waller. He hasn't played since hurting his back on Thanksgiving against Dallas, and his absence leaves the Raiders without a critical passing target on third down, placing too much pressure on a well-below average wide receiver core.
I project the Raiders to skew toward a run-heavy approach, led by lead back Josh Jacobs. However, they are facing a Colts defense that has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.
It is difficult to see how Las Vegas can generate enough points to beat Indianapolis, especially since its defense has averaged just 1.7 sacks per game in the past three contests. Whether the Raiders can cover, potentially against a backup quarterback, is a different story.
Colts Offense Powered By Elite Running Game
Carson Wentz was activated off the COVID-19/reserve list on Saturday, opening the door for him to suit up this week. He's still questionable with final clearance to come on Sunday, but the expectation is he'll be good to go. If he isn't, sixth-round rookie Sam Ehlinger will make his first career start. Ehlinger hasn't thrown a single pass this season, so his first action would be in a critical matchup with massive playoff implications.
Either way, Wentz missed practice all week and its almost certain the Colts will rely on Jonathan Taylor, the NFL's leading rusher with 1,626 yards. Prior to last week's 108-yard performance that saw the Cardinals keep him out of the end zone, Taylor had tallied a mind-blowing 11 consecutive overall RB10 or better performances. He has 19 total touchdowns in just the past 11 weeks.
Taylor will face a stout challenge, though, against a Las Vegas defense that actually is decent against the run, which is the only thing that unit is somewhat respectable against.
Indianapolis ranks dead-last in the NFL in neutral game script pace, averaging 33.53 second per play. The only situation that causes the Colts to even approach a league-average pace is when they are trailing by seven points or more. I don't anticipate that happening in this game.
Raiders vs. Colts Predictions
Indianapolis is 10-5 overall against the spread (ATS) but just 4-4 at home. Las Vegas is 6-9 ATS, but 3-4 on the road.
If Carson Wentz somehow isn't fully cleared on Sunday and Sam Ehlinger is ruled as the starter, I am grabbing the seven points with Las Vegas. While the Raiders have not been impressive, the conservative Indianapolis play-calling and snail's pace should keep this game close.
If Wentz is the starter — which is looking more likely — I am not betting this spread. I believe in his ability to connect with leading receiver Michael Pittman and would not want to bet against a Colts team that is one of the NFL's hottest squads at the moment.
In both scenarios, I am gladly taking the under 44.5-point total. I believe the Las Vegas defense should somewhat limit Jonathan Taylor, keeping this total low.
Pick: Under 44.5 | Bet to: Under 44
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