2022 Indianapolis Colts betting preview

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The Colts missed the playoffs in 2021, and it cost Carson Wentz his job. A Week 18 loss to the Jaguars in a do-or-die situation probably should have inspired more change than just at quarterback, but when you can bring in a proven veteran like Matt Ryan, you can assume his effect on the team will reach further than just the strict boundaries of his position.

While Ryan's second chance to contend is the headliner as to why the Colts are the favorites to win the division, Jonathan Taylor made his bettors the big winners last season, cashing tickets that had him leading the league in rushing yards.

2022 season odds

Market  Odds (O/U)
Win total 10 (-115/-105)
Division -125
Conference +1100
Super Bowl +2200

The assumption here is that if the Colts had a more competent quarterback, they would've beaten the Jaguars at the end of last season and scored their 10th win. Sometimes, line-making can be that simple.

Schedule outlook

Week Opponent Lookahead line
1 @HOU -8
2 @JAX -4.5
3 KC +2.5
4 TEN -3
5 @DEN +3
6 JAX -7
7 @TEN PK
8 WSH -5
9 @NE PK
10 @LV +2
11 PHI -3
12 PIT -4.5
13 @DAL +2.5
15 @MIN PK
16 LAC +1
17 @NYG -3
18 HOU -10

Unlike the Titans, the Colts should be built to run up the score on lesser opponents. Unfortunately, they only have the Jaguars and Texans on the schedule - twice each - as teams they'll be favored against by around a touchdown or more. Like the Titans, Houston has seven games with lookahead lines inside of a field goal.

SWOT analysis

Strengths

Ryan's job description begins and ends with turnover avoidance. Wentz's lack of ball security cost the Colts a playoff spot last season in a conference that was more up for grabs than we ever imagined. This should be doable for a future Hall of Famer, as he gets to play with a running game as good or better than any he had with the Falcons. Taylor remains the best thing about the Colts, as the other offensive skill players have been inconsistent at best.

Weaknesses

Matt Pryor looks to be getting the promotion to starting left tackle after Eric Fisher was cut following a mediocre season. He wasn't the only one who disappointed in pass protection, as even Quenton Nelson (69.8 PFF rating) struggled to anchor a line charged with keeping Wentz upright.

Defensively, Yannick Ngakoue is this year's big addition. He'll finally give the Colts a more substantial pass rush, joining Kwity Paye and DeForest Buckner in a group that has to create more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Colts had trouble getting the Jaguars off the field in both matchups and gave up 59 points in two losses to Tennessee.

Opportunities

Taylor is the favorite for the rushing title, but a repeat is a big ask for him at +450. In fact, taking the under on his rushing yards is probably the more prudent play. His career season is naturally going to inflate expectations, and too much can happen that keeps even the best running backs below that high of a total.

As for Ryan, if Taylor does have another big season and plays nearly every game, then the QB's numbers will be depressed. His yardage total of 3950.5 feels high, considering he barely surpassed it last year despite consistently being in come-from-behind mode with the lowly Falcons.

Threats

We'll be on the lookout for how the Colts play their games early in the season. It'll be troubling if they can't get pressure against a healthy Texans offensive line, and if Davis Mills can move the ball against a secondary that had its 26-year-old starting safety retire to go into the ministry while other starting safety Julian Blackmon is praying his torn Achilles is as good as ever. The Colts added corner Stephon Gilmore, though there's some question whether he has much left of his prime.

How to bet the Colts

If the Texans can score in the opener, the Colts may be headed for a series of shootout-style games. The over would often be in play, with Ryan forced to get more involved than anyone hopes.

Pick your lane on a prop under - either Taylor to fall back to the status of a mere mortal (under 1450.5 rushing yards) or Ryan's requirements being drastically less than his 14 years in Atlanta (under 3950.5 passing yards).

If the Colts are good enough to win the division comfortably as -125 favorites or surpass their win total of 10, then they'll find themselves contenders for an AFC title (+1100). None of those are worth playing outside of the fact that they get their two easiest road games to start the season, and a 2-0 record will boost their rating. Those numbers may go away quickly, especially if they can score a Week 3 win at home against the Chiefs.

If the Colts struggle at all in pass defense in their first two games but win them anyway, we may get better than -2.5 on Patrick Mahomes indoors in Week 3.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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2022 Indianapolis Colts betting preview
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