2023 Indianapolis Colts Season Betting Preview
As part of our 2023 NFL Preseason Preview Series, we look at the current state of each team in an attempt to identify reasons for optimism and causes for concern and, most importantly, what can be exploited in the current betting marketplace.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
The Colts have a lot of reasons for optimism this year. Following a year that saw them come up 6 games short of preseason expectations, they hired Eagles OC Shane Steichen to be their head coach and drafted Anthony Richardson to be the heir apparent at QB. Richardson may not have the accuracy to make an immediate impact, but his running ability will certainly be a threat. Even if the Colts decide to sit Richardson in Week 1, Gardner Minshew worked under Steichen at Philly and certainly knows the system. Perhaps the biggest reason to get excited for the Colts is that they no longer have to see the void of Matt Ryan at QB, nor TV-personality-turned-head coach Jeff Saturday in 2023. There is no reason the Colts shouldn’t be able to turn things around quickly this year, especially with a top-5 easiest strength of schedule.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: CAUSE FOR CONCERN
The Colts dealt with a lot of self-inflicted wounds last season. Turning to Matt Ryan, firing Frank Reich, and handing the keys to Jeff Saturday all exacerbated their issues. The biggest concern coming into this season is the Indianapolis offensive line. The group that was once considered the strength of the offense was below-average last season. Jonathan Taylor, who previously ran roughshod over the NFL, struggled mightily as the Colts were only able to post the 30th-ranked rush EPA. If the Colts aren’t able to return their offensive line and run the game back to form, it will be difficult for Richardson or Minshew to find success. On defense, Indianapolis lost Stephon Gilmore in a trade with Dallas and Isaiah Rodgers to a gambling suspension. With these 2 losses in the secondary, combined with a bottom-10 pressure rate and success rate on dropbacks, the defense could be in for a setback.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: BETTING OPPORTUNITIES
The Colts coaching situation was so bad it made Nathaniel Hackett look serviceable. Adding Steichen at HC, OC Jim Bob Cooter, and DC Gus Bradley should right the ship. Falling 6 games short of last year’s expectation is a tough pill to swallow, but I believe the Colts will find success sooner than later. If Richardson starts, his ability to maneuver in the pocket, escape pressure, and pick up first downs with his feet will be valuable (see Justin Fields 2022). If Minshew starts, he already knows the system and has shown an ability to be productive in the system. There is probably a good chance that you will see both of them in the same game in the near future. The Colts face the 4th easiest schedule and should find a path back to respectability in 2023.
Best Bet: IND Over 6.5 Wins (-125)
(Play to -145)