Indianapolis Colts NFL Betting Preview: Philip Rivers Could Change Team’s Luck

Posted on: September 3, 2020, 08:49h. 

Last updated on: September 4, 2020, 11:27h.

The Indianapolis Colts entered training camp last year as one of the prime contenders to win the Super Bowl at +1,400. Then, Andrew Luck stunned the football world with his surprise retirement after a preseason game. Just like that, their championship odds plummeted to +6,000 at FanDuel.

Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers
New Colts quarterback Philip Rivers is one of the most prolific passers in NFL history. (Image: Robert Scheer/USA TODAY Sports)

The Colts are back to contenders for this season. With longtime Los Angeles Chargers star Philip Rivers signed in free agency, the Colts range from +2,000 at BetMGM to +2,500 at PointsBet and William Hill to win the Super Bowl.

Over/Under: 9 Wins

In NFL history, Rivers ranks sixth in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completions. He’s at the threshold of major milestones, with 59,271 passing yards and 397 passing touchdowns. At age 38, he’s no longer an elite quarterback — his arm strength isn’t what it once was — but he’s coming off a seventh consecutive season of 4,000-plus passing yards.

With Rivers and rookie running back Jonathan Taylor added to an offense that ranked a mediocre 16th in scoring last season, Indianapolis is a slight favorite to unseat the Tennessee Titans and win the AFC South.

I think it’s a wide-open division where anyone can win,” said Andrew Mannino, the senior sports content analyst at PointsBet, to “I don’t think anybody right now is expecting Tennessee to replicate the run they had last year.”

The Colts are the consensus favorite to win the AFC South. At BetMGM, they are +130 to win their first division title since 2014. That’s just ahead of the Titans, who are +160 after running their way to the conference championship game last year.

There’s significant variation in the over/under win totals. At PointsBet, it’s 9.5 wins (+110 on the over; -135 on the under). On the other hand, it’s only 8.5 wins at BetMGM (-176 on the over; +145 on the under). It’s 9.0 wins at Westgate SuperBook and elsewhere.

“Obviously, any of those teams could really make a run at it,” Mannino continued. “Indiana fans, especially, love them right now. They were at +1,500 to win the AFC and they’re +1,200. I think the people think this is the year for the Colts to get back on track.”

Rookie Runner

Rivers has quite the supporting cast. Indianapolis used second-round picks on Taylor, the record-setting running back from Wisconsin, and receiver Michael Pittman, whose father played fullback for Tampa Bay and Arizona.

With Taylor and Marlon Mack, who has 1,999 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns the past two seasons, the Colts have a potentially dynamic duo in the backfield. Pittman joins T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell as a high-quality receiver trio. Three first-round picks and one second-round selection will do the dirty work upfront.

Taylor is third on PointsBet’s Rookie of the Year board at +900. Rivers’ MVP odds range from +3,400 at PointsBet to +6,000 at DraftKings.

The big moves weren’t limited to the offense. The Colts traded a first-round pick to San Francisco for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, and signed veteran corner Xavier Rhodes. They’ll join stud linebacker Darius Leonard, who led the NFL in tackles in 2018 and had five interceptions in 2019.

Frank Reich, who milked seven wins out of last year’s team, has the second-shortest odds on FanDuel’s Coach of the Year board at +1,400.

Editor’s Note: This is the 21st of 32 NFL team previews and the first of four on the AFC South.