On Thursday, August 8th, the Indianapolis Colts travel to Western New York to take on the Buffalo Bills in the first preseason action for both teams. The Colts come into this year as a contender in the AFC South and one of the top teams in the AFC. The Bills look to regain their playoff form from 2017. Thursday’s Colts vs Bills game will be the first glimpse we have at where these teams are at in their respective preparations for the 2019 season. Kickoff inside New Era Field is at 7 PM ET.
|Betting Data||Indianapolis Colts||Buffalo Bills|
|2018 S/U record||11-7||6-10|
|2018 ATS Home||3-4-1||3-5|
|2018 ATS Away||6-4||4-4|
|2018 O/U Home||4-4||5-3|
|2018 O/U Away||4-6||2-6|
Former Buffalo Bills fan favorite Frank Reich will return to Buffalo as the head coach of the Colts. He will certainly receive some love from the fans before the game starts. However, once the game begins, it will be a gridiron battle where the Blue and Red will want to win. The Bills fans and team haven’t forgotten the 37-5 loss to the Colts last year at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was a depressing loss and one that epitomized the 2018 struggles.
These two teams have met 70 total times in regular season action and the postseason. Buffalo holds a 37-32-1 advantage. They’ve only played against each other eight times in the preseason with both teams winning four games apiece. Their last matchup was in 2016 at Buffalo, where the Colts won 19 to 18.
Indianapolis (0-0) has talent on both sides of the ball. Of course, they’re led by franchise QB Andrew Luck who will miss this game due to a calf injury. It remains to be seen how many of their starters play this week. Last year, the Colts went 3-1 in the preseason under Reich in his first year as head coach. Their lone loss was to the Ravens by one point.
In Buffalo’s (0-0) second year under Sean McDermott, they took a big step back with their overall record and on the field. This regression was largely due to starting a rookie QB, injuries, and lack of depth. Under McDermott, the Bills are 3-5 overall and 1-3 at home in preseason action.
The line opened with the Bills favored by 1 to 2 points depending on which NFL betting site you looked at. Since then, we’ve seen some movement as the spread has now become even with most online betting sites. The over/under has remained relatively unchanged with most sports betting sites as it opened at 34.5 total points and hasn’t moved.
The Colts haven’t had a losing record in the preseason since 2015 and the Bills are 4-8 over the last three preseasons, including 1-3 at home over the last two years. With these numbers, one would think that the Colts should win this game. However, I’m taking the Buffalo Bills to win their 2019 preseason home opener.
For the Colts, they have most of their offense and defense set. Most of their starters on both sides of the ball return this year. Furthermore, without Andrew Luck playing on Thursday due to injury, I highly doubt that the new faces and stars like T.Y. Hilton will see much action.
On Buffalo’s sideline, they have numerous position battles and a depth chart to figure out. That typically means that we will see more time for starters and backup skilled players. Although players like McCoy and Gore are expected to sit out, there are still plenty of talented skilled players that will be playing this week in order to secure their spot in the pecking order. I also expect QB Josh Allen to get a few series as his development is key for the Bills in 2019. Last year, he only completed 24 of 44 passes in preseason. This year, I expect that number to grow significantly.
Versus the Bills, Indy has gone 3-8 ATS in their last 11 head-to-head meetings and 3-6 straight up. Buffalo is 5-1 ATS in their last six games against the AFC South.
With many new faces, a need to hash out the top players at several key positions, and a concerted effort to gel the offense with Josh Allen, I expect the Bills to put a good step forward in their first preseason game. Furthermore, Andrew Luck’s absence really impacts the rest of the Colts offense and makes it unnecessary to play many of the starters. Buffalo appears to have better depth, which will definitely come into play this week.
I’m taking the Bills to win this game at home by three points or less. Take the Bills moneyline at +100 and jump on any spreads at NFL betting sites that give the Bills some points.
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