The official start of the NFL Preseason opened last Thursday night in Canton with the Hall of Fame Game between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons. The game was dull, as expected, but at least the finale had a thrilling conclusion. Former Boise State Bronco, Brett Rypien, connected on a 4th and forever to convert for the win and cover for Denver.
It appeared that most people were on the Broncos, so that was a nice gift in the first preseason game of the year. It was a painful game to watch, though. As we get closer to Week 3 of the preseason, games begin to get a bit more competitive. Week 3 is the most realistic game, but it’s always wise not to go too heavy betting the preseason.
Having said that, you can find value and spots where oddsmakers mess up and there are opportunities to pad the bankroll for the regular season. The Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills meet at New Era Stadium to open their preseasons. The Buffalo Bills are coming off a Bills like season, finishing 6-10 with Josh Allen at the controls. Instead of re-signing Tyrod Taylor, the Bills threw their rookie into the fire immediately.
Allen looked like, well, a rookie in 2018. He had his ups and a lot of downs as well. Allen threw for 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on 52.8% passing. His greatest asset was his legs. He’s a big guy with deceptive speed, having rushed for 631 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground.
Teams are going to be ready for that this season, though. Don’t expect to see much of Allen in the first week of the preseason, but he will still likely see one or two series here. The offense has looked out of sync in camp, and Allen is only a sophomore, so Sean McDermott may give him an extra series.
Andrew Luck is dealing with a calf injury, and we likely wouldn’t see him anyway if he was healthy. Jacoby Brissett is scheduled to get the start for the Colts against he Bills on the road. The Colts have to be careful with Brissett, because he could ultimately start more games than Luck because of injuries. Head below for our free Colts vs. Bills pick for Week 1 of the NFL Preseason.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills Preseason Week 1 Betting Odds:
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Colts vs. Bills Pick:
Andrew Luck battling an injury is not a shocker to anyone. It’s the beginning of August and he’s already missing time with a calf injury. Fortunately, the Colts have one of the better backups in the league. And as a result of Luck being banged up continually, Brissett plenty of experience as a starting quarterback.
Brissett also had time as a starter in New England with the Patriots. Brissett will lead the Colts in this game and should put together at least one competent drive. Again, don’t expect to see a lot of Brissett in this contest, though. Brissett started 15 games in 2017, passing for 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, with 63 yards rushing and 4 scores on the ground. He is fully capable of running the offense, especially in the preseason in a meaningless game.
Reports out of training camp have the offense humming, so we’ll see if it comes together for them in Week 1 of the preseason. There is nice depth at wide receiver for the Colts as well. Along with T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron, Chester Rogers and Devin Funchess give capable secondary targets for the Colts.
A guy to watch out in this game is rookie Parris Campbell out of Ohio State. The Colts spent a second-round pick on him after he hauled in 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Buckeyes. Going into the preseason, the Colts have a whopping 14 receivers on their roster, so the stakes are high and competition is going to be furious among these guys.
Offensively, the Colts have a clear advantage in this game. They have the depth and a sort of hidden quarterback battle brewing behind Brissett. No one is mentioning Phillip Walker and Chad Kelly. Yes, that Chad Kelly, the guy who everyone was stoked about in Denver, but then lost his job because of a bizarre incident on Halloween.
Outside of that, Kelly was well on his way to a future with the Broncos, or at least fighting for the backup spot this year. He completed 66.7% of passes and threw for an average of 116.5 yards per game in four appearances, starting one game. He’s a competitor and treats every drive like it’s important. He will be looking to prove something right out of the gate. Kelly will likely be up against rookie Tyree Jackson of the Bills.
Jackson went to school in Buffalo and signed with the Bills as an undrafted rookie. I don’t expect to see Jackson do much here, who is likely to see the brunt of the snaps in the second-half, which is when covers are made and broken in the preseason. Buffalo haven’t looked good in camp, and McDermott has admitted that much about the offense. There are new receivers that the quarterbacks are trying to get acclimated with and the offensive line has been shuffling around already. I’m looking at the Colts for my first pick of the NFL Preseason.