The Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos will get Week 5 in the NFL started when these AFC clubs square off at Empower Field at Mile High on Thursday night. Through the first month of the season, both of these teams have yet to truly reach the ceiling of what many expected they'd be heading into the year, especially after each improved at the quarterback position in the offseason. The Broncos are 2-2 entering this game while Indy sits at 1-2-1.
Here, we'll specifically be looking at the different betting angles that this game has to offer. Along with the spread and total, we'll also take a look at several player props and hand in our picks for how we see this showdown unfolding.
All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
The Broncos opened as a 3.5-point favorite when this line initially opened back in the spring. Since then, we've seen this drop a full point in the lookahead where it was Denver -2.5. This line did move back to Broncos -3.5 following the events of Week 4 and after dipping to Broncos -3, it's back to Broncos -3.5.
The pick: Colts +3.5. This has the makings of an ugly game in Denver, so getting more than a field goal with Indy feels like good value. Denver is going to be without running back Javonte Williams (ACL) and Randy Gregory (knee) for this game, which drastically hurts both sides of the ball. Indy is also dealing with injuries, most notably reigning rushing champion Jonathan Taylor, who has been ruled out with an ankle injury. Franck Reich, however, has historically had his team ready to go in prime time. Under his watch, the Colts are 9-2 ATS under the lights. Meanwhile, the Broncos rank dead last in red zone touchdown percentage (30%) and have a 48% punt rate (worst in the NFL). That suggests we'll be looking at a tightly contested game and the field goal-plus cushion is a nice thing to have in your back pocket.
Key trend: Colts are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up loss
The total opened at 44 in the spring and dropped a full point to 43 in the lookahead. It's shifted between 42.5 and 43.5 throughout the last week but has settled at 42 on the eve of this head-to-head.
The pick: Under 42. The Under is a combined 7-1 between these teams this season and it feels like we could be heading toward another low-scoring affair on Thursday night. Both of these teams are bottom three in the league in points per game this season with the Colts sitting at the bottom averaging 14.3 and the Broncos 30th in the NFL at 16.5. As we noted above, Denver has been horrible in the red zone this season and that should only get worse with Javonte Williams now out for the season with a torn ACL. Dating to last season, the Under has hit in 71% of Broncos games and those contests average 37.7 total points per game.
Key trend: The Under is 9-0 in the Colts last nine games.
Matt Ryan props
- Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over +114, Under -157)
- Passing yards: 233.5 (Over -106, Under -129)
- Rushing yards: 2.5 (Over -106, Under -129)
- Longest pass completion: 36.5 (Over -121, Under -113)
- Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -123, Under -111)
The Over on Ryan's interception prop is a strong play. He'll likely be forced to pass more often with Taylor out, which presents more opportunities for Ryan to throw it into the arms of a Broncos defender. In his last three starts on short rest, Ryan has thrown six interceptions. He also has five through four games this season.
Russell Wilson props
- Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over +116, Under -160)
- Passing yards: 229.5 (Over -137, Under +100)
- Rushing yards: 13.5 (Over -101, Under -135)
- Passing attempts: 31.5 (Over -109, Under -125)
- Longest pass completion: 35.5 (Over -117, Under -117)
- Completions: 19.5 (Over -133, Under -103)
- Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -108, Under -127)
Wilson is dealing with a right shoulder injury, but that doesn't look like it'll prevent him from playing. That said, an injury to a quarterback's throwing shoulder is bound to limit him a bit, right? That has me leaning on the Under on his 229.5 passing yards prop. Over the last three weeks, he's gone under this total twice and averages 213.3 passing yards per game. Factor in the injury and it's hard to see his passing stats see any sort of drastic uptick, even with the Williams injury possibly forcing him to pass more often.
Player props to consider
Melvin Gordon total rushing yards: Under 54.5 (-199). The prevailing thought is that Gordon should see an uptick in work with Williams now out for the year. Yes, that's certainly possible, but Mike Boone will also be part of the calculus. Last week, Boone outsnapped Gordon 36% to 19%. In the second half, Boone saw three carries and four targets while Gordon received two carries and one target. With that in mind, this could be more of a committee than most think and if Gordon fumbles issues continue, he could be riding the bench in this game.
Michael Pittman total receptions: Over 5.5 (+106). Pittman has gone over this number twice this season and has been the only reliable option for Ryan in the passing game. Ryan is completing 71% of his passes to Pittman with a 106.8 passer rating. To every other wideout on the roster, Ryan is completing 59% of his throws with a 56.4 passer rating. With Taylor out, Ryan could lean even more on Pittman to move the chains, which gives us good value here at plus money.