Indianapolis at Buffalo Preseason Week 1 Expert Pick
The Indianapolis Colts were able to start training camp early because they and the Green Bay Packers were supposed to play in last Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game. But since that was canceled, the Colts will make their 2016 debut in Buffalo on Saturday. The Bills are slight favorites in NFL odds.
How to Bet on the Indianapolis at Buffalo Preseason Week 1 Expert Pick & TV Info
When: Saturday, Aug. 13, 7 PM ET
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo
TV: check local listings
Radio: Indianapolis / Buffalo
Opening NFL Lines: TBA
Indianapolis vs Buffalo Historic Betting Trends
The contest will mark the eighth all-time preseason meeting between the teams, with the Bills holding a 4-3 advantage. In their last preseason matchup, Indianapolis fell to Buffalo, 44-20, on Aug. 11, 2013.
The Colts and Bills played Week 1 last year and Buffalo won 27-14 at home. Karlos Williams and Boobie Dixon each rushed for touchdowns as part of a ground-and- pound attack that combined for 147 yards. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 14 of 19 for 195 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown pass to Percy Harvin, and added 41 yards rushing.
The Colts had only nine first downs and 148 yards of offense in the first half, which ended with usually reliable Adam Vinatieri missing a 52-yard field goal wide right. Andrew Luck finished 26 of 49 for 243 yards, and two touchdowns — a 2-yard pass to Donte Moncrief and Dwayne Allen’s 6-yard score — and two interceptions.
Why Bet on Indianapolis?
The Colts are supposed to have a new-look offense this season but they are keeping it under wraps. The cancellation of Sunday’s preseason opener against Green Bay delayed the fans’ first chance to see how things might go on game day. Indy drafted four offensive linemen in hopes of keeping their star quarterback healthy and off the ground. New quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer is working on Luck’s footwork and trying to get him to make throws quicker.
It’s not clear how much Luck will play Saturday. You will see a lot of Scott Tolzien, though. He was signed in free agency this offseason. Tolzien spent the last three seasons with the Green Bay Packers (2013-15). He has played in six career NFL games (two starts) and completed 56-of- 91 passes for 721 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions. Prior to Green Bay, he spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers. In 2015, Tolzien served as the No. 2 quarterback in Green Bay for all 16 games and saw limited action in three contests.
For sure out Saturday is Colts defensive tackle Kendall Langford. Langford’s status for the Week 1 game against the Detroit Lions — along with his consecutive games played streak — is in question after he had surgery on his knee Monday. Langford, who has played in 128 straight games, was the team’s best defensive lineman last season. Fellow D-lineman Henry Anderson is still on the physically unable perform list, working his way back from the torn ACL he suffered last season.
Why Bet on Buffalo?
The Bills got terrible news this week in learning that second-round rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland would miss the rest of the year following surgery on a torn ACL. Ragland was hurt Friday on a non- contact play toward the tail end of practice. An initial MRI was inconclusive, and the team said swelling would have to go down in Ragland’s knee before a clearer image of the injury could be obtained. But that MRI revealed surgery was needed. The team took steps over the weekend to prepare for a prolonged absence from Ragland by signing veteran linebackers Brandon Spikes and Brandon Hawthorne.
The team’s first-round pick, Clemson linebacker/defensive end Shaq Lawson, will miss at least the first 6- 8 weeks of the season following offseason shoulder surgery. The Bills knew they were taking a risk when they drafted Lawson No. 19 overall despite widespread concerns over his shoulder. His replacement, veteran outside linebacker Manny Lawson, partially tore his pectoral muscle attempting to bench-press 415 pounds last month. That injury has kept Lawson on the active/physically unable to perform list.
Despite the losses, coach Rex Ryan isn’t lowering the expectations for his defense, which finished 19th in the NFL last season: “I’ve said all along that I feel like our defense will be much improved,” Ryan said Wednesday. “And I’ll stand by that.”
Meanwhile, starting left tackle Cordy Glenn has been diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain, and is expected to miss the entire preseason. Glenn is believed to have avoided structural damage. Glenn’s absence will make the first-team offense more ragged during its exhibition snaps, perhaps affecting everyone’s timing ahead of the opener. Glenn hasn’t missed a game since 2012. Top receiver Sammy Watkins returned to practice Monday but also is unlikely to play at all in the preseason. He’s recovering from a broken foot.
My Expert Pick
I usually like home teams in preseason but go Colts here on NFL odds.