The Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills will begin their respective preseason slates with a matchup this Saturday afternoon at Highmark Stadium. Each of these teams has high expectations for the coming season — the Bills in particular — though this contest will serve as an appetizer (at best) for what’s to come.
Josh Allen will not take the field on Saturday, but we may see the Colts’ starters for roughly a quarter of action. After all, this game is more about finalizing the roster than it is about tuning up for the regular season.
With that said, here’s a look at our Indianapolis vs Buffalo best bets for preseason Week 1.
Colts vs Bills Odds
It’s no surprise to see the Bills as slight favorites here since they’ll be playing in front of their home crowd. These NFL odds also imply that the Colts would be favored in a neutral site, which makes sense given that they’ll likely play their starters a bit more than Buffalo.
Colts vs Bills Implied Score
Bills 17.5, Colts 16.5
The oddsmakers have the Bills pulling out a narrow victory over the Colts in a low-scoring game. With the total set at just 34 points, I wouldn’t expect to see a ton of scoring in this contest.
Colts vs Bills Pick of the Day
Read more on this Colts vs Bills bet below.
Colts vs Bills Matchup
It sounds like we’ll see quite a bit of the Colts’ starters here in the opener, which will give us our first look at this all-new offense. With veteran Matt Ryan under center, Indianapolis finally has a reliable quarterback. He also has some great weapons to work with, including Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., and Nyheim Hines.
On the other side of the field, look for the Bills to go with a combination of Case Keenum and Matt Barkley at quarterback. Buffalo knows what it has and what it’s capable of, so there’s no point in potentially losing any of their star players due to injury in the first week of preseason action.
Colts vs Bills Prediction
Colts 20, Bills 13
Maybe this game will end up being closer than I’m projecting, but I see this as an easy victory for the Colts. The Bills aren’t going to take any risks in preseason, and after the Colts’ starters exit, they’ll be replaced by quality backups, especially on offense.
Nick Foles is currently slated as the second quarterback on the Colts’ depth chart, and a battle is ensuing between Sam Ehlinger and rookie Jack Coan for the third spot. I would expect the second half to feature a mix of Ehlinger and Coan, but Indianapolis will enjoy no worse than solid play from this position in the first.
Because of that, I’m looking for most of the points in this game to be scored in the first half. The second half will feature inconsistent quarterback play from both teams as well as rookies getting their first reps, which rarely leads to points.
The Bills will likely also want to get rookie running back James Cook going in the second half, which should translate to fewer snaps and a lower-scoring couple of quarters.
Colts vs Bills Bet Tips
Don’t overanalyze this one or put too much stock into how either team is projected to perform this season. We’re going to see a fraction of each team’s strength this weekend, and it’s truly anybody’s guess as to what could go down here.
Colts vs Bills Best Bets
Colts Moneyline (+100) at BetMGM Sportsbook
We’re going to take the value here and bet on the Colts to win this one outright. As one-point underdogs, there’s not much of a reason to bet on them against the spread at (-110) odds, which gives us all the more reason to take their moneyline at (+100).
Indianapolis will keep its starters on the field for a longer period of time and generally has more of a reason to go out and try to win this game. Even if the Bills looked like heavy favorites, betting the underdog to win outright in preseason games is never a terrible strategy.
Take the Colts here to pull off the upset as your NFL play of the day.
Under 34 Total Points (-110) at BetMGM
NFL preseason games are typically pretty low-scoring. Offenses are rarely on the same page, and even when the chemistry is there, the same can’t always be said for the talent. As little as 19 points were scored in a few Week 1 preseason games last year, which further illustrates this point.
There’s a chance that Indianapolis could inflate this score a bit if it keeps its starters on the field longer than we’re expecting, but ultimately, this should be a low-scoring game that comes in just below 34 points.