NFL Picks: Broncos vs. Colts in Week 7

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 1:43 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 1:43 PM GMT

While the public's focus will be on quarterback matchup of Peyton Manning vs. Andrew Luck, NFL football handicappers will be studying the finer points of each team, especially certain weaknesses which have come to light.

Take a look at our NFL Week 7 Betting Odds Report and find an early edge in this week's games!

Miller time help Denver’s sorry pass defense?

You would think facing Manning every day in practice would improve Denver’s secondary coverage skills. Yet, this has not been close to happening, with the Broncos dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed at a whopping 337.7 per game.

Yes, the argument is made the Broncos have built big leads and the opposing team has to pass on every down to attempt to catch up, but even Jacksonville threw for 291 yards against Denver’s porous secondary.

Enter Von Miller, who is back from six-game suspension and hopefully for coach John Fox is ready to create mayhem in opponents’ backfield and lessen the pressure on the secondary. "It makes it easier, but at the same time, we've still got to go out there and play disciplined," said safety Rahim Moore. "You never want to think, 'Oh, Von is back; it's going to be easier.'"

Colts have to run and find defensive replacements
 
Thus far, the much discussed Trent Richardson trade is not furnishing the kind of results Indianapolis was looking for. Richardson averaged four yards a carry against San Diego, which was his best output of the season, though not even close to elite running back status.

The Colts are ninth in rushing yards at 129.3 per game and coach Chuck Pagano’s offense is predicated on running the ball to set up the pass. The 74 rushing yards they had against San Diego is not how the Colts want to play, especially against a team like Denver, where they will want to control the clock.

The Indy defense took more hits to personnel, not what you need with Manning coming to visit. This has helped alter the NFL odds for this conflict.

NFL Betting Odds and Matchup Numbers

The NFL betting spread for this anticipated Sunday night football contest has been bouncing around. Denver was released at -7 and by last Sunday night was down to -5.5. After the Colts uninspired Monday performance, they were back to -6.5. With Manning wearing the horse shoe on the helmet, he was 8-2 SU and ATS and the Broncos.

The total of 56 has moved a half point in each direction and it catches my attention Denver is 10-0 ‘Over’ after gaining 400 or more total yards in their previous contest.

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What to Watch For

Indianapolis is really going to have their hands full with the Denver offense. It is easy to look at wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker and see what weapons Manning has. However, the real key to the passing and running game for that matter is the utilization of the four tight ends, which opens up various quadrants for Manning to attack and probe weaknesses.

Von Miller is not a savior, but his presence has to help the Denver defense, whose first priority is stopping the run and they are the best in this category.

While the Richardson is facing much scrutiny, keep a close eye on the Indianapolis offensive line which has not been consistent in opening holes. If they creates creases in the Broncos defense and give Luck the option to pass or throw after first down, the Indy offense should enjoy success.

After all these years, defensive end Robert Mathis can go full tilt after former teammate Manning. The Colts defense will concede yards, with the most important aspect keeping the road team out of the end zone.

Final Outcome

While I certainly admire Denver (10-2 ATS) as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points under coach Fox, for one of my SBR sports picks I’ll back the excited home underdog this week,

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NFL Pick: Take Indianapolis plus the points, +6.5 at William Hill

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