We are betting on the Philadelphia Eagles to cover the point spread as they face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, in week 1 of the NFL preseason schedule. Find out why.
NFL Betting Preview for Eagles vs. Colts
The Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts were both talented teams last season, but they found different kinds of limitations. The Eagles’ season was hampered by an injury to Nick Foles. They might very well have been able to repeat as NFC East champions, but with that injury went their best chance of returning to the playoffs. The Indianapolis Colts fared a lot better than the Eagles did, reaching the AFC Championship Game, but they were exposed again by the New England Patriots, a team that almost always has their number in the Andrew Luck era. How will these teams respond to this first preseason game?
What We Know About The Coaches
Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly is 4-4 in two preseasons as an NFL head coach. He went 2-2 in each of the two preseasons. It’s hard to get an in-depth scouting report on him. Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano is 4-8 in the preseason, with an 0-4 season accompanying a pair of 2-2 preseasons. If you had to give the edge to a coach here, it’s Kelly, who wants to give his greatly reshaped team an idea of what he wants to see on gamedays.
The Eagles made a risky investment in Sam Bradford, given all the injuries he suffered as a member of the St. Louis Rams, but Philadelphia won’t play him in this game. Mark Sanchez got plenty of action as a backup last season when Foles (now with the Rams) got hurt. Chip Kelly knows what he can do. Expect this first preseason game to be a showcase for third-string quarterback Matt Barkley and fourth-string quarterback Tim Tebow. Kelly needs to get a good grasp of where these guys are in their progressions.
The Colts have ancient backup Matt Hasselbeck behind Andrew Luck, so he’ll get a little bit of playing time, but probably not too much. Bryan Bennett, the third-string man, should get the majority of playing time in this game. Hasselbeck will probably get a lot of reps in the fourth preseason game. The Eagles should have the advantage as long as Hasselbeck doesn’t play too much.
Team Depth & Rotations
This is where the Colts have the edge. A ton of important Eagles are nursing minor injuries that will keep them out of this game: DeMeco Ryans, Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks (all inside linebackers), tight end Zach Ertz, offensive lineman Josh Andrews, and running back DeMarco Murray. You should see Kenjon Barner get a lot of reps at running back, since Murray’s backups – Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles – are veterans who do not need to absorb a lot of pounding in the preseason. The Colts can really exploit the Eagles’ injuries.
The Colts have some injuries, too. Vontae Davis and Darius Butler, both cornerbacks, won’t play. The same goes for running backs Vick Ballard and Dan Herron. Running back Zurlon Tipton should get most of the carries in this game for Indianapolis.
Give the edge to the Colts, who won’t be missing as many bodies.
Outlook & Pick
If the Colts are going to give Hasselbeck more playing time than expected, they should win, but if the Colts focus on Bryan Bennett and the Eagles play Mark Sanchez a little more than expected, the Eagles should win. All in all, the Colts probably will play Bennett a lot, so place your NFL picks with Philadelphia today.
NFL Pick: Eagles -4 at Bovada