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Indianapolis Colts Betting Odds Preview

Coming off back-to-back 11-5 seasons, which included an AFC South title last year, the Colts have quickly rebuilt into a contender after stumbling to a 2-14 record just three years ago. Making the Colts' season even more impressive (other than their amazing comeback win over Kansas City) was some of the upset wins they posted in the regular season.

Indianapolis defeated both Super Bowl teams Seattle and Denver, as well as San Francisco and the Chiefs twice. If the Colts can find a little more consistency and bring the same game that helped them take down the league’s best a year ago they could be Super Bowl contenders.

Indianapolis Colts Odds to Win AFC South: -200 at Bovada
Indianapolis Colts Odds to Win Super Bowl: 14/1 at Bovada
Indianapolis Colts Regular Season Win Total: 9.5 at Bovada
Indianapolis Colts Betting Props: Andrew Luck to Win NFL MVP 12/1 at Bovada

Andrew Luck avoided a sophomore slump last season and appears to be well on his way to claiming a spot among the league’s elite quarterbacks. He’ll get a little help this season too with the return of a now healthy Reggie Wayne and the addition of former Giants wideout Hakeem Nicks. If Nicks can regain his old form and avoid the injury bug that has plagued him in recent seasons he’ll make up quite the trio with Wayne and T.Y. Hilton.

The biggest question mark for the Colts' offense heading into the season is the running game. Indianapolis averaged just over 100 yards per game on the ground last season and trading for former first round pick Trent Richardson didn’t help. Richardson rushed for only 458 yards in 14 games last season and averaged only 2.9 yards per carry. Donald Brown had more yards that Richardson on 55 fewer carries, but with Brown gone only Ahmad Bradshaw is left to carry some of the load if Richardson remains a total bust.

Robert Mathis is coming off the best season of his career after leading the league with 19.5 sacks, but he’s actually a huge question mark on the Colts defense. That’s because he failed a drug test during the offseason and will be suspended for the first four games. According to Mathis he took a banned fertility drug, but will he still be as effective as he was last season?

The Indianapolis defense was the ninth overall scoring defense last season, but ranked 20th overall in yards, so some improvements were necessary. Veterans D’Qwell Jackson and Arthur Jones were brought in to try and shore up the defense which could make or break a lengthy Colts playoff run.

The Colts were money for bettors last season posting an 11-7 record ATS, which included going 6-3 ATS at home and 5-4 ATS on the road. Even more noteworthy was their 5-3 ATS mark as the underdog.

AFC South Odds at Bovada as of August 5
Indianapolis Colts -200
Houston Texans +300
Tennessee Titans +700
Jacksonville Jaguars +1400

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The Indianapolis Colts were one of the great stories of the 2012 season, rallying behind their sick head coach Chuck Pagano and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to put together an improbable 11-5 season. No longer playing the role of underdog, how will Luck and the Colts respond to expectations in 2013?

Odds to Win AFC South: +240 at Bovada
Regular Season Win Total: 8.5 at Bovada
Betting Props: Andrew Luck to win NFL MVP (25/1) at Bovada

After years of dominating the AFC South with Peyton Manning at the helm, the Indianapolis Colts went 2-14 in 2011, putting them in position to draft Andrew Luck. The Colts took a risk in letting Manning walk in favor of handing the franchise over to the rookie, and the move seems to have paid immediate dividends. Indianapolis was 11-5 both SU and ATS in 2012, finishing the regular season on a 9-2 SU and ATS run.

Luck was sensational in his rookie season, passing for 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns. While his 18 interceptions were a bit high, it at least helped serve as a reminder that the kid was human. The sky is the limit for this guy, and he should continue to improve as he becomes acclimated to the speed and schemes in the NFL.

The Colts made some nice additions on the offensive side of the ball, adding deep-threat Darrius Heyward-Bay to an already loaded wide receiving corps and Ahmad Bradshaw to help shore up the running game. These additions, along with the natural progression of Luck and fellow NFL sophomores Vick Ballard and T.Y. Hilton, should make Indianapolis’ offense even more potent this season.

The question now becomes what should be expected of the Colts on defense? Indianapolis finished 26th in the league in total defense allowing 374.3 yards per game, and specifically had issues stopping the run, finishing 29th in rush defense allowing 137.5 yards per game. The Colts will need draft picks DE Bjoern Werner and DT Montori Hughes to step in and make an immediate impact.

Houston’s defense gives the Texans the edge in the AFC South, but look for Indianapolis to prove that 2012 was no fluke this season.

AFC South Odds at Bovada as of July 28
Houston Texans -225
Indianapolis Colts +240
Tennessee Titans +750
Jacksonville Jaguars +2500