NFL Preseason Predictions — Luck Not a Factor in Browns vs. Colts Game


The Indianapolis Colts made the playoffs last season, and that would normally be cause for a lot of optimism. But recently a lot of uncertainty has surfaced, and suddenly the Colts aren’t really sure about who will be starting the season as their quarterback.

The Cleveland Browns aren’t quite certain about what’s going to happen to them this season either, but that’s because there is an over-abundance of optimism. Are they now an overrated team? Some pundits are suggesting they are. Perhaps they just can’t get on board with the possibility that a team could go from 0-16 to a division champion within two years.

The Colts and Browns will oppose each other on Saturday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium, and it kicks off a triple-header on NFL Network. They’ll get things going at 4 PM ET, and after the game begins, BetAnySports customers will have the opportunity to put down wagers in real time, using the facilities of Live Betting Ultra.

As people are watching the telecast, the top storyline is likely to be the status of Andrew Luck, who had an injury identified as a calf strain several months ago, but now has something that is described as being in the “high ankle” area. This starts to sound more and more like the circumstances surrounding the injury to Kevin Durant. And when you add to it the fact that the Colts’ organization has been known to be somewhat less than forthcoming about Luck’s past injuries, you have a legitimate air of mystery.

At the moment, the Colts can’t confirm whether Luck is going to make it into the lineup for the season opener or not.

Currently they are -128 to win the AFC South and +600 to win the AFC title, but that can change in a hurry.

If the Colts have to go without the services of Luck for a considerable length of time, they are going to find themselves in trouble, quite obviously. In 2017, Jacoby Brissett actually did an admirable job filling in for him, and even though it would be hard to visualize the Colts as a contender if he has to repeat that, the presence of Brissett in a more prominent role in the pre-season could make for an advantage right here and now. Brissett has, after all, been working with the first team since the spring, simply because Luck hasn’t been available.

In the NFL pre-season odds posted on this game, Indianapolis is the favorite:

Indianapolis Colts -3 (-105)
Cleveland Browns +3 (-105)

Over 43 points (-105)
Under 43 points (-105)

As you can see, the number you are laying to the house is below the customary -110 that you see in sportsbooks. With reduced juice from BetAnySports, you get value on every play. It’s one of the best deals you’re going to find!

Everyone is sky high around the Cleveland camp, and first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens got a huge effort last week as his team beat Washington 30-10. Baker Mayfield came right out and directed a touchdown drive. And Garrett Gilbert, who is trying to spark a career rebirth that began with a stint in the short-lived Alliance of American Football, thew for 135 yards. Gilbert is one of those guys who is really looking to prove himself, and certainly has drawn a bead on the #3 job at the very least.

The biggest human interest story could be Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, a former junior college star who lied his way into a regional scouting tryout, then earned a tryout with the Browns, but not before having to sleep on the street because he was out of money. Well, talent usually emerges, and he had run a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, which would have made him one of the six fastest receivers at the NFL Combine. He turned everyone’s head in camp with his work ethic, and the first time he touched the ball he ran back a punt 86 yards for a touchdown, after which he was mauled by dozens of teammates. He could be well on his way to making the club.

Mayfield has expressed that he feels many people would like to see the Browns lose. Because of the team’s surprising performance last season, plus the additions of the likes of Odell Beckham and Kareem Hunt (after his suspension, that is), they were expected to be a contender, and indeed are priced as the +153 favorite to win the AFC North. Whether they are “for real” has been a polarizing subject, for sure.

The Colts are not in bad hands with Brissett for purposes of this game. And it could be that Chad Kelly, the nephew of Jim Kelly, is maturing. Everyone knew he had talent coming out of Ole Miss; Nick Saban can tell you for certain, since he beat the Crimson Tide almost single-handedly. But he had some off-the-field problems, and that plummeted his stock to the point where he was the last player picked in the draft. He was outstanding last week, with 121 passing yards and 53 on the ground. He may have to be the backup, if Luck is down longer than expected.

Indianapolis did not cover last week. But Frank Reich, who interestingly enough came up in the NFL under Marv Levy, who couldn’t care less about winning pre-season games, covered all four of them last week. I’m looking for the Colts to show up here, so we’ll lay the points.

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