The Buffalo Bills will host the Indianapolis Colts on Friday in the preseason opener for both teams. These two teams last met during the 2021 regular season when the Colts won 41-15 in Buffalo.
Matt Ryan expected to play a quarterThe Indianapolis Colts went 9-8 last season but missed the playoffs after choking by losing the last two games, especially the season finale 26-11 to Jacksonville in an upset that sent shockwaves through the league. The expectations are high coming into 2022, as the Colts look to contend for a division title. The most significant change to the roster has been the addition of Matt Ryan from Atlanta, with Carson Wentz now in Washington D.C. The Colts did not have a first-round pick in the 2022 draft and used their top pick in the second round on wide receiver Alec Pierce from Cincinnati. Pierce has a big opportunity to make an impact this season with Colts legend T.Y Hilton is now gone along with wide receiver Zach Pascal departing.
This is a good look at Matt Ryan’s camp so far — he’s **always** coaching up the young WRs/TEs.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 10, 2022
(Also you gotta respect a guy who can hit a 2 iron)pic.twitter.com/Y9trOdtzyR
Matt Ryan will be with a new team after spending 2008-2021 with the Falcons after throwing for 59,735 yards with 367 touchdowns against 170 interceptions and a career 94.2 passing rating. Now with a new team, although a veteran and possible future Hall of Famer, Ryan still needs to adjust to a new environment. Colts' head coach Frank Reich stated that Ryan will play a quarter on Friday. After Ryan, the Colts have Nick Foles, Sam Ellinger, and Jack Coan at quarterback.
The Colts went 3-0 in the 2021 preseason, and Frank Reich is 7-4 straight-up as the head coach in preseason games, finishing 3-1 in 2018 and 1-3 in 2019.
You won't see Josh AllenThe Bills enter this season with high expectations. Last year they went 11-6, won the AFC East, and blew out the Patriots in the Wild Card round 47-17. Next, the Bills were eliminated in the Divisional Playoffs in overtime 42-36, by the Kansas City Cheifs in one of the most thrilling games in NFL Playoff history.
The core of the Bills remains in tack from last season, and they added Kaiir Elam, a cornerback from Florida in the first round of the NFL Draft and RB James Cook from Georgia in the second round.
The Bills quarterback position is solidified, and head coach Sean McDermott has let it be known that we will not see Josh Allen in the preseason opener. Behind Allen is veteran Case Keenum, who led the Browns to two wins last season when Baker Mayfield was out. The Colts also have another veteran QB in Matt Barkley.
Although we won't see most of the key players for the Bills on Friday, Sean McDermott has also shown that he is a coach that likes to win in the preseason. The Bills head coach is 10-5 straight-up in the preseason, which included winning all three preseason games last year and going 4-0 in 2019.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both of these teams have head coaches who tend to win in the preseason. Although we could see Matt Ryan in the first half, with both teams having high expectations in 2022, neither side will want to risk their key players for long. I personally would stay away from the side in this game, but I will lean on the Bills in this one. Buffalo had a better draft and are making their first-round pick Kaiir Elam prove he is worthy of playing time, as he currently is not listed as a starter on the depth chart. The Bills also have more depth at quarterback once you get to the second quarter and beyond. I will take the Bills, as Buffalo is a perfect 7-0 over the last two preseasons.
Full-Game Total Pick
I'm not usually a fan of taking the over in preseason games, but I will make the exception here. The Colts averaged 20 ppg in the preseason last season, and with Matt Ryan expected to play in the first quarter, along with the Colts' top two picks being a rookie receiver and rookie tight end, look for the offense to look to behind some chemistry early. Backup Sam Ellinger is a duel threat quarterback behind Ryan, and his style of play should work well in the preseason, as he will be able to scramble and move the chain in the second half against the backups.
On the other side, although the Bills will not play Allen, Case Keenum is an excellent backup quarterback and should shine in this situation, along with Matt Barkley. The Bills also averaged 25.3 ppg in the 2021 preseason. Take the over.