Cincinnati Bengals (1-2; 1-2 ATS; 1-2 O/U) vs. Indianapolis Colts (1-2; 1-1-1 ATS; 1-2 O/U)
NFL Preseason: Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 7:00pm EST
Line: Indianapolis -2
The Indianapolis Colts will clash with the Cincinnati Bengals in the final preseason tilt Thursday night from Lucas Oil Stadium. The Bengals were defeated 27-23 by the Redskins last week, and the Colts are coming off a 19-15 road win over the Steelers. The Colts edged the Bengals 13-10 in last year’s final preseason contest.
A.J. Green Finishes Preseason with Solid Performance
The Cincinnati Bengals went quiet in the second half in their 20-17 road loss to the Redskins last week. Andy Dalton was mediocre, converting on 8 of his 13 passes for 70 yards with no touchdowns. The veteran quarterback has not thrown one touchdown and tossed one interception through three preseason games. A.J. Green looked good in the loss, making four catches for 43 yards. The 29-year old wide receiver racked up 964 receiving yards in ten games last season and remains one of the most potent receivers in the game. Second-year wide receiver Tyler Boyd added one catch for 12 yards last week. The 22-year old receiver tallied 603 receiving yards in his promising 2016 rookie season and is poised for a big season behind A.J. Green. Running back Jeremy Hill went down with an ankle injury last week and his status for week one is not yet known. The Bengals feature rookie running back Joe Mixon who will step right in and make an impact regardless of the extent of the Hill injury. Mixon was solid again in week three, rushing for 31 yards off eight carries.
The Bengals only averaged 20.3 points per game last season, ranking them 24th in the NFL. The Cincinnati defense allowed an average of 19.7 points per game in 2016, good for eighth in the NFL.
Tolzien Likely to Start Week One
The Indianapolis Colts found the win column for the first time of the preseason in a solid 19-15 road win over Pittsburgh last Saturday night. Scott Tolzien was sharp, completing 7 of his 10 passes for 123 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. The 29-year old quarterback will likely be the starting quarterback in week one in place of the injured Andrew Luck who has yet to fully heal from his shoulder injury. Third string quarterback Stephen Morris also had a strong night last Sunday, connecting on 12 of 16 passes for 143 yards. There is a slight chance the Colts could go with Morris over Tolzien in week one, however it is unlikely. Frank Gore tallied a solid 23 yards off five carries in the week three loss. The veteran running back showed he has still plenty left in the tank after rushing for 1025 yards last season. Philip Dorsett led the way in the air, making three grabs for 60 yards. The third-year wide receiver is still looking for a breakout season after recording 528 receiving yards last season. John Simon made one of three sacks last week. Simon registered 3.5 sacks last season.
Last season the Colts averaged 25.7 points per game, ranking them eighth in the NFL. The Indianapolis defense allowed an average of 24.5 points per game, positioning them 22nd overall.
The Cincinnati Bengals are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
The Indianapolis Colts are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against the AFC.
I am siding with the Bengals in this matchup. The Bengals feature a deep receiving core and overall their offense has looked better than the Colts this preseason. The Colts have only averaged 16 points through three preseason games, and defensively they have given up a ton of passing yards. I also believe the Bengals have more depth defensively which should make a big difference in this contest with several reserves playing.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals
The Colts lack of defensive depth could hurt them on the scoreboard in this one. I expect the Bengals to move the ball well, especially on the ground with their deep running game. Stephen Morris has looked good at quarterback for the Colts so I am confident he can move the ball down field and generate some offense for Indianapolis, and the over is 7-3 in the Colts last 10 Thursday games.