Commanders vs. Colts NFL Week 8 Betting Preview: Colts Put Matt Ryan on Ice

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Sam Ehlinger #4 of the Indianapolis Colts waits for the snap against the Buffalo Bills. Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images/AFP.

Matt Ryan, aka Matty Ice, left the only NFL team he’s ever known to help the Colts win a championship this year but after a less-than-stellar opening half of the season, he has now been relegated to the bench. Let’s check out the NFL odds, analyze this matchup, and keep cashing our NFL picks!

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Washington Commanders vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at Lucas Oil Stadium

What You Should Know

Washington finds themselves on a modest two-game winning streak after defeating the Bears, 12-7, and then stunning the Packers, 23-21, last Sunday as a 4.5 point-home underdog. The Commanders are 3-4 yet still reside in the basement of what has suddenly become one of the most talented divisions in the league, the NFC East.

Newly installed starting quarterback, Taylor Heinicke, did what he had to do in Washington’s victory over the Packers, nothing more and nothing less. He threw for 201 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception on 20-of-33 passing.

But it was the Commanders’ ground game that wore down Green Bay and chewed precious time off the clock. Brian Robinson Jr. led all ball carriers with 73 of the 166 rushing yards while the Washington defense bottled up the Packers' rushing attack, limiting them to a mere 38 yards on the afternoon.

It is also important to note, that the Commanders' defense held the Packers to no third-down conversions. The last time that happened to the Packers was in 1999 when Brett Favre was under center.

Certainly, it was not all due to the Washington defense as the Packers' offense was riddled with mistakes but Aaron Rodgers was limited to just 194 yards through the air.

New Gunslinger for the Colts

Matt Ryan’s departure from the starting rotation this week can be attributed to a Grade 2 shoulder separation he suffered in the Colts’ 19-10 loss to the Titans last week. However, his absence going forward, even when his injury heals, is predicated on his dismal performance after seven weeks of the season. Ryan leads all passers with 9 interceptions and has fumbled 11 times, turning over 3 of those fumbles.

If you don’t know much about Indy’s new quarterback then you are not alone. Sam Ehlinger was a 6th-round draft pick in 2021 out of Texas and he leapfrogged Nick Foles on the depth chart to assume the starting role. The 24-year-old Austin native has never thrown a pass in an NFL regular-season game but turned heads in the preseason.

Indianapolis head coach, Frank Reich, said, "I've been particularly impressed with Sam in practice since the season started, the look that he's given on the scout team, the quality of his throws, the way he's commanding himself out there. Just the total package. I just think it's the best decision for our team moving forward."

Pick and Prediction

The lofty expectations the Colts had entering this season have fallen apart. Matt Ryan, although not the answer management thought he was, is not totally at fault. Indianapolis’s offensive line has been nothing short of offensive and when you are an old, immobile pocket passer that’s a career death sentence.

But let’s take a step back for a moment. The Colts are still 3-3-1 (3-4 ATS) and despite already losing the season series to their chief rival, the Titans, for the 2nd straight season they are certainly not done. Some have suggested the Colts are purposely tanking but if a team is .500 nearly halfway through the season, it doesn’t make much sense.

The Colts still have Jonathan Taylor in the backfield and he churned out a 5.8 yards per carry average last week against the No. 5 run-stop unit in the league. The Commanders' defensive front is not nearly as effective in stopping the run, so look for a big game from Taylor who will likely do much of the heavy lifting with the neophyte, Ehlinger, under center.

We should also note that Indianapolis is 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings with Washington while the home team is 3-1-1 ATS over the last 5 contests in this series.

Line Movement

This line tumbled from Colts -6 to as low as -2 on Monday morning when word broke that Ryan was out and Ehlinger was in. The sharps bought back the Colts at that bargain price to where the number has now drifted back up to Indianapolis -3 as of this Tuesday afternoon writing.

I’m not surprised there has been an influx of money on the Colts in this spot. Ehlinger demonstrated flashes of mobility in his preseason performances which is just what this Colts’ offensive line needs to give them a little breathing room from the statue in the pocket that was Matt Ryan.

Let’s lay the field goal with the home team at the best sportsbooks and watch what should be a low-scoring affair.

Predicted Score: Colts 19 - Commanders 13

NFL Pick: Colts -3 (-105) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Colts -3 (-105)
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NFL Pick: Under 40 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 40 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.