Raiders vs. Colts NFL Week 17 Preview and Best Bet

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Carson Wentz #2 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass. Chris Coduto/Getty Images/AFP.

The Las Vegas Raiders (8-7) travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts (9-6) in a pivotal AFC showdown with playoff implications on Sunday marking Week 17 of the NFL.

The Raiders are riding a two-game winning streak while the Colts are riding a three-game winning streak into the penultimate round of regular-season action. Though form is good in both camps, oddsmakers are cornering this game with the hosts wholeheartedly on the NFL odds board. Markets opened with the Colts laying 8.5 points.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Indianapolis Colts 

Sunday, January 02, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Lucas Oil Stadium

Raiders Keep Hope Alive

It might be the case of too little too late for the Raiders, but they did keep hope alive nonetheless with a 17-13 win over the Denver Broncos. The victory saw the Raiders come through as the 1-point home underdogs at multiple top-rated sportsbooks.

The Raiders came back from behind to clinch the victory over the Broncos at Allegiant Stadium, erasing a 13-7 first-half deficit to take the 17-13 win. Derek Carr had a so-so outing going 20 of 25 for 201 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw an interception, was sacked twice, and had a fumble for a loss.

In the second half, the Raiders changed tact by taking the ball out of Carr’s hands and entrusting it to the rushing attack. When all was said and done, the Raiders’ ground game accounted for 160 yards and a touchdown with running back Josh Jacobs leading the way (129 yards). Peyton Barber rushed for a score in the second half to lift the Raiders to the 14-13 lead and then Daniel Carlson scored a field goal in the fourth quarter on the back of run-inspired Raiders drive.

Colts Riding Three-Game Momentum

The Colts have rounded out into form in the second half of the season and they’re riding the wave of momentum into the postseason. It would take a truly disastrous last two games to keep Carson Wentz and co. out of the playoffs now.

The Colts are 2nd in the AFC South, just a game behind the Tennessee Titans. However, the Titans have the tiebreaker after sweeping the series. For the Colts to clinch the division, they would need to win out and hope the Titans fall flat on their faces in the last two weeks.

Most recently, the Colts beat the Arizona Cardinals 22-16 at State Farm Stadium, serving up the upset as the 3-point closing underdogs across sports betting platforms. Prior to beating the Cardinals, the Colts got the measure of the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots.

Carson Wentz did his job as he went 18 of 28 for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. The run game made inroads as it put up 126 yards with Jonathan Taylor leading the way (108 yards). Michael Pittman Jr. led the receiving corps with 82 yards while Dezmon Patmon and T.Y. Hilton caught touchdown passes from Wentz.

NFL Predictions and Picks

The Colts are currently sitting 5th in the AFC rankings and the Raiders are in the 10th spot. Theoretically, playoff spots are in play for both these hopefuls. The reality of it is that the Raiders will need to win out and get some help to clinch a spot in the postseason. They can’t do it just on their own merit. That puts pressure on the Raiders, not to mention a premium on this game. If the Raiders lose, more than likely their playoff hopes will be quashed too.

The Raiders haven’t looked good ever since the acrimonious departure of former head coach Jon Gruden. The tragedy surrounding Henry Ruggs III a few weeks later only added to their woes. The fact that they’re in contention is a minor miracle.

That being said, things have just gone from bad to worse as the Raiders have reportedly added six more players to the reserve/COVID-19 list, including several starters. The Raiders’ entire linebacking corps has been placed on the list including starters Denzel Perryman and Cory Littleton.

Where this will leave the Raiders remains to be seen, but it’s not surprising under these circumstances that the oddsmakers have stacked the odds against them. It’s worth keeping in mind the fact that if the playing field were level between this pair, the Raiders would still be underdogs. So, essentially nothing has changed except the size of the point spread is probably greater to reflect the impact of the Raiders’ depleted roster.

The fact is the Raiders were going to be up against it no matter what at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts are playing solid football and have the look of a playoff contender. The Raiders are just too up and down this season to be considered as such. So for your NFL picks, the Colts should win and cover handily.

NFL Pick: Colts -7.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Colts -7.5 (-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.