Which Indianapolis Colts team is going to show up in 2020?

The one that started 2019 5-2 after eight weeks, or the one that lost six of its next seven to finish the season at 7-9?

That is the main question coming into the new NFL campaign.

From 2003 to 2014, the Colts won the AFC South nine times, went to four AFC championship games, two Super Bowls, and brought one title back to Indiana. They also had just one season during that span when they did not win double digit games

In the five seasons since then, Indianapolis has had just one campaign over .500, and has made the playoffs just once, in 2018 (10-6). It’s almost as if the team has moved to Hawkins, and everything is upside down.

But could that be ready to change in 2020?

Philip Rivers was signed to bring playoff football back to Indianapolis, and it is the Colts that come into the season as favorites to win back the AFC South title for the first time since 2014. BetMGM and other sports betting apps in Indiana have the Colts priced at +130, ahead of last season’s AFC runner-up the Tennessee Titans (+160). Indianapolis is +180 to finish second in the division, so if you throw out the Jaguars, there is an opportunity to make some money betting the Colts both ways.

Rivers threw for 4600+ yards last season with 23 TDs, but also threw 20 picks last season with the Chargers. He does have a better offensive line in Indianapolis to work with, led by Quenton Nelson. That line had the distinction as the only one in the NFL last year to have all five players start all 16 games.

The 2020 draft got Rivers some playmakers as well. The Colts went offensive in the second round with their two picks; they took WR Michael Pittman Jr. and RB Jonathan Taylor, who is the only player in FBS history to have rushed for 1,900+ yards in three straight seasons. He is a home run hitter, with lightning quick speed that helped him win the 100m and 200m track championships in New Jersey in back to back years.

So can the Colts get back to winning ways? BetMGM has them at -176 to go over 8.5 wins, which seems like it is a lock heading into the season.

That extra half win could let the bet be a push, but if you think the Colts will get to 10+ wins, the value is obviously better.

Predictions:

The Colts will be a much improved team in the record, going from 7-9 to 9+ wins. The over 9 wins with William Hill looks tempting at +100, especially with -176 at 8.5 a lot to lay.

If Indianapolis can beat Minnesota Week 2, there is a decent chance it starts the season 4-0, which would pay +450 with BetMGM. But look for the Colts to get off to a hot start, with a Week 1 win over Jacksonville, covering the -7 spread.