This Sunday (9/24/23), the Indianapolis Colts head down to play the Baltimore Ravens in an interesting cross-divisional matchup between squads that are on very different trajectories. Get Colts vs. Ravens odds, picks, and predictions as our best bet is under 44.5 points
Colts vs Ravens Prediction & Best Bet
The main storyline for both teams is unfortunately not who will be on the field this Sunday, but who won’t be. The Colts started the season without star running back Jonathan Taylor, who led the league in 2021 with over 1,800 rushing yards but missed time last season and was also a good deal less efficient. Taylor has been staging a contract holdout, and is currently on the physically unable to perform list. The Colts are also likely going into Baltimore without rookie QB Anthony Richardson, the fourth overall pick from this year’s draft, as he has entered concussion protocol after a shaky but promising first couple of games, in which he has scored a league-best three rushing touchdowns already.
The Ravens thankfully have star quarterback Lamar Jackson on the field after he inked a huge deal over the offseason, but he’s missing some pieces around him. Offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linderbaum are enormous losses, as is halfback J.K. Dobbins, Jackson’s backfield strike partner. Losing two key lineman and a running back is a true disaster for a run-first team like Baltimore, and on the other side of the ball, injuries to safety Marcus Williams and cornerback Marlon Humphrey leave the secondary diminished.
With or without Richardson, the Colts aren’t set up well to attack that secondary, the Ravens’ biggest weakness on defense. They could have a tough day against PFF’s sixth-ranked defense, as Richardson’s fellow rookie C.J. Stroud did in his league debut. The Ravens have had some really good defensive performances, as they contributed to Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ early season offensive struggles this past weekend. The Baltimore run game was stronger than expected in the first games without all of the injured players, albeit including 54 yards of production from Jackson himself; we’ll see how heavily he’s used as a rusher in this one.
Overall, this feels very much like a “survive and advance” game for the Ravens, who have big-picture priorities to keep in mind and are not likely to throw the kitchen sink at Sunday’s matchup. They should definitely win, so I’m not particularly inclined to wager on the Colts, but 8 points is too many to lay with Baltimore in their current state. Instead, with solid enough defenses and major offensive injuries on both sides, let’s play the under. 45 would be a bit of a better number to play beneath, but even without the hook, this is a very solid play.
Colts vs Ravens Prediction & Best Bet: Under 44.5 Points
Colts vs Ravens Betting Odds
The Ravens are eight-point home favorites, with -110 odds set on either side of that spread. The over is sitting at 44.5 points, and you can get either side of that number at -110 odds as well.
Colts vs Ravens Key Injuries
The Ravens are one of the most-injured teams in the league, with players like center Tyler Linderbaum, tackle Ronnie Stanley, running back J.K. Dobbins and safety Marcus Williams all out already, while star back Jonathan Taylor is the main injury for the Colts, although rookie QB Anthony Richardson is questionable as well.
Colts vs Ravens Key Matchups
Even with injuries in the o-line and backfield, the key to containing this Ravens team is slowing down the run. As for the Colts offense, the key will be attacking that banged up secondary, so let’s take a look at how these positional battles could potentially go down.
Ravens Rushing Offense vs. Colts Run Defense
Although some key linemen are missing, the Ravens offense is uniquely equipped to continue going to the run. Ironically enough, the absence of Dobbins helps them in a strange way when it comes to relying less on the line. That’s because Jackson himself, the electrifying athletic talent that he is, can create offense from outside the pocket, nowhere near the line; if the tackle box can hold up for the split second it takes him to roll out, he can either run or throw from there.
Of course, traditional runs are still important, and Gus Edwards has done a good job so far in relief of Dobbins as he’s racked up over 5 yards per carry, as has Jackson. As far as the line, tackles Morgan Moses and Patrick Mekari have picked up the slack beautifully in the wake of those injuries.
Indy has the 12th-best run defense so far this season, per PFF, probably not good enough to slow down the Ravens at their best but they could potentially hang with them in their current, diminished form. D-lineman Grover Stewart has been exceptional so far in what he hopes will be a real breakout season, while linebackers E.J. Speed and Zaire Franklin will be essential in the pursuit of containing Jackson as he attempts to break into the second level.
Colts Pass Catchers vs. Ravens Secondary
Whoever’s at quarterback for the Colts, it’ll be important to give them some consistent open looks if the team wants to keep up with Baltimore’s own offensive pace. Michael Pittman Jr. is the main man by a mile and a half, and could be in for a really big game, especially if Minshew, the more seasoned downfield passer, starts. Rookie slot receiver Josh Downs is also in good position to break out.
Baltimore’s secondary without Williams still has a bunch of talent, een at safety; Geno Stone has started the year quite well, and Kyle Hamilton looks to build on a huge first year. Rock Ya-Sin has had a good start to the year at cornerback, while Brandon Stephens and Ronald Darby will need to seriously step up going forward.