Colts vs Broncos: How To Live Bet Thursday Night Football in Week 5
Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson.
It’s also a difficult one from a projected pace scenario, which plays into how we’re live betting this Thursday Night Football matchup in Week 5. Usually, we’re all over totals in our live betting, based on the way we compare our models to the in-game lines. But in this one, player props are offering unique value — as you’ll see in the live bet we’ve already made.
Take a long look around various books before placing live bets, though. There tends to be more variation between shops in live markets than there is pregame.
So with that in mind, here are the NFL Live Betting angles and scenarios we are watching for in Colts vs Broncos on Thursday Night Football, plus the live bet we’ve made.
And don’t forget — we’re not alone in live betting the NFL’s biggest games here at Action Network. Every Monday and Thursday night at halftime, join my predictive analytics colleague Nick Giffen for “Bet What Happens Live With Dr. Nick!”, where he’ll give you insight into his models and the live bets he’s making on Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football.
As gross as the first half was, Dr. Nick’s projections had both teams as being slightly unlucky in the first half. With a live over/under of 28.5, Dr. Nick decided to jump on a live over at FanDuel as his halftime live bet.
The Live Bets We’ve Already Made on Thursday Night Football (And Why)
The Scenario: Colts Lead (Or a Close Game)
We discussed below how the matchup through the air is much better for the Broncos and the matchup on the ground is better for the Colts.
Therefore, situations that allowed (or force) both teams to play to their relative strengths were going to be more valuable for overs. The strongest example of that would have been a Colts lead, but a reasonably close game, like a 6-3 first half slugfest, fit the bill as well.
The main area of interest for us would typically be the over. But given some of the notes above, player props were in play here, too.
Russell Wilson’s passing yardage line had been bet up throughout the week, but if it dipped back down due to a slow first half, I’d be quick to pounce on it.
That’s exactly what we saw on Thursday night, as Wilson’s live passing yardage line was down to 200.5 at FanDuel after the first quarter. We’ll take that live over.
Ten of 15 called played for the Broncos have been passes (with two scrambles for Russ). Denver should continue to be pass heavy unless they get out to a big lead. They also get the ball to start the second half, so they should have more time of possession moving forward than they did in the first quarter.
We also snagged a live under on Melvin Gordon’s rushing total of 46.5 (-115 at DraftKings) at half. Mike Boone should mix in with the Broncos in the lead, even if Gordon isn’t in the dog house after a first half fumble, and that should eat into Gordon’s total.
The Other Live Betting Scenario We Were Watching For in Colts-Broncos on Thursday Night Football
Denver Takes A Commanding Lead
Both teams want to be run-heavy offenses, ranking 20th (Denver) and 24th (Indy) in pass rate over expectation. That’s obviously easier to stick to with a lead.
However, Denver ranks 17th in Passing DVOA, but just 26th rushing. The Colts have the 27th ranked pass defense, and are number two in DVOA against the rush.
Therefore, a Denver lead is unlikely to produce a lot of scoring on the Broncos side. Will the Colts be able to make up for it by picking up their passing rate?
They rank 30th in DVOA while passing and 32nd on the ground — not much of a difference. It’s also hard to see that offensive futility translating into more points, especially against Denver’s 6th ranked pass defense.
Therefore, if Denver has a commanding lead — especially by way of a few quick, early scores — I’ll be looking toward the under. I’ll also be looking at various ways to bet on Denver’s defense. They have a top-10 adjusted sack rate, and Matt Ryan has been mistake prone.