Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 9:30 AM EST odds are subject to change.
Washington @ Indianapolis -3 +101
1:00 PM EST. When the schedule makers penciled this game in, they were hoping for a grudge match between the Colts and former Colts quarterback Carson Wentz. The Colts sent Wentz packing after one disappointing year in Indianapolis, trading him to Washington and bringing in Matt Ryan from Atlanta to put them over the top. Well, it’s Week 8 and neither Wentz nor Ryan are anywhere to be found.
Enter Sam Ehlinger, who will start in place of Ryan, who was “injured” in last Sunday’s 19-10 loss to the Titans. This is year two for Ehlinger, who Indy took in the sixth round of the 2021 draft. Ehlinger went to Texas where he was second team All-Big 12 in 2020. He was a four star recruit out of Westlake High School in Austin and stepped in for the injured Shane Buechele and started multiple games as a true freshman in 2017. When he left Texas, Ehlingher had more rushing touchdowns than any other Longhorns pivot while also setting a Big 12 record after completing the most consecutive pass attempts without an interception. Now, Ehlinger will make his first start as a pro.
This will not be a one and done for Ehlinger, as Colts coach Frank Reich made it clear that his second year man would be the starter for the rest of the season regardless of the health of Ryan. Some have questioned the move, but what does Reich have to lose at this point? Dude is on the hotseat at 3-3. Reich loved what he saw from Ehlinger in the preseason, where on 34 dropbacks in the 2022 preseason, 29.4% of them ended with him moving outside the pocket, which is solid. Before being replaced by Ehlinger this season, Ryan moved outside the pocket on just 10.4% of his dropbacks. Not good. Reich said that mobility was something he considered greatly when making this call.
Reich said this of his new starter, “Excited for Sam and the opportunity this presents for him,” Reich said Monday. “We’ve always thought from Day One that Sam had some kind of special sauce. He’s continued to show it. I’ve been particularly impressed with Sam this year in practice once the season has started, the look he’s given on scout team, the quality of his throws, the way he’s commanding himself out there – the total package. Just feel like at this point that’s the best decision for our team going forward.”
On the Washington side, the Commanders will trot Taylor Heinke out after he led his team to a home win over the Packers in Week 7. Washington was a 4-point pooch at home in that game, as it outlasted Green Bay 23-21. That was the Commanders second win in a row, after knocking off Chicago on Thursday Night Football to kickoff Week 6. We’re not going to take anything away from the former Football Team, but we are going to be mindful that their stock is on the uptick.
The market has reacted to Ehlinger starting and also to recent results. Before last week’s results, Indy was a -6-point choice over Washington. After last week’s results, Indy was still a -4½ point favorite but the efficient market has been hammering it down since. What last week’s results do not tell you is that the Colts ran almost 25 more offensive plays than Tennessee last week. The Colts also had 100+ more passing yards than Tennessee while holding Ryan Tannehill to a mere 117 yards through the air. The Colts are an exceptionally talented team that has been operating without a competent QB but that all changes here. Indy is a true bargain here.
Indianapolis -3 +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)