Detroit Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts
Date and Time: Sunday, August 13, 2017, 1:30 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Preseason NFL Week 1 Opening Odds: Pick 'Em, O/U 37.5
Lions vs. Colts TV Coverage: NFL Network
Andrew Luck has really never played extensively in the preseason in his career, and this year isn't going to be an exception to that rule. Pagano didn't use his franchise centerpiece at all in the first preseason game last year, and one can only deduce that that will be the case again this year. That means this game is going to be all about Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris.
Morris, who led the NFL in the preseason last year with 531 passing yards and four touchdowns, could end up being under the microscope this year. He's projecting into a legitimate backup quarterback and might get a real shot one day. If he has six plays of 20+ yards and four of 40+ yards in the preseason this year as he did last season, he might ultimately get a shot to be Luck's primary backup over the veteran, Tolzien.
Though it's possible rookie Phillip Walker cleans this game up, he's largely just looked upon as a camp arm for the Colts with Luck on the PUP list.
The backup plan in Detroit isn't a good one right now. Matt Stafford is the center of this franchise. If he gets hurt, the drop to backups Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya is massive.
Thus, we don't expect to see much, if anything of Stafford in this game. Rudock was reasonable last year for the Lions, throwing for 333 yards and four touchdowns in the preseason, and he'll have similar expectations this year while getting a chance to throw the ball probably near 20 times.
Kaaya's development is key. He was a project pick in the sixth round this year, but any man who starts for four years without a redshirt as he did at a big program like Miami is deserving of a shot in the NFL. Whether Kaaya translates remains to be seen, but he'll have his shot for sure on Sunday afternoon.
Betting Trends of Note
Home and away doesn't usually mean much in the NFL, but the Colts have had a disturbing, yet interesting trend to follow over the course of the last several years. Pagano has led his team to an 0-6 SU and ATS mark at home in the last three preseasons, and the Colts haven't won both of their home exhibitions since 2012.
That merely showcases why this game is lined at a pick 'em. Neither of these coaches have ever cared about the preseason in their careers, and though the Colts have home field advantage, which generally counts for at least something, even in the preseason, there isn't any clear way to delineate which one of these teams is more likely to ultimately triumph.
Lions vs. Colts Free Picks
Of all of the games on the board at NFL sportsbooks in Week 1 of the preseason, this is the toughest one to try to handicap. The Colts and Lions both have a ton of moving parts to their lineups, and neither should be using dependable quarterbacks for very long, if at all.
The only thing that makes this game interesting is all of the newcomers on the Colts' defense that will be looking to make an impact. We aren't willing to bet on the farm on Indy at home at a pick 'em, but we think the new defensive pieces will be just enough to give the hosts an ever so slight edge.
Lions vs. Colts ATS Pick: Colts PK at BookMaker.eu
Lions vs. Colts Score Prediction: Colts 16, Lions 13