Colts vs Texans Week 1 Picks and Predictions: Indianapolis Strikes Early

After the Carson Wentz experiment failed miserably, Matt Ryan now runs the show for the Indianapolis Colts. With a more experienced team, our NFL betting picks see the Colts jump out early onto the inexperienced Houston Texans.

Phil Naessens - Betting Analyst at
Phil Naessens • Betting Analyst
Sep 9, 2022 • 11:26 ET • 4 min read

Sunday football is back, and we have a pair of important debuts!

Matt Ryan spent 13 years in Atlanta, demanded a trade, and wound up with an Indianapolis Colts side in win-now mode after a late-season meltdown cost them a shot at the playoffs.

Lovie Smith becomes the fourth head coach over their last four seasons, and he’s in charge of the Houston Texans' rebuild with a number of highly touted rookies. 

Who will have the better debut, Ryan or Smith? Find out in my free NFL football betting picks and predictions for this Week 1 showdown between the Colts and Texans on Sunday, September 11.

Colts vs Texans best odds

Colts vs Texans picks and predictions

Indianapolis pulled the plug one year into the Carson Wentz experiment, sent him to Washington, and quickly traded for veteran quarterback Matt Ryan. It was an upgrade and rescued Ryan from ending his career without another shot at a Super Bowl ring.

Ryan walks into a solid situation with Indianapolis, unlike the one he spent the last couple of seasons with Atlanta. He has a better offensive line and seemingly committed players with a coach that wants him there. 

For starters, he has a big back in Jonathan Taylor. All defensive eyes will be upon him, and he’s one tough hombre to stop. Taylor rushed for 1,811 rushing yards, 18 TDs along with an additional 360 receiving yards and three more trips to the end zone in 2021. 

Houston allowed the second most rushing yards per contest in 2021. Retooling with a bunch of highly touted rookies might be good for the future, but it's unlikely it’ll be able to prevent Taylor from running roughshod early and often Sunday.

Indianapolis has a big-time playmaker in wideout Michael Pittman Jr. The third-year wide receiver from USC hauled in 88 of his 129 targets for 1,082 receiving yards and six TDs. He’ll be Ryan’s top option and alongside fourth-year WR Parris Campbell and rookie WR Alec Pierce make up a solid trio for Ryan to throw to.

The Texans' secondary wasn’t the worst in the league, but their 242 passing yards allowed was Botton 10, and rather than sign pricey veterans, they used the draft and their rookie-laden secondary is going to have trouble containing the Colts' wideouts.

Davis Mills enters his second pro season with a new HC (Lovie Smith) and new coordinators. Mills chucked for 2,664 yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his rookie season. Mills isn’t very mobile, but he does have what appears to be an improved offensive line, with top two pass catchers Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins back for another season.

After an exciting preseason, Houston has high hopes for rookie RB Dameon Pierce, but he’ll find it difficult to beat a beefed-up Colts defensive line from a 2021 team allowing a 10th-best 109 rushing yards per contest.

The Colts' passing defense was just as bad as the Texans last season. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was hired by the Bears and replaced him with former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach and former Las Vegas Raiders DC Gus Bradley.

Indianapolis also signed free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore, traded for DE Yannick Ngakoue, and filled its defensive roster with depth. Mills is going to have a difficult time making things happen against a defense with the potential to be the very best in the league.

Look for the Colts to strike early, the defense to keep Houston off the scoreboard, and Indianapolis goes into the locker room with a touchdown or better halftime lead.

My best bet: Colts first half -4.5 (+100 at FanDuel)

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Colts vs Texans betting preview

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Spread analysis Over/Under analysis Game info Injuries Weather Trend to know

Spread analysis

I would probably leave this one alone. 

The line opened with Indianapolis as eight-point away dogs, and while it's moved around a bit since May, it seems to have settled at seven points in most shops. 

Seven is a key number, and it's a good number for this contest, but there are a few things we should consider before tapping the counter.

Both teams have many new parts including head coaches, coordinators, and a brand-new QB in Ryan learning a new system. New systems take time to gel, and we don’t know how the several Houston rookies will perform out of the gate.

As good as Ryan has been during his 13-year career, he’s thrown nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns, and maybe he doesn’t get off to a good start?

Indianapolis looks good on paper, but is 1-11-1 against the spread over its past 13 season openers. It is also 9-1-1 ATS when playing the Texans at NRG Stadium, and while I fully believe the Colts win this game, I’m not going to lay the seven to find out. 

Over/Under analysis

This game opened at 44 points, moved to 46 points, and now sits as low as 45.5 points in many betting markets.

Smith has been known to favor the running game, and we all know Taylor is going to get his fair share of touches. 

The Under is 5-0 over their last five meetings, and the Colts should have an early lead and run out the clock with Taylor. 

Finally, the public loves the Over and as we’ve seen, the total moved up when it hit the board, and now with the hook, the Under might be a good play to consider.

Colts vs Texans game info

Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Date: Sunday, September 11, 2022
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET

Colts vs Texans key injuries

Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Colts vs Texans weather

Monitor gametime conditions with our live NFL weather info and learn how weather impacts NFL betting.

Colts vs Texans betting trend to know

The Colts are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games. Find more NFL betting trends for Colts vs. Texans.

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