NFL betting handicappers know that any evaluation of the Colts begins with super star quarterback Peyton Manning but that he is not enough to complete the NFL gambling puzzle.
Manning was the 2009 NFL Most Valuable Player Award winner and seems to age like a fine wine. But the Colts barely escaped the AFC Championship Game against the upstart New York Jets and were outclassed in their Super Bowl loss against the New Orleans Saints.
One of the big problems that prevented Indianapolis from completing their goal of a second Super Bowl title was the recurring lack of a reliable running game. And that is the top priority for the Colts during preseason is to establish a ground attack to compliment Manning.
Indianapolis remains a top choice with the NFL preseason odds to win the AFC but they are an aging team with many question marks and the lack of a ground game will mean that it’s unlikely that they can return to the Super Bowl this year.
Colts President Bill Polian has tried to downplay the Colts running game issue.
“In truth, I think this is a non-issue,” said Polian. “Would we like to be better at it? Yes, absolutely, and there are specific areas where we can get better. Is it a problem? No.”
The Colts enter the 2010 season as one of the most consistent franchises in the NFL with a string of 8 consecutive seasons in which they have won at least 10 games straight up.
But there is a concern that the Colts cannot sustain success with the football odds without a ground attack as they have had to resort to going to the shotgun formation on short yardage and conceded to defenses that they cannot get the yardage on the ground.
This was a major problem in the Super Bowl as the Saints simply ignored the run and focused on Manning and the air attack.
Manning seems to disagree with his boss on the importance of the issue and wants more balance for the 2010 NFL betting season.
“I want to be balanced,” said Manning. “I don’t want to go out there and throw it 50 times. If we’re throwing every single play, it’s playing to the defenses advantage.”