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The awfulness of the Colts in August

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening

Just one home team is an underdog in the opening week of the preseason. Recent history tells us all we need to know why the Colts are that club.

Since 2005, Indianapolis is 3-15 in preseason games. Now, this hasn't exactly stopped the Colts from quickly hitting their stride once the regular season kicks off, but the Colts of August haven't exactly put the fear in the hearts of anyone save for the folks left to pay full-price to watch them iron out the kinks.

Indianapolis has been particularly wretched at home in this span, posting a 1-7 record. Six of the seven losses were by seven points or more. I don't have against the spread records for past preseasons, but it is safe to say that those who have wagered on the Colts in preseason home games in recent years have taken a bath.

The Colts opened as slight favorites to win their preseason opener vs. Minnesota on Friday night, and they are still favored at a handful of sportsbooks, but the Vikings are now favored at a majority of Las Vegas casinos whose lines are posted on VegasInsider.com

For those backing the Vikings, the decision probably comes down to matchups and motivation. Minnesota has yet to pick a starting quarterback, but Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson have had moments where they have looked like starters, and one, or both of them, will be getting a lot of work vs. Indy's backups.

If you're backing the Colts, you're banking on new head coach Jim Caldwell bringing a better overall dress-rehearsal performance out of his club than predecessor Tony Dungy. You certainly can't bank on seeing too much of QB Peyton Manning and the first-string offense. (Also, Manning's top backup, Jim Sorgi, is likely out of this game, with rookie Curtis Painter next in line for work.)

The preseason is about preparation, but it is also about managing risk. The Colts know that better than anyone.

So does Vegas.

 

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