Free Thursday NFL betting preview and tips as Denver travel to Indianapolis

Von Miller and Denver can build on Sunday's improved effort
Von Miller and Denver can build on Sunday's improved effort

Denver can follow up last weekend's victory over the New York Jets when they face Indianapolis in the NFL on Thursday night.

Denver at Indianapolis (Friday, 0125 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event and Action)

The schedulers thought they were onto a dead cert here when inking in this Thursday night clash late in the season with two strong candidates for the play-offs.

Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck coming up against Denver’s fearsome defense looked potentially tremendous on paper but the stark reality paints a far less exciting picture.

Luck has not been sighted in 2017 after failing to recover sufficiently from off-season shoulder surgery and his team has laboured to a 3-10 record as a result.

Denver (4-9) have been almost as desperate and only managed to snap an error-strewn eight-game losing streak last weekend so that simply leaves a pair of organisations jostling for prime position in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Broncos are 2.5-point favourites on the spread courtesy of that much better effort on Sunday when they managed to shutout the New York Jets 23-0 in Colorado.

Their problems have stemmed from serious issues at quarterback with none of Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler or Paxton Lynch able to get a firm grip on the position when granted the opportunity.

The revolving door of incompetence and injuries has spun back around in favour of Siemian recently and although his numbers of 19-31-200 and a touchdown hardly set the world alight, it was the first time since week four the offense had completed a game without a turnover.

Sky Bet's offer for tonight's big game
Sky Bet's offer for tonight's big game

Consistently poor play on that side of the ball has led to over-compensation and too much aggression on defense.

Good teams like Philadelphia, New England and even Miami have picked them apart and put up big scores to embarrass hugely talented players such as Von Miller, Aquib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.

The latter collectively got their mojo back while Siemian looked poised and confident when asked to throw down the field so anything resembling that sort of performance should be enough to sink the floundering Colts.

They have just a few days to recover from a brutal defeat at Buffalo staged in a blizzard so bad players were unable to see the numbers on opposition tacklers, the ball in the air or yardage marks on the field.

Attempting to run and tackle in eight inches of snow for 60 minutes was tough enough but a period of overtime was also required before Bills running back LeSean McCoy finally settled the issue with a touchdown to make it 13-7.

That came after Indianapolis blew the opportunity to win the game in regulation after Adam Vinatieri narrowly missed a 43-yard field goal in near-impossible kicking conditions.

Head coach Chuck Pagano took full responsibility for the loss, praising the toughness and resilience of his players but the physical toll for them to overcome is likely to be even greater than usual preparing on a short week.

Denver’s big cheese John Elway has assured fans there will be no tanking by players on his watch over the final three games in an attempt to chisel out a higher first-round pick in the Draft so a competent effort from a re-energised group of players should do the job against an exhausted home side.

Prediction: Denver 20-10 Indianapolis

Recommended bets: Thursday NFL

2pts Denver (-2.5) to beat Indianapolis at 10/11

Click here for our transparent tipping record.

Posted at 1525 GMT on 12/12/17.

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