Indianapolis Colts: 2009 NFL Betting Picks Preview

Vernon CroyCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 21:  The Indianapolis Colts logo at the 50-yard line on September 21, 2008 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Overall, the Indianapolis Colts had another great year in 2008. They started off slowly with four losses in their first seven games. Then, as they always do, Peyton Manning and the Colts turned it on. They won out the rest of their schedule and made another run to the playoffs.

Last year, Manning got off to a slow start because of missing training camp with a bursa sack injury in his knee. This year, he should be in practice for training camp and they hope to get off to a sharp start to the season.

If you're looking for free NFL preseason football picks, you might as well go ahead and put the Colts in the playoffs and as a Super Bowl contender right off the bat. They always are, and there's no reason to believe they won't be again this year.

The Good News:

The good thing about the Colts is that they always seem to keep most of their core guys. When they lose someone, they always plug in another body that will inevitably be successful in their system.

They even had a succession plan in place for when Tony Dungy stepped down from behind the wheel. They added some solid players in the draft to add more depth to an already deep team. Although they already had Joseph Addai in the fold, they went ahead and drafted running-back Donald Brown out of UConn for depth. They also picked up a good defensive tackle out of "pro-factory" USC in Fili Moala. They weren't very active in free agency and they only picked up defensive tackle Ed Johnson.

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They still have "All-World" quarterback Peyton Manning, who, along with Tom Brady, is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game. If you don't catch any Colts games where you live, you'll undoubtedly still get your share of Manning on TV, pitching every product under the sun.

The Bad News

The biggest loss of the offseason is future Hall of Fame receiver, Marvin Harrison. Manning to Harrison is the most successful combination in NFL history and it will be a difficult one to replace.

However, the last few years, Harrison has struggled to stay on the field with health issues. His numbers dropped and Reggie Wayne took over as the No. 1 option in the passing game. Therefore, his loss won't be as big as it once might have been.

Because of their great drafting, they already have a No. 2 option on the team who is ready to contribute in Anthony Gonzalez. Losing Coach Tony Dungy will not be an easy thing to get used to either.

Outlook: As far as free NFL betting picks go, you'll probably see many who think the Colts could win it all again. I have no reason to believe otherwise. While they might not be the Super Bowl favorite at this point, they are still contenders.

Losing Dungy and Harrison will hurt, but I think the team can get past it with all of the people that they already have. Expect the Colts to win the division and make a nice run in the playoffs.

Make sure you check out Vernon Croy's Expert NFL Picks this season.