The reeling Indianapolis Colts face a difficult challenge to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive as they face the NFC South champion New Orleans Saints on the road Monday night to complete Week 15 of the NFL season.
The Colts (6-7) have lost three straight games and are two games back of AFC South co-leaders Houston and Tennessee with three remaining. Additionally, they are two games behind Pittsburgh and Tennessee for the second and final AFC wild-card slot and lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Steelers based on their 26-24 loss in Week 9.
The betting particulars
DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers sportsbooks are all offering the Colts as 8.5-point underdogs and the Saints as 8.5-point favorites at -110. The three have also listed the over/under at 46.5 points at -110 on either side.
The fluctuations, though, are on the moneyline. FanDuel is offering +330 for the Colts to spring the upset, while DraftKings has Indianapolis listed at +285 and BetRivers has +275.
DraftKings has the Saints listed as -335 moneyline favorites compared to BetRivers (-360) and FanDuel (-410).
Colts try to pull out of tailspin
A different phase of the game has failed to deliver in each loss during Indianapolis’ losing streak: The offense was held in check in the Week 13 loss to Houston, special teams had a key gaffe with a blocked field goal in the defeat to Tennessee in Week 14, and in last Sunday’s 38-35 loss at Tampa Bay, it was the defense that came up short.
Despite intercepting Jameis Winston three times, the Buccaneers quarterback had the last laugh as he threw for 456 yards and four touchdowns. His 12-yard scoring toss to Breshad Perriman with 3:51 to play provided the go-ahead points as Indianapolis squandered a 35-28 lead in the final 13 minutes.
Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett did throw for 257 yards and two TDs, overcoming the absence of T.Y. Hilton as seven different players caught a pass. Marcus Johnson had a career-high 105 receiving yards on three receptions as he exceeded his yardage total for the season to that point.
Hilton, who has missed five of the last six games with a nagging calf injury, hopes to play in this game. Though limited to seven games, he is still tied for third on the team in receptions (35), is third in yards (378), and shares the team lead with five touchdown catches.
Indianapolis is hoping running back Marlon Mack will provide more of an impact in his second game back after missing two with a broken hand. Mack, who has 900 yards on the ground, was held to a season-low 38 on 13 carries in the loss to Tampa Bay.
Saints coming off wild home loss
New Orleans (10-3) has already clinched a playoff spot by winning the NFC South, but its path to clinching a bye to the divisional round became more difficult following its dizzying 48-46 loss at home to San Francisco last Sunday. The defeat dropped the Saints into the No. 3 spot in the NFC, behind the Green Bay Packers by virtue of a lesser conference winning percentage.
Drew Brees did all he could to help New Orleans avoid a loss, completing 29 of 40 passes for 349 yards and five touchdowns. The 40-year-old future Hall of Fame quarterback needs three TD passes to eclipse Peyton Manning’s all-time standard of 539, but there is a chance New England Patriots counterpart Tom Brady could beat him to it as he faces Cincinnati on Sunday needing four scoring tosses to overtake Manning.
Slowing down Brees has proven difficult all season, and stopping his favorite receiver Michael Thomas has been next to impossible. Thomas leads the NFL with 121 catches — 28 more than second-place DeAndre Hopkins — and 1,424 yards. The fourth-year wideout is chasing Marvin Harrison’s single-season record of 143 catches set in 2002 and needs five receptions to eclipse his career best of 125 set last season.
The Colts have struggled against the pass of late, yielding 1,250 yards and 10 TDs in the last four games. They rank tied for 21st with 22 touchdown passes given up and 22nd overall in passing yards allowed per game (245.4).
The Saints have also been an offensive juggernaut at home on Monday night with Brees under center, going 10-5 while averaging 33.8 points. Brees has thrown for 4,940 yards and 40 TDs in those games while completing 70.4% of his passes and topping 300 yards on 12 occasions.
Bets to consider
For starters, the over at 46.5 points at -110 must be considered despite the fact it has spiked higher since opening at 44. The over has gone 5-1 for both teams in their last six respective Monday night appearances and delivered for the Saints in their 30-28 Week 1 home win over Houston. The over is also 10-3 in New Orleans’ last 13 games when coming off a loss.
Another play potentially worth a flyer is the over for the Colts’ team total of 17.5 points at FanDuel at -108. Indianapolis has scored at least 17 points in each of its six road games and averaged 23 outside Lucas Oil Stadium. The Saints were also struggling at home defensively before the loss to the 49ers and have given up 105 points in their last three games in the Big Easy.
Lastly, a parlay of the Saints winning and the over at 46.5 points has a solid offering of +143 at DraftKings worth considering. While the Saints are 10-5 at home with Brees on Monday night, they are 1-5 ATS in their last six Monday night appearances overall. New Orleans also has not lost back-to-back home games since dropping its first two in the Big Easy in 2016.
Indianapolis is 11-5 against the number in its last 16 Monday night contests as well as 4-1-1 ATS in its last six on the road as an underdog between 3.5 and 10 points.
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