On Monday Night Football this week, we get a game that might not be too exciting if not for sports betting. Luckily, we can not only bet on the game, we can even play a little daily fantasy if we’re feeling lucky. Below we’ll try to find the best betting edges, and potentially some player prop values for betting and DFS.
After losing their last three games, the Colts have basically been eliminated from playoff contention. According to fivethirtyeight.com, Indy does still have a 2% chance to make the playoffs. They are two games behind the Texans and Titans for the AFC South with three games to play. So, we should still expect max effort from the Colts, despite knowing that realistically this game is meaningless for them.
The Saints have locked up their division but are still playing for seeding in the playoffs. While it’s unlikely that they can catch the 49ers having lost the head to head, the Saints currently sit in the #3 position losing a tiebreaker to the Packers. While motivation should not be a factor in this game, a severe talent gap will be.
Saints Offense vs. Colts Defense
The Colts have been pretty banged up on defense this year, so their blended stats don’t tell the entire story. The team is back to nearly full health on defense, although starting cornerback Pierre Desir was a limited participant in practice on Thursday with a groin injury. Desir’s injury will be one to monitor, but he is the only starter on defense with any injury designation heading into this game.
Overall, Indianapolis is ranked 15th on defense by both season-long and weighted DVOA. Considering a lot of those stats came without some of their better defensive players, such as linebacker Darius Leonard, the Colts should have a slightly above average defense heading into this game. What Indy does best is defend the pass where they rank 14th overall. The Colts are more susceptible against the run, with the 20th best rushing defense.
Surprisingly, Alvin Kamara has been a total bust this year considering expectations. Injuries have likely played a large roll, as Kamara has missed time with both ankle and knee injuries. However, it still doesn’t quite explain how he has just one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown on the year.
Kamara’s yards per carry have been on a downward trend ever since his breakout rookie season. In 2017 Kamara burst onto the scene with a ridiculous 6.1 yards per carry. That came down to a still quality 4.6 yards per carry last year, but an increase in touchdowns from 8 to 14. This year he’s down to 4.4 and his yards per reception numbers have followed a similar trend, going from 10.2 to 8.8 down to 6.8 in 2019.
In addition to Kamara not being the same weapon he used to be, the Saints will likely be missing starting tight end Jared Cook for this contest. Of course, they still have All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas who leads the league in receptions with an unfathomable 121. He also leads the league in yards at 1424 and has stayed steady with his career numbers, averaging 11.8 yards per reception. Beyond Thomas though, the Saints don’t scare anyone with their receivers, and if the Colts can contain Thomas, they may have a chance to keep this game close.
Colts Offense vs. Saints Defense
Ever since a hot start to the season, Jacoby Brissett has regressed into the QB many expected when Andrew Luck abruptly retired. Over his last six games, Brissett has thrown just four touchdown passes and three interceptions. In two of those games hes failed to reach 150 yards passing and only two of the six featured a QBR of 50 or higher (on a scale of 100).
Part of the problem for Brissett was missing Marlon Mack for a stretch, as the team relies heavily on their run game. Mack returned last week but was not very effective running for just 38 yards on 13 carries in the Colts 38-35 loss. The Saints have been stout against the run, allowing the fifth-fewest yards per game at 94.2 and ranking 10th in rushing D efficiency.
The Saints also rank 10th in passing defense and 7th overall in defensive efficiency. With the Colts not having T.Y. Hilton for yet another week, it’s hard to see how their offense will be able to put up much of a fight on Monday night.
With the Saints outclassing the Colts on both sides of the ball, the only hope Indy has of making this a game might be on special teams. However, a quick look at Football Outsiders special teams ranks shows the Colts down at #28 and the Saints at #3. Yikes.
The Spread and Total
The look-ahead line on this game was Saints -8.5 but it opened all the way up at Saints -10. Currently, there are a plethora of different numbers available depending on where you look. Pinnacle is one of the only places still showing -10, but if you shop around you’ll see a -9, -8.5 and even a -8 is available. We’re seeing some reverse line movement here, as the Saints are clearly the preferred side with 74% of the bets and 67% of the money on New Orleans.
If you can get this at Saints -8, they could be a perfect teaser leg to finish off the week, bringing the spread down to -2 on a 6-point teaser.
The total opened at 45.5 and has been bet up to 46.5 pretty much across the board. I do not agree with this move, as the Colts have a solid defense, and I cannot see how they’ll come even close to 20 points in this contest.