Welcome to the Monday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming MNF game utilizing moneyline, points spread, and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick.” A lean is a wager that we have a determined degree of certainty. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries, the past track records for certain conditions and bet types, and team performances leading up to the game.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup, including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to MNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Monday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints, Monday, Dec. 16, 8:15 p.m. ET
Each of these two teams will have something to play for in terms of the postseason Monday night. The Saints will be looking to keep pace for either the top overall seed in the NFC (increasingly unlikely) or the No. 2 slotting in the conference (much more likely). The Colts face much steeper odds over in the AFC, and a loss here would eliminate them from the playoff picture altogether.
Indianapolis has battled key injuries in the latter portion of the season. Two more struck in the last several days. Rookie receiver Parris Campbell suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 14 against the Buccaneers. Adam Vinatieri, who’d struggled with knee issues since preseason, finally succumbed to injured reserve early in week. T.Y. Hilton (calf) is trying to make it back for this contest after missing five of the last six games with the issue. He practiced both Thursday and Friday in limited fashion. Starting corners Pierre Desir (groin) and Kenny Moore (ankle) appear headed for potential absences at worst and likely tags at best.
It’s worth noting, especially with the likes of Drew Brees and Michael Thomas on tap, that the Colts are already struggling in the secondary without even taking the possible absences of Desir and Moore into account. Following a 456-yard day by Jameis Winston in Week 14, the Colts now allow 277.3 passing yards per road game. In addition to Brees and Thomas, Indy will have to contend with the likes of Ted Ginn, Taysom Hill and Tre’Quan Smith on Monday night. Even Jared Cook appears to be trending toward clearing concussion protocol as of Saturday morning. Coach Sean Payton, notorious for his aggressiveness, could well opt to push Indianapolis primarily with the pass. Consider Indy is surrendering just 91.5 rushing yards per game on the road (fifth-figure in NFL) with the help of an aggressive front seven.
The Colts will likely try to stick to their run-heavy approach on offense to start this game and try to keep Brees and company off the field as long as possible in the process. New Orleans does allow 112.1 rushing yards per game on the Superdome’s fast track. The return of Marlon Mack last week from a broken hand does up the chances of the Colts’ success on the ground. Hilton suiting up would certainly boost their overall offensive expectation as well.
I expect the Colts to give it everything they have considering the stakes before the Saints notch a hard-fought home win.
The Saints have remained heavy 9.5-point favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook since the line opened late last week. New Orleans is a slightly lower nine-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook as of Saturday morning.
The Colts are 6-5-2 (54.5 percent) against the spread this season, including 3-1-2 (75.0 percent) as an away team.
The Saints are 8-5 (61.5 percent) against the spread this season, including 3-4 (42.9 percent) as a home team.
Ultimately, I see the Colts giving everything they have in their bid to keep playoff hopes alive. While the healthier and more talented Saints pull off a win, I lean toward the Colts sliding in under the big number.
The Lean: Colts +9.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
The projected total of 46.5 on both sportsbooks puts this game in the camp of one of the higher-projected scoring ones of the slate. The fast track and weather-neutral conditions of the dome setting certainly help set up a positive offensive environment. The fact Hilton has been able to practice the first two days of the week also keeps the possibility of a higher-scoring game in play.
The Over is 8-5 (61.5 percent) in the Colts’ games this season, including 3-3 in their away games.
Then, the Over is 7-6 (53.8 percent) in the Saints’ games this season, including 4-3 (57.1 percent) in their home games.
Both teams have a positive track record with the Over hitting in their games. I don’t expect the Saints to be anywhere near as generous on defense as in Week 14. However, I envision enough points being scored here by both clubs to see the total exceeded, as the Colts will likely have to be a bit more aggressive than usual at some point on the contest in order to try and keep pace.
The Pick: Over 46.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Best Prop Bet
Home Team to win by 1-6 points: (+350 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
In accordance with my belief of a Saints win of less than 9.5 points, I like this prop. Both teams have the track record of close games in the home/road splits that apply to them this season to back up this wager. The Colts have seen all six of their road games decided by six points or fewer, win or lose. In turn, the Saints have seen four of their seven home games finish with the same margin of victory/defeat, and that margin has held true in six of their 2019 contests overall.