Los Angeles Chargers vs. Indianapolis Colts Point Spread – Free Pick

by | Dec 26, 2022 | nfl

Los Angeles Chargers (8-6 SU, 8-5-1 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (4-9-1 SU, 6-8-0 ATS)
When: Monday, December 26, 8:15 p.m.
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
TV: ESPN

Point Spread: LAC -4.5/IND +4.5
Total: O/U 45.5

Outlook

Sam Ehlinger has to wonder just what has to happen for interim coach Jeff Saturday to put him back on the field. With the Colts now out of the race for the playoffs unless something very strange happens (there is one scenario where the Colts can qualify as the AFC South champion, but it would require 1-12-1 Houston to beat both Tennessee and Jacksonville), now should be the time for Indianapolis to just play Ehlinger and find out what exactly he can bring to the table. However, that’s apparently not how Saturday is thinking. With Matt Ryan no longer the starter, Saturday has instead chosen Nick Foles to serve as the replacement and not Ehlinger, as the Colts will now play with the guy that former coach Frank Reich decided was best suited to be the No. 3 quarterback

Meanwhile, the Chargers are surging. Los Angeles comes into this game having won three of four and now in prime position to claim a wild-card berth. The Chargers won’t play a team with more than four wins the rest of the season, as they finish with Indianapolis, the Rams, and Denver. Win all three games, and Los Angeles is likely looking at a No. 5 seed and a date with either Tennessee or Jacksonville in round 1. Lose out on a playoff berth, and Brandon Staley will likely receive a request to seek employment elsewhere. There’s simply no reason that the Chargers should fall short of the postseason with this slate, especially given that they’re gaining in momentum and seemingly coming together. They aren’t catching the Chiefs, but they shouldn’t have any problems getting a playoff spot.

How the Public is Betting the Los Angeles/Indianapolis Game

Both the sharps and the public are on Los Angeles in this one. The line has jumped from -3 to -4.5 for Los Angeles, with 69% of tickets on the Chargers. The total has fallen from 47.5 to 45.5.

Injury Concerns

Los Angeles:

Safety Derwin James Jr. (quadricep) is questionable. Defensive lineman Joe Gaziano (groin), linebacker Joey Bosa (groin), tight end Richard Rodgers (knee), kicker Dustin Hopkins (hamstring), defensive lineman Christian Covington (pectoral), defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia (quadricep), defensive lineman Austin Johnson (knee), cornerback J.C. Jackson (knee), tackle Rashawn Slater (bicep), wide receiver Jalen Guyton (knee) and tackle Andrew Trainer (shoulder) are out.

Indianapolis:

Cornerback Kenny Moore II (shin), cornerback Brandon Facyson (illness), wide receiver Mike Strachan (concussion), running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle), linebacker Shaquille Leonard (back), defensive end Tyquan Lewis (knee), safety Armani Watts (ankle), punter Rigoberto Sanchez (Achilles), tight end Andrew Ogletree (knee) and tackle Carter O’Donnell (undisclosed) are out.

When Los Angeles Has the Ball

Justin Herbert had to be salivating when he watched what Kirk Cousins did to the Colts in the second half. The Chargers’ strength all season has been their passing attack, and they’re perfectly capable of lighting up Indianapolis for big yardage and big plays when they take the field. The Chargers don’t exactly have a credible ground threat to match, but they can grind wins out when they have to. A week ago against Tennessee, that’s exactly what Los Angeles did. The Titans forced the Chargers into a land battle with few chances near the end zone, and the Chargers came out on top in a 17-14 tussle.

With Indianapolis collapsing two weeks in a row, the blueprint to beat this defense seems to be to keep attacking and eventually let them come apart. The Colts’ defense has carried a weak offense all season long, and it seems like Indianapolis is finally breaking apart on that side of the field. The Colts don’t look like they can sustain four quarters of football on that side of the field, and with Foles on the field, that looks even more unlikely. Herbert has to be patient and wait for his chances against this defense; they’re likely to come if he gives it time.

s to be patient and wait for his chances against this defense; they’re likely to come if he gives it time.

When Indianapolis Has the Ball

The Colts looked like world beaters in the first half against Minnesota before coming apart, but lost in that was the fact that Indianapolis’ offense didn’t really do that much. For all their flaws and faults in falling behind by 33-0, the Vikings actually held the Colts to just 341 yards of offense in a game that had 70 minutes of action. Indianapolis got little out of Matt Ryan and had to watch Jonathan Taylor head to the sidelines with injury.

And that’s why the Colts are choosing to go to Foles. The offense has been lifeless, and Taylor is now done for the season, so there’s not really a lot to like about what Indianapolis has to offer. There are a few decent pass catchers, but no protection and nobody who can reasonably get them the football. And to make matters worse, the Colts have the wrong matchup to try to beat an opponent through the air. Having to play Patrick Mahomes twice a year means that Los Angeles has constructed its defense around limiting the pass rather than the run. The Chargers rank 11th against the pass but 28th against the run, which allows teams like the Titans to grind games out and force the Chargers to play tight contests. But Indianapolis doesn’t have Jonathan Taylor healthy and doesn’t run the ball well this season anyway, so that avenue is likely closed off to the Colts.

Betting Trends

Here’s a good sign for the Colts: the underdog has covered seven of the past ten meetings between the teams. However, the Colts have been the favorite more often than not in this matchup, as the Chargers are 4-1 ATS in their past five trips to Indianapolis. The Bolts are also used to playing away, as they’ve gone 5-2 ATS in their past seven road games.

The Colts, however, tend to play up to the level of their competition, especially at home. The Chiefs already lost here, and the Colts are 19-7-1 ATS in their past 27 games at Lucas Oil Stadium against teams with a winning road record. The Colts also did well in December, covering four of their past five contests in the year’s final month.

Weather Report

NFL rules require the Colts to close the roof and windows if the temperature falls below 50 or above 80 at kickoff. With a high of 20 degrees on Monday night and flurries in the forecast, the roof will obviously close.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

I can’t see the Chargers blowing such an opportunity to Nick Foles. The Bolts have too much to play for and are too talented to give one away to this Colts team. I expect points on both sides, and I think that style favors the Chargers. Give me Los Angeles.

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