MNF Picks: Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans Saints
Indianapolis Colts (6-7 SU, 8-5 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (10-3 SU, 6-5-2 ATS)
Date/Time: Monday, December 16, 8:20 PM EST
Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans
Point Spread: Ind +9 / NO -9 (Intertops - Oldest and most trusted book on the web! 50% bonus up to $200!)
Over/Under Total: 46
The Indianapolis Colts head to the Gulf Coast for a Monday Night battle in New Orleans with the Saints. New Orleans is battling for a first-round bye in next month’s playoffs, while the Colts must win out to have any chance to get in the tournament. 5Dimes has made the Saints 9 point home favorites and set the game total at 46. The play in the Big Easy to take the 9 points with Colts. Here are three reasons.
Indy Will Keep the Game Close
The Colts come into this game on a three-game losing streak after getting out to a 6-4 start. Jacoby Brissett has performed well after stepping in when Andrew Luck retired, completing 63% of his passes with 18 touchdowns against only six interceptions. Brissett’s biggest problem has been who to throw the ball to. All-Star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has only played 25 snaps since week 8, and will probably miss this week, and tight end Eric Ebron has recently been put on I.R. Brissett is throwing to second-year man Zach Pascal along with tight end Jack Doyle and his running backs. The backs have also had injury issues, but starter Marlon Mack returned last week still nursing a broken hand. The MASH squad scored three offensive touchdowns last week against the Bucs and were gifted some defensive TDs from Jameis Winston. Indy’s offensive line is their strength, generally giving Brissett time to find an open receiver and opening holes for the backs. The line is considered one of the best two or three in the league, will travel well, and should keep the raucous Saint crowd under control.
New Orleans defense can get the crowd fired up. They have sacked opposing QBs 43 times while the Colts have only allowed 25 sacks. Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport do the most damage getting after the passers, and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen isn’t shy about blitzing if the duo is not getting enough pressure. When the Saints don’t get to the QB, their secondary can be vulnerable, as was shown last week. The 49ers threw for 354 yards and five touchdowns, while also running for over 6 yards per carry and totaling 162 yards. Indy’s offensive line is better than San Francisco’s, so they should have success on the ground, but probably not to the level of the Niners. New Orleans has allowed 28 points per game in their last five contests. I look for the Colts to get into the mid to high 20’s or higher this Monday Night.
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New Orleans Won’t Run Away
The Saints offense has been rounding into form as they start their stretch run. They have scored over 30 points in five of their last seven games, with Brees playing again at a Pro Bowl level. Michael Thomas has left no doubt that he is the best receiver in the game, already catching 121 passes on only 147 targets. Brees to Thomas is as close to automatic as any QB – Receiver combo in NFL history, and they will get theirs against Indy. But there are some concerns with the New Orleans offense. Alvin Kamara has not been the same electric runner as he was last year. Kamara is averaging only 4.4 yards per carry and 6.8 yards per reception – which is 2 yards per catch less than he averaged last year. Kamara has only crossed the goal line twice on the year. The Saints will need contributions from number 2 running back Latavius Murray and tight end Jared Cook. Murray has been an excellent complement to Kamara, scoring five touchdowns while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Cook has come on strong since Brees came back from his hand injury in week 8. Cook had two early touchdowns last week against San Fran, then left with a concussion. Cook has a history of concussion, so he could easily miss this week. If Cook doesn’t suit up, one of the other Saints receivers will have to step up.
The Colts defense will be a big step down from the 49er defense that New Orleans dominated last week. Indy’s defense is the definition of average. They are 17th in points allowed, 21st in opponents yards per play and 17th in sacks. They have had better success against the run than the pass, but all that will do this week is to encourage Brees to pass more. Indy will primarily play a bend but don’t break zone but will have to help out with Thomas. Indy got lit up last week by Tampa Bay, so they will look to get back on track this week in New Orleans. Of course, they will not shut down the Saints, but I think they can slow them down enough to keep the game within one score in the 4th quarter.
This Is a Good Spot for Indy
Indy’s backs are against the wall in the playoff hunt. They have to win out to have any chance at making the playoffs, and in the AFC, there is a good chance that nine wins will earn the six seed. If they can steal a win in the Superdome, they would just have to beat the Panthers and Jaguars to make it to 9 wins. This is a team that expected to make it to the playoffs, looked like they would after week 11 and now have to win out and get help to have a chance. They will bring their A-game to New Orleans.
On the other hand, the Saints are off a devastating, physical loss to the 49ers, and now sit as near double-digit home favorite against a team that has lost three in a row. The Saints are well coached so they won’t totally overlook the Colts, but it’s easy to see them not being at the top of their game. I expect the game to stay close into the 4th quarter, with Indy having a chance to pull off an upset in the end.
Play the Colts +9
The Colts have only lost one game this year by more than nine points, and I don’t think this is number two. Take the nine points with the Colts. I also think this game becomes more of a shootout and goes Over 46. Where do you bet your MNF picks? Did you know that you can be betting on football games at discounted odds? Why pay more for the same product? Stop laying -110 odds; start laying only -105 at the web’s best sportsbook –> 5Dimes!
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