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NFC South Champs Saints Heavy Favorites Over Reeling Colts

The Colts blew a 14-point third-quarter lead in a 38-35 loss at Tampa Bay. Indianapolis has now lost five of its past six games and is 6-7 straight up and 6-5-2 against the spread this season.

The New Orleans defense was exposed by the 49ers in a last-second 48-46 loss that dropped the Saints to 10-3 SU and 8-5 ATS. 

Indianapolis Colts vs New Orleans Saints
  • Date/Time: December 16, 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: New Orleans -8.5 | O/U 44
  • Colts vs Saints Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

New Orleans opened as an 8.5-point home favorite. The Colts moneyline opened at +335 and the point total at 44 before an uptick to 45.5 after the two teams allowed 86 combined points last Sunday. However, it’s worth noting that the total has gone UNDER in six of the Saints’ last seven night games.

New Orleans is 2-8 ATS over its past 10 when a home favorite of 9 or more points. Indianapolis was a road dog of 9 or more points earlier this year when the Colts went into Kansas City as 10.5-point underdogs and upset the Chiefs 19-13. Marlon Mack rushed for 132 yards in that game.

Indianapolis News & Notes

For Frank Reich, a promising 5-2 start has turned into a season to forget. The Colts head coach is looking at Andrew Luck’s retirement and T.Y. Hilton’s nagging injuries as bookends to the 2019 campaign. Reich said Hilton is week to week with a calf injury that has kept him out the better part of the last month and a half.

Indy placed fellow receiver Parris Campbell and veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri on injured reserve earlier this week. So, Jacoby Brissett’s top three wide receivers down the stretch are likely Zach Pascal, Ashton Dulin and Marcus Johnson.

While the offense endures weekly challenges, the Colts defense just let Tampa Bay rally back from 14 down and hang 38 points. Andrew Luck’s contributions aside, Indy’s defense helped propel the Colts into the 2018 playoffs. The year-over-year regression isn’t damning overall, but two categories jump out.

Stat Category2018 Rank2019 Rank
Yards Allowed Per Game11th15th
YA Per Play9th20th
Rush Yards APG9th8th
Pass Yards APG15th22nd
Opp. 3rd Down Conversion Rate18th21st
Opp. Red Zone Conversion Rate11th15th

The Colts’ secondary woes have caused their yards allowed per play to soar as opposing offenses have enjoyed an easier time moving the chains on third down. This isn’t ideal ahead of a matchup with the Saints when Drew Brees just passed for 349 yards against the 49ers defense.

When you combine this with the fact that Brissett’s offense has scored 17 or fewer points in three of its past six games and struggled against above-average defenses this season, it’s evidence that this Monday matchup is pretty lopsided.

New Orleans News & Notes

INJURY UPDATES 12/11/19

The Saints defense will be without defensive end Marcus Davenport for the rest of the season due to a Lisfranc injury. NFL Network reporting that defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins has an ankle injury that could also keep him out the rest of the season. Their absence could make running back Marlon Mack's night easier.

---Original Preview---

Michael Thomas catches the passes, earns the headlines and may break some records, but Jared Cook has truly been an X factor for the Saints offense this season. The veteran tight end has caught 34 passes for 525 yards (15.4 YPC) with six touchdowns, second-most on the team. New Orleans may be without Cook this Monday after he suffered a concussion early in the game against the 49ers. It’ll be somewhat surprising if he passes concussion protocol in time.

The 49ers-Saints box score post-mortem looks pretty ugly for New Orleans. San Francisco converted six of 12 on third down and scored on four of six red-zone trips. However, as this ESPN report chopped up, the gaudy stats, 48 points allowed and loss are just magnified by the fact that the Saints lost their footing on a higher playoff seed.

San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan also emptied out the playbook and gashed the Saints on some trick plays that – one would think – the Colts aren’t in a position to pull off with their current personnel.

As Sean Payton noted during his presser, though not as an excuse, the team was without starting linebackers A.J. Klein (knee) and Kiko Alonso (thigh). Those two are both questionable for Monday night.

It’s cliché, but the loss to the 49ers will hopefully act as a wake-up call to the Saints defense ahead of a matchup against a depleted Colts offense. The New Orleans pass rush should impose its will and hold Indy to 17 or fewer points.

Betting Pick: OVER 48

UPDATE 12/16/19 - crazy movement on the TOTAL late in hours leading off to kickoff 

UPDATE 12/11/19 - with the injuries on the Saints defensive side of the ball, keep tabs on this total and spread (NO -9) as it'll be interesting to see if there's any movement in the coming days.

---Original Pick---

A 45.5-point total appears to be – and very well could be – bait. You have two defenses that allowed 86 combined points last weekend and they’re going to clean up their act and keep the total UNDER 45 eight days later? 

However, the UNDER is 27-14 in night games this season and, again, the total has gone UNDER in six of the Saints’ last seven night games. The Colts’ injury-riddled offense doesn’t do enough to push it OVER.

Shark Bites
  • The Colts are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs the NFC.
  • The Saints are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games as home favorites.
  • The Colts are 3-10 SU in their last 13 night games.