This week’s edition of Monday Night Football presents us with one of the most challenging games to predict of the year. The Saints come into this game needing to win to maintain or improve their playoff seeding. The Colts, in sharp contrast, have nothing to play for other than pride. That makes it a very difficult game to wager on.
Oddsmakers definitely believe that New Orleans is the right play. The Saints are a stunning nine-point favorites against Frank Reich’s team. Some of that margin is based on the talent gap between the two sides. More of the number can be chalked up to the combination of home field advantage and motivation that the Saints enjoy.
If you want to successfully maneuver the muddy waters of wagering this game, you absolutely need to check out our exclusive Statschecker Site. I’ll give you five tasty nuggets on the match-up in this piece, but you need to dive into the site if you want to devour the main course. Read on to discover five things you absolutely must consider before laying your money down.
Michael Thomas is money at home
Lamar Jackson is almost certainly going to win the NFL MVP award this season, but don’t sleep on just how good Thomas has been. Fortunately for New Orleans, he also happens to play his best football at home.
Thomas has found the end zone in four of his last five home games. He will undoubtedly be the first name on the Colts’ scouting report. If he finds a way to hurt Indianapolis down the field then this game could turn ugly. He’s certainly a player you want in daily fantasy this week.
The Colts struggle away from home
A big reason why Indianapolis isn’t going to make the playoffs this season can be chalked up to their struggles on the road. They head to The Big Easy with an ugly mark of just 2-4 away from the friendly confines of their home stadium.
To say that New Orleans is going to be rocking for Monday Night Football would be a massive understatement. This is one of the rare games where 3 points might not be enough to account for the home field advantage. The Saints crowd will absolutely be a factor when Jacoby Brissett and his offense have the football.
22.8 is a massive number in this game
Strangely, the Colts come into this game averaging 22.8 points per contest. The strange aspect is that the Saints also give up that exact number of points per game. Expecting the New Orleans defense to shut down the Indianapolis offense would be a mistake.
The production level of Marlon Mack will be particularly critical for Frank Reich’s offense. When he can break the century mark on the ground it makes the Colts’ offense really tough to stop. Look for New Orleans to load the box early to keep him from building any meaningful momentum.
The Saints are strong against the spread
Sean Payton can be proud of the fact that his team comes into Monday night with a record of 8-5 against the spread this season. That clearly shows that the Saints have exceeded expectations on a regular basis.
That mark also happens to be good enough for 6th place in the NFL. Don’t be shocked if the Saints add to that record on Monday night. Drew Brees will be chomping at the bit to make up for last week’s heartbreaking loss to the 49ers.
Keep an eye on T.Y. Hilton’s status
The retirement of Andrew Luck in the preseason obviously shook the Colts’ organization to the core. It’s actually the availability of Hilton that has had a larger impact on their on-field results this season.
Indianapolis is only 1-5 when they are forced to play without their No. 1 wide receiver. His status for this game is shrouded in mystery at the moment. It’s very possible he’ll be a game time decision for the Colts. If he plays, it gives Brissett a massive boost.
Put your money on the motivated team
The biggest key to this game is the reality that only the Saints really have anything to play for. They’re going to come out flying in front of the home faithful. Reich won’t allow his Colts team to simply roll over and play dead, but they won’t have the juice to score with New Orleans in the second half.
As a result, make a comfortable wager on the Saints to cover the nine points. Yes, it’s a big number, but a blowout is a significant possibility here. TV executives may hate a boring game in the fourth quarter but it’s something you can profit on.