NFL Monday Night Football Betting Picks: Indianapolis Colts at Carolina Panthers

Indianapolis Colts at Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina
Monday, November 2, 2015, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Carolina -6 1/2
Current Line: Carolina -6
Opening Total: 46
Current Total: 46
Opening Money Line: Panthers -300 / Colts +235
Current Money Line: Panthers -225 / Colts +185

The Panthers are 6 point favorites against the Colts Monday.
The Panthers are 6 point favorites against the Colts Monday.

Both the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers are in first place in their respective divisions, but they have vastly different records. The 3-4 Indianapolis Colts lead the AFC South over the 3-5 Houston Texans. The 6-0 Carolina Panthers lead the NFC South over the 6-2 Atlanta Falcons. The panters are one of four undefeated teams left as they host the Colts Monday night.

Carolina leads the series 4-1 against Indianapolis. The Panthers won the last meeting 27-19 in 2011 in Indianapolis. The Colts won the only meeting in Charlotte in 2007.

Indianapolis is coached by Chuck Pagano. The Colts have wins over division foes the Tennessee Titans 35-33 and Texans 27-20 both on the road, and Jacksonville Jaguars  at home 16-13. Indianapolis has a road loss at the Buffalo Bills 27-14, plus home losses to the New York Jets 20-7, New England Patriots 34-27 and last week against the New Orleans Saints 27-21. The Colts have lost two straight games.

Indianapolis was a 5.5 point favorite against New Orleans and the total was 52.5. The Saints scored the first 27 points of the game. However, the Colts rallied with three second half touchdowns to pull within 27-21 with 3:05 left in the fourth. They would not get the ball back though as the Saints pulled off the upset on the road. New Orleans had 449 total yards to 376 for Indianapolis. The Colts had three turnovers to just one for the Saints. Indianapolis is 2-5 ATS and the total is 3-4 this season.

Carolina is coached by Ron Rivera. Carolina has road wins at the Jaguars 20-9, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-23 and Seattle Seahawks 27-23. The Panthers also have home wins over the Texans 24-17, Saints 27-22 and last week over the Philadelphia Eagles 27-16.

Carolina was a 3 point favorite against Philadelphia and the total was 46. The Panthers took a 14-6 lead at halftime and expanded the lead to 21-6 in the third. The Eagles would pull to within 21-16 by the end of the third. Carolina sealed the victory with two fourth quarter field goals. The Panthers overcame three turnovers in the win. Carolina is 5-1 ATS and the total is 3-2-1 this season.

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Indianapolis is being outscored 25-21 this season. The Colts are #21 in both scoring and points allowed. Indianapolis averages 351 yards per game on offense including 258 passing and 94 rushing yards per game. The Colts are #27 in rushing. On defense, the Colts allow 409 yards per game including 286 passing and 123 rushing yards. Indianapolis is #22 or worse in all three categories. The Colts are 42/102 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 44/108. Indianapolis has forced 10 sacks and allowed 15 this season. The Colts are -8 in turnovers this season, but the Colts have scored two defensive touchdowns.

Andrew Luck has thrown for 1,398 yards with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, and also has 21 carries for 127 yards. Luck missed two games with a shoulder injury, and it was revealed this week that he is also playing with several broken ribs. He is listed as probable. Forty year old Matt Hasselbeck is the back-up and started against the Jaguars and Texans.  Hasselbeck has thrown for 495 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Running back Frank Gore has 98 carries for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 16 catches for 94 yards. Josh Robinson could also get some carries, but is questionable for undisclosed reasons. Another running back Tyler Varga is on injured reserve with a concussion.

Receiver T.Y. Hilton has 37 catches for 606 yards and 3 touchdowns. Donte Moncrief has 34 catches for 384 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tight end Coby Fleener has 22 catches for 215 yards and a touchdown. Andre Johnson has 20 catches for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. Phillip Dorsett has 11 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown. He is out until Mid-December with an ankle injury. Tight end Dwayne Allen and receiver Griff Whalen will also get some targets. Seven defensive players are listed on the injury report.

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Carolina is outscoring teams 27-18 this season. The Panthers are #4 in scoring and #5 in points allowed. Carolina is averaging 344 total yards per game including 200 passing and 145 rushing. The Panthers are #1 in rushing but #29 in passing. On defense, Carolina allows 345 total yards including 235 passing and 110 rushing yards. The Panthers are #10 in total defense. Carolina is 28/75 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 41/102. The Panthers have forced 18 sacks and allowed 11 this season. Carolina is +4 in turnovers. The Panthers have 3 defensive touchdowns and have allowed a special teams touchdown.

Quarterback Cam Newton has completed 55.8% of his passes for 1,275 yards with 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 54 carries for 245 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers might not seem that impressive but the Panthers don’t really have a number one receiver after Kelvin Benjamin suffered a torn ACL in the pre-season.

Tight end Greg Olsen has 27 catches for 439 yards with 3 touchdowns. Receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. has 18 catches for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns. Corey Brown has 11 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. Brenton Bersin, Jerricho Cotchery and Ed Dickson will also get some catches, but none has more than 8 this season.

Running back Jonathan Stewart has 103 carries for 423 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 6 catches. Mike Tolbert and Cameron Artis-Payne will also get some carries. Tolbert is questionable for personal reasons Seven defensive players are listed on the injury report including Jared Allen and Frank Alexander, as are four offensive linemen.

Indianapolis is 4-1 ATS after allowing more than 150 rushing yards, 10-3 after rushing for less than 90 yards, 18-6 after a straight up loss, 23-9-1 after passing for more than 250 yards, 12-5 on grass, 9-4 in Monday games, 2-6 overall, and 1-4 after failing to cover. The under is 4-1 in this series. The road team has covered the last four games in this series.

Carolina is 5-0 ATS after gaining more than 350 total yards, 5-1 after a straight up win, overall and on grass, 4-1 after a cover, 20-8-1 against teams with teams with losing records, 5-2 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 9-4-1 against teams with losing road records, 13-6-1 at home, and 3-7 after allowing 150 rushing yards or more. The Panthers are 4-1 ATS against the Colts.

Both teams have numerous injury concerns, but Carolina is simply playing better right now. This game was billed as a battle between Luck and Newton, arguably the two best young quarterbacks in the game. Newton is playing at a very high level but Luck has struggled mainly due to the injuries. I think the Panthers are simply too strong and win this game comfortably.

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