December 26, 2022
Three bets worth making when the Colts host the Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
8:15 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Los Angeles -4.0
The weekend slate of NFL games ends with a matchup between two teams heading in opposite directions. The Chargers are looking to clinch a playoff berth with a win on “Monday Night Football,” while the Colts are mercifully trying to reach the finish line of a disappointing season. Los Angeles has everything to play for tonight, while Indianapolis must still be reeling from last week’s historic collapse against Minnesota.
The Jeff Saturday experiment has (predictably) not worked, and the Colts have been the laughingstock of the NFL the last two weeks. First, on “Sunday Night Football” in Dallas, they absolutely melted down in the fourth quarter, getting outscored by the Cowboys 33-0 in the final frame. Then, those pesky two numbers appeared again, as Indy had a 33-0 lead in Minnesota last Saturday before losing 39-36 in overtime. It was the largest blown lead in NFL history, and another ugly footnote in the career of quarterback Matt Ryan after he blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Ryan’s been demoted to third-string quarterback and star running back Jonathan Taylor has been put on IR with an ankle sprain. Nick Foles will be under center for Indy, but his Super Bowl magic of a few years ago is long gone. The Colts could not be a bigger mess right now, and at 4-9-1, they’re counting down the days until vacation. Meanwhile, the 8-6 Chargers have a ton to play for, with AFC playoff seeding still up in the air. This line only being 4.0 points makes very little sense, mostly because of the dumpster fire in Indianapolis. Los Angeles covers with ease.
The total sits at 45.5 points and feels low given how pitiful the Colts defense is and how dynamic the Chargers offense is. Justin Herbert remains an intriguing young star at QB. Austin Ekeler is perhaps the best dual-threat RB in the league and Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are finally healthy. This is a team no one is going to want to see in the playoffs, and a matchup with Indy seems like the perfect opportunity for them to continue to gel and put up a crooked number on the scoreboard. The Chargers totals have gone over 45.5 points in five of their six road games this season, as the team is comfortable playing anywhere, considering they don’t have much (if any) of a home-field advantage when playing at SoFi Stadium. Meanwhile, the Colts have shattered 45.5 their last two games, as the wheels came off on this season. Their game against the Cowboys saw 73 points scored and the contest with the Vikings saw 75 points put up. This one shouldn’t be much different, as the Chargers win it 34-20.
Over 280.5 passing yards for Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert has been throwing the ball a ton lately, as Brandon Staley wants to air it out no matter the score or opponent. He’s had at least 42 pass attempts each of the last four games, including a ridiculous 51 against Miami back on Dec. 11. And what do passing attempts mean? Yards. And Herbert has thrown for at least 313 yards in his last three games, an average of 338.3 yards per game over that span. That’s a big enough sample size and comfortably ahead of his 280.5 yard total on Monday night to hit the over with confidence. Herbert should have at least 40 passing attempts again, so getting to at least 281 passing yards shouldn’t be an issue. And with frigid weather sweeping the country, it’s important to remember this game will be indoors. That’ll help Herbert’s cause as the Chargers air it out.
A Sneak Peek at Week 17
Three Early Thoughts
Steve Quinne’s first take on Week 17
Dallas Cowboys at Tennessee Titans
Nissan Stadium – Nashville, TN
8:15 PM ET (Thu)
SuperBook Line: Dallas -9.5
The Titans are reeling, as they’ve lost five straight games to fall below .500. Their season comes down to the finale against the Jaguars, with the AFC South on the line in that contest no matter what happens in Week 17. Meanwhile, the Cowboys still have an outside chance of winning the NFC East. They’re two back of the Eagles with two to play, so look for them to be ready to go. The number is too big, however, as Tennessee plays a lot of close, low-scoring games.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL
1:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Tampa Bay -3.0
Someone has to win the NFC South. Believe it or not, it could be the Panthers, a team that seemed in disarray earlier in the season when they fired their head coach and traded away key players. But here they are, sitting at 6-9 and just a game behind the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has been disappointing all season long, but a clutch win on Christmas night kept them in the driver’s seat. It’s tough to go against Tom Brady. The GOAT will be at home in a big game. Love the Bucs in this one.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field – Green Bay, WI
4:25 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Green Bay -3.0
The NFC has let the Packers hang around, something the conference’s playoff teams may come to regret. Green Bay can get into the dance by winning out, with two games at Lambeau Field to close out the season. Minnesota keeps finding a way to win, but at some point, the close games are going to catch up with them. The Packers have more to play for and are at home. The clock strikes midnight for the Vikings in this one.