Carolina (5-9) is mired in a six-game losing streak and will turn to Will Grier at quarterback. Kyle Allen fell apart with 15 interceptions over the last eight games, which led to interim head coach Perry Fewell’s decision to turn to Grier, who was a third-round pick in the 2019 draft. Christian McCaffrey has set a franchise record this season with 2,121 scrimmage yards this season. The Panthers’ defense is allowing 31 points per game during their losing skid.
Indianapolis (6-8) is coming off its worst loss of the season, a 34-7 beat down on Monday night against the Saints. T.Y. Hilton is expected to play despite being relatively ineffective in his return from a calf injury last week. Jacoby Brissett threw for only 165 yards in Monday’s loss and failed to reach a passer rating of 77.0 for the fourth time in the last five games. The Colts are allowing 34.3 points per game over their last three games.
ESPN’s FPI gives Indianapolis a 70.2% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Sunday’s matchup between the Panthers and Colts.
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Panthers vs. Colts Game Details
Date: Sunday, December 22
Time: 1:00 pm
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Spread: Colts -6.5
This line opened at Colts -6.5 and has been bet up slightly to Colts -7 at some books despite the majority of the bets and money coming in on the Panthers. This indicates a slight reverse line move favoring Indianapolis.
- Panthers are 5-9 SU and 6-7-1 ATS this season
- Colts are 6-8 SU and 6-6-2 ATS this season
- Over is 10-4 in Panthers games this season
- Over is 8-6 in Colts games this season
Analysis & Picks
The wheels have fallen off for both of these teams in 2019. Both teams have been cursed with quarterback issues, with Andrew Luck’s retirement and Cam Newton’s nagging injuries forcing both teams to go in different directions. Newton’s contract is not guaranteed in 2020, so he’s likely played his last game in Charlotte. That vacancy is part of the decision-making process which has led to rookie Will Grier getting the start under center. The third-round pick out of West Virginia is an intriguing prospect and had a very successful collegiate career in Morgantown. This is a tough spot for Grier’s first career start, against Colts’ defense that will be playing with a chip on their shoulder after getting embarrassed by Drew Brees on national TV. I like to back teams after playing their worst week, as it gives you the most bang for your buck with line value. I think this is a good week for Marlon Mack to get going against a Carolina defense allowing 140.2 rushing yards per game. Swallow the points and take the home favorite.
PICK: Colts -6.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith