New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview: Prediction, Best Bets, Odds, Depth Charts (10/29/23)
The Indianapolis Colts (3-4) play host tothe New Orleans Saints (3-4) Sunday (10/29/23) at 1 p.m. ET in Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season. This game is one of the tightest matchups of the week, as the Saints are just -1 spread favorites on the road. The over/under is set at 43.5 total points.
This article provides Saints vs. Colts analysis, predictions and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the Colts +1 against the spread.
New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts Prediction & Best Bet
Derek Carr and the Saints are a mess right now.
After starting the season 2-0, they have lost four of their last five games. Their three wins this season have come against the Titans, Panthers and Patriots, who have a combined 4-15 record. Carr is struggling to do much in the passing game beyond checking the ball down to Alvin Kamara, who consequently is leading the entire NFL in receptions per game at 8.75 after returning from his 3-game suspension.
Things boiled over last week when Carr expressed frustration with his top wide receiver Chris Olave for not running hard despite Carr not throwing him anything close to a catchable pass.
Derek Carr bombing it 10 yards out of bounds…
then losing his mind the WR didn’t run his route into the bench to catch it is pure comedy pic.twitter.com/8uCa8u40EY
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) October 20, 2023
Olave and fellow receiver Michael Thomas hashed things out in the media and on X and Thomas essentially called out Carr for not running the play properly.
exactly his job is only to collision o/s shoulder of defender he is never the throw not even a alert. Only advice I would give him is to take the ball and know taysom runs fast so he has to run even faster to clear it out. But the progression is 7, 22, 13 eyes only went to 7
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) October 21, 2023
That is not exactly an ideal scenario for a quarterback new to the franchise and the two top receivers in his offense. Can we really trust a Saints team with this clear lack of chemistry to beat anyone but a league cellar dweller right now?
Perhaps a matchup with the Colts’ struggling defense is just what Carr, Olave and Thomas need to get things corrected. Indianapolis is currently allowing the third-most points per game (27.3) and the 12th-most yards (351.3), though their advanced metrics like DVOA and EPA are more middle-of-the-pack defensively.
The Colts have looked very solid offensively with veteran backup Gardner Minshew under center. Minshew is averaging 287 passing yards on 61.5% completions in his three starts, including back-to-back 300+ yard games. He has done that against three very good defenses in the Ravens, Jaguars and Browns.
Minshew’s bugaboo has been turnovers. He has eight in the last two games (four interceptions, four lost fumbles). The Saints’ defense is currently tied for fifth with 12 takeaways so far this season, just two shy of their total of 14 last year.
With Jonathan Taylor back in the fold and getting stronger each week, and rookie receiver Josh Downs emerging as a potential star in the slot for Minshew, the Colts should be able to move the ball against the Saints’ defense. We certainly have much more confidence in them right now than we do in Carr and a Saints’ offense averaging just 19 points per game (21st).
In a pick’em game, we’ll take the home underdog that is trending in a much better direction right now. The Colts are also 4-3 ATS this season while the Saints are just 1-5-1.
We also like the over in this game. These teams are first and third, respectively, in pace of play and they are third and sixth, respectively, in plays run per game. With that kind of volume, the over/under of 43.5 is too low
New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts Prediction & Best Bet: Colts win 26-23, Colts +1 (-110), over 43.5 (-108)
Saints vs. Colts Best Betting Odds
NO @ IND
Oct. 29, 12:00 PM
Odds updated October 29th, 2023, at 3:18 pm
This game is essentially a pick’em and has flipped from the Colts being -1.5 favorites to the Saints being -1 on the road.
The total is trending up after opening at 41.5 and is now sitting at 43.5.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Saints winning 23-21.
New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts Key Injuries
The Colts could be missing several starters including starting right tackle Braden Smith, tight end Kylen Granson and cornerback JuJu Brents. Running back Zack Moss is also worth monitoring after he missed Wednesday’s practice, but he returned Thursday and is expected to play.
The Saints player most at risk of missing this game is starting OL James Hurst. Several other noteworthy players are worth monitoring, including LB Demario Davis, safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye, and tight ends Juwan Johnson and Taysom Hill.
New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Saints vs. Colts below.
Jonathan Taylor vs. Saints’ run defense
Taylor was much more active in his second game back after resolving his contract dispute, rushing 18 times for 75 yards (4.17 per carry) while adding three catches for 45 yards. If that game against the vaunted Browns’ defense is a sign that he’s getting back to his 2021 form, then the Colts’ offense suddenly looks pretty dangerous, even with Minshew under center.
The Saints have been solid against the run, allowing 98.7 yards per game (15th) on 3.9 yards per carry (13th). Their advanced metrics look even better. They are 12th in DVOA, third in EPA allowed and fifth in success rate against the run.
If the Saints keep the running game in check and force Minshew to beat them through the air, they stand a better chance of forcing him into a turnover that could swing the game.
Alvin Kamara vs. Colts’ defensive front
Similar to Taylor, Kamara has looked like he’s regained his old form since getting a late start to the season (albeit for different reasons). Carr dumping it off Kamara has seemed like the only thing the Saints can do consistently on offense. He is averaging career highs in targets (9.75) and receptions per game as a result.
However, Kamara has not been very efficient with those touches. He is averaging a career low in yards per catch (5.1) and yards per touch (4.2) thanks to his pedestrian 3.8 yards per carry average. The Saints’ heavy usage of Kamara despite the low efficiency of his touches limits the overall effectiveness of the offense.
The Colts will be happy if the Saints give Kamara a similar volume of touches in this game so long as they can contain him to short gains and limit his success rate. But if Kamara can start turning more of those touches into explosive plays, that could open things up for the whole the Saints offense.