After both teams engaged in surprisingly high scoring games last week, it’ll be interesting to see how the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts adjust and move on heading into their head to head matchup this week in Indianapolis. It’ll be an interesting array of characters in this cross-conference matchup, including Gardner Minshew and Rashid Shaheed, so let’s take a look at some Saints vs. Colts player props.
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Let’s see if statistical regression can finally catch up to Gardner Minshew, while Rashid Shaheed and Blake Grupe look to stay hot.
Gardner Minshew Over 0.5 Interceptions (+124)
Minshew has thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions, which doesn’t exactly scream “unsustainably lucky,” but his big time throw to turnover worthy play ratio of four to 15 is absolutely staggering. He’s tied with Desmond Ridder for the most turnover worthy plays in the league, despite very low volume after starting the year as Anthony Richardson’s backup, and owns a turnover worthy play rate of 7.9%, better than only P.J. Walker’s figure.
It feels like Minshew’s luck could finally run out against New Orleans, one of the league’s best secondaries. They rank seventh in PFF’s coverage grade, fifth in pass defense success rate, and eighth in both DVOA and EPA. They’ve allowed just 6.1 yards per attempt, the third best average in the league, and their completion percentage allowed is 57.8%, the NFL’s second-best. They’ve snagged eight interceptions thus far, secured by eight different players, so there’s no lack of depth and consistency.
The Colts should be trailing in this one, and thus throwing the football. Even if they’re able to hang around in this one, there’s a pretty good chance they go to the air; as rough as Minshew has been, the Indy pass offense has graded better than the ground game, which is 27th in both EPA and success rate. To be totally fair, they score better in opponent-adjusted DVOA as they’ve faced the league’s second-toughest schedule, but this is another good run defense; New Orleans ranks third in EPA against the run and fifth in success rate.
The Colts are going to have to throw the ball, and given both their track record and the Saints’, it’s probably not going to go well enough that Minshew avoids a pick. He’s started to accumulate turnovers- four in the past two games, and unfortunately, his play to this point implies that they’ll keep coming.
Blake Grupe Over 1.5 Field Goals Made (+100)
Grupe hasn’t been the most consistent kicker this season, as he’s only hit 80% of his attempts, including a puzzling miss from less than 30 yards, but he’s had an absolute litany of opportunities. He’s attempted 20 kicks in seven games, including eight across his past two outings. Grupe has attempted multiple field goals in every single saints game this season, and he’s hit at least two in all except for one.
This is due in enormous part to a Saints offense that is mediocre rather than awful overall, but is horrendous in the red zone; they only score touchdowns on 37.5% of their opportunities inside the 20, the fourth-lowest rate in the league. You might imagine that the return of Alvin Kamara would have helped, but you’d be wrong; they’re barely over 40% since he’s come back, so not a seismic shift by any means.
To be completely fair to Grupe, two of his four misses are from 50 yards or more, which do not apply to a red zone drive. On all other kicks, he’s hitting at a more respectable rate, so when the Saints offense inevitably grinds to a halt several times in this contest, he should be able to take advantage and convert a couple of chances. An offense that can move the ball but can’t finish drives is a perfect storm for a prolific kicker, and that’s exactly what we have in this matchup; at even-money odds, this is a must-bet.
Rashid Shaheed Longest Reception Over 16.5 Yards
Saints Quarterback Derek Carr leads the NFL in deep pass attempts with 42, leaving the field in the dust; Josh Allen is next up with 35. Carr is also fourth among all qualifiers with an average depth of target of 9.2, another clear indicator that the Saints passing playbook has been very vertical this season.
You might be wondering why not just invest in Carr for this prop if he’s been so prolific, and the answer is twofold. One reason is that his number for longest completion is much longer, in the mid-30s, and the other is that he hasn’t been particularly efficient throwing the deep ball to every receiver. Chris Olave, for instance, leads the league with 19 deep targets, but has reeled in just four of those catches. His number for this prop is 22.5, and he broke it in each of the last three games, but only once since, and just barely, with a catch of 24 yards.
Shaheed is seventh in football with 12 deep ball targets, but he’s caught seven of them. His average depth of target is 16 yards on the dot, the league’s fourth-highest, leading to an average of 16.3 yards per catch, good for 11th in the league. We’re essentially just betting on whether or not he’ll get involved at all; in the six games in which he’s recorded a catch, he’s cracked this comically-low number in four, and often by a bundle, with longest catches of 41 and 45 in the first two games of the year, and 51 a couple weeks ago.
Against a middling Colts air defense, Shaheed should get the targets he needs to turn at least one into a huge play, or even a medium one; at 16.5, this number is very breakable for the Saints speedster.