The Carolina Panthers (5-9) head to Indiana this weekend for an inter-conference showdown with the Indianapolis Colts (6-8). Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on December 22nd at Lucas Oil Stadium and the game will be televised on FOX.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Colts listed as 6.5-point home favorites. The spread has increased by half a point after early betting, as Indianapolis is currently available at -7. The total for this matchup is 46.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 16 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Colts vs Panthers Game Odds & Betting Preview
The Panthers have now lost six straight games after falling 30-24 at home against Seattle last weekend to drop to 5-9 on the season overall. Carolina gave up 13 unanswered points in the first quarter and never fully recovered despite outscoring the Seahawks 24-17 over the final 45 minutes of the game. QB Kyle Allen struggled with turnovers yet again, throwing three interceptions and going 25/41 for 277 passing yards and a touchdown. RB Christian McCaffrey led the way on the ground, racking up over 175 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. D.J. Moore also chipped in, exploding for 113 receiving yards on eight catches. Overall, the Panthers gained well over 400 total yards of offense and found the end zone three times despite coming up just short on the scoreboard.
Carolina struggled defensively against the Seahawks, surrendering over 400 total yards of offense and four touchdowns. The Panthers had no answer for Seattle RB Chris Carson on the ground, allowing him to rush for 133 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
The Colts couldn’t find a way to get past New Orleans in Week 15, losing 34-7 on Monday Night Football to drop to 6-8 on the season overall. Indianapolis gave up 20 unanswered points in the first half and never recovered, getting completely shut out on offense until the fourth quarter. QB Jacoby Brissett went 18/34 for 165 passing yards through the air while RB Marlon Mack was limited to only 1.7 yards per carry on the ground on a team-high 11 touches. WR Zach Pascal led the way for the receiving corps, hauling in four catches for 44 yards. As a whole, the Colts generated just over 200 total yards of offense and scored only a single touchdown against a tough Saints defense.
Indianapolis had a rough outing on the other side of the ball against the Saints, getting lit up for over 400 total yards of offense and four touchdowns. The Colts couldn’t find a way to slow down New Orleans WR Michael Thomas, as he torched the secondary for 128 receiving yards and a touchdown on a game-high 12 catches.
Free NFL Betting Predictions and Pick: Panthers +7
I’m leaning just slightly towards taking the touchdown and rolling with the road underdog in this inter-conference clash on Sunday afternoon, as I think that Carolina should find a way to stay within striking distance of a struggling Colts squad. The Panthers announced that Kyle Allen is getting benched in favor of Will Grier this weekend, so the rookie will likely lean heavily on Christian McCaffrey on the ground in his first NFL start. McCaffrey’s presence alone should help Carolina find enough success on offense to keep pace with a Colts squad that has only averaged 19 points per game over the past month of the season.
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The Panthers have also had the upper hand in this particular matchup in recent years, as they have now covered the number in four out of their last six battles against Indianapolis. Carolina is also a very impressive 8-1 against the spread over their last nine games against AFC South opponents. On the other side, the Colts are just 1-6 straight up in their last seven games overall. They are also only 3-4 against the spread through their first seven outings this year at Lucas Oil Stadium. I’ll roll the dice with Will Grier in his first ever NFL start – give me the points and the Panthers to cover the number!