Merry Christmas to you and yours, and we’ve received quite a treat in the form of this NFL Holiday Double-Pack. The Indianapolis Colts, who have now won back-to-back wins, take their talents to Arizona, to face Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. While the Cardinals have long been considered the best team in the NFL, they have lost two games in a row, including an inexplicable loss to the Detroit Lions last week. This game not only gives them the opportunity to get back on track, but also to prove that they are still a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The Colts hopped onto the back of second-year running back Jonathan Taylor, and he quickly found himself in the MVP conversation. Taylor leads the NFL with 1,518 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns and an average of 5.6 yards per carry. Stopping him will be the key to victory for Arizona.
Below, we’ll break down this special match from a game point of view and take a look at line movement, Over / Under, and player props to consider. First up, here’s how you can watch Saturday night’s game.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
Dated: Saturday 25 December | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Site: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, AZ)
TV: NFL Network | Flux: fuboTV (try for free)
To follow: CBS Sports app
Chances: Cardinals -1, O / U 49
That line opened at Cardinals -4.5 last Tuesday, but has started to decline. He fell a point to Cardinals -3.5 on Thursday, then to Cardinals -2 on Sunday night. On Monday morning, he fell another half point to Cardinals -1.5 and then to a pick’em on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Cardinals then found themselves favorites by one point.
The choice: Cardinals -1. So, we have one team that comes out of a monster victory while the other comes out of an embarrassing defeat. The public is starting to view the Colts as a playoff contender while simultaneously falling in love with the Cardinals. Seems like a good place to jump on Arizona. I also don’t like Carson Wentz and Taylor being deprived of three starting offensive linemen, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Mark Glowinski.
Over / Under 49
That total opened to 49 last Tuesday. It received a rise to 49.5 on Wednesday, but then fell one point to 48.5 on Sunday. It climbed back to 49.5, but eventually settled down to 49 on Christmas Eve.
The choice: Under 49 years old. That total is something I won’t play as I think Vegas did a great job of establishing the line. My original prediction was 48 points, and I think I’m leaning below that. The Colts can score the third most points per game and the Cardinals aren’t far behind in the eighth, but both have offensive injuries and both defenses are in the top 15 units. The skinny is below.
Carson Wentz Accessories
Touchdown passes: 1.5 (Over +130, Under -160)
Overtaking sites: 212.5 (over -115, under -115)
Success attempts: DISABLED
Pass Completions: 19.5 (over -110, less than -120)
Longest completion: 34.5 (over -110, less than -120)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over +110, Under -140)
Precipitation course: 13.5 (over -115, under -115)
The Colts relied heavily on the running game against the New England Patriots last week. So strongly that Wentz completed 5 of 12 passes for 57 yards, a touchdown and an interception. It is better to get out of your averages rather than the last two games. Wentz is averaging 214.6 passing yards at his career low. It’s still above the line this week, and if Taylor doesn’t dominate on the ground early or the Cardinals strike early, Wentz could throw the ball. Remember, Wentz threw for 306 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While the skinny is above the yards, I have no reading on the completion numbers. Wentz could hit a deep shot or two in the passing game where the Over on yards hits but the Under on everything else wins. Going from skinny touches is over because of the juice. He threw several touchdowns in eight of the 14 games played.
Kyler Murray Accessories
Touchdown passes: 1.5 (Over -130, Under +100)
Overtaking sites: 262.5 (over -115, under -115)
Success attempts: DISABLED
Pass Completions: DISABLED
Longest completion: 37.5 (over -110, less than -120)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -150, Under +120)
Precipitation course: 27.5 (over -115, under -115)
I’ll take an aviator on the Over in the passing yards. Murray is averaging a career-high 276.3 passing yards per game and we could see more passes if the questionable James Conner is inactive. The 1.5 touchdowns from the pass also lean on the Over, but I won’t be playing his rushing prop. Murray could aim for 61 yards like he did against the Los Angeles Rams or 3 yards like last week.
TY Hilton Reception Price: Over 23.5 (+100). SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh alerted me to this prop. Hilton has exceeded that number in two of the last four games, and the Cardinals’ defense allows nearly 50 passing yards more at home than away. Oh’s sims have Hilton with over 30 receiving yards.
Christian Kirk on receiving yards: Over 58.5 (-115). With DeAndre Hopkins out, Kirk will likely be the primary receiver going forward. He caught three passes for 86 yards against the Rams and nine passes for 94 yards and a touchdown last week against the Lions on 12 targets. I see him overtake this number at Christmas.
Jonathan Taylor rushing attempts: Over 20.5 (-125). Even if Taylor no longer jumps 170 meters, Frank Reich will feed him. He’s covered that number in four of the last five games. The only game in question came against the Buccaneers, when he carried the ball 16 times. Fans were screaming at him to have more litters for this match.