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NFL Live Betting Week 16: How We Live Bet Chargers vs Colts on Monday Night Football

NFL Live Betting Week 16: How We Live Bet Chargers vs Colts on Monday Night Football article feature image
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Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Santa Colts.

The NFL’s busy Christmas schedule is coming to a close on Monday Night Football, with the Los Angles Chargers on the road against the Indianapolis Colts in our last NFL live betting for Week 16.

This game means a lot more to the Chargers, who can clinch a playoff spot with a win, than it does to the already eliminated Colts. However, sportsbooks were still expecting a reasonably close game, with the Chargers favored by just four.

Our live betting scenario to watch was predicated on the Colts meeting or exceeding those expectations, as that lined up nicely in a few areas. Here’s how we’re live betting Chargers vs Colts on Monday Night Football in Week 16.

The Live Bet To Watch For on Monday Night Football in Week 16

Overs If The Colts Play Well (Or, Well…) — LIVE BET MADE

Every once in a while, all of the factors that we use to analyze live betting spots point in the same direction. This is one of those times.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the likeliest of scenarios that they pointed toward, though it wasn’t out of the question. We were looking for the Colts to keep things close here, or ideally take a lead. That would put us on the right side of our pace splits.

The Chargers play at a top-10 pace in close games and when trailing by seven or more. They scale things back to 13th when playing with a lead.

The Colts play at a top-10 pace both when leading by seven or more and in close games, while falling all the way back to 19th when trailing — which isn’t to say they play slower from behind, of course, just that they speed up much less than the average team.

Additionally, a Colts lead or close game pushes both teams to their more efficient method of attack on offense. The Colts have the league’s worst passing offense by DVOA, and the Chargers defense is far more vulnerable against the run. Game flows that allow the Colts to keep it on the ground should help scoring.

On the Chargers side, the splits aren’t quite as extreme. However, the Chargers are slightly better when passing, while the Colts feature a better defense against the run than the pass.

Hopefully, this one would be fairly low scoring early on, and the total would drop from the 45-point pregame line.  We’d be looking to pull the trigger if and when it falls into the 30s, ideally with a Colts lead. We had some wiggle room on the timing of this one, though.

With the Colts marching down the field late in the second quarter, key Chargers defender Derwin James was ejected for a helmet to helmet hit. We’re going to bet based on the assumption the Colts score here and get us back to our “close game” narrative. Sports books are unlikely to have the ejection priced into their number. Over 35.5 (-114 at FanDuel) is our play. (And Indianapolis got a field goal out of the drive.)

Outside of that, the only things to watch for are player props. At halftime of Thursday and Monday Night Football each week, my predictive analytics colleague, Nick Giffen, is live on “Bet What Happens Live With Dr. Nick!” He’ll cover props, and possibly join us with a total bet as well.

How We Approach Live Betting in General

The NFL is perfect for live betting, with the pauses between plays providing plenty of time to get bets in. This season, I’ve built a model to project the pace of play under a variety of in-game scenarios. These include first vs. second half, as well as which team is leading or when the game is within a touchdown.

The primary benefit is for betting totals. If the game is going to be faster or slower than was assumed pregame, the application is obvious. Faster-paced games tend to produce more points.

Player props also present interesting opportunities. Sportsbooks are offering a variety of live player props, and faster or slower than expected games create clear opportunities.

Take a look around various books before placing bets, though. There tends to be more variation between shops in live markets than there is pregame.

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