Panthers vs. Colts Betting Picks, Predictions & Odds: The Smart Way to Play Will Grier’s Debut

Panthers vs. Colts Betting Picks, Predictions & Odds: The Smart Way to Play Will Grier’s Debut article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: WIll Grier

  • Our experts preview the Week 16 NFL matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts.
  • Their analysis includes whether Will Grier's NFL debut is creating an value on the spread.
  • Find betting odds, Sean Koerner's power ratings and more below.

Panthers at Colts Betting Picks, Predictions & Odds

  • Odds: Colts -7
  • Over/Under: 46.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Odds as of Thursday evening and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


The Colts are coming off their worst loss of the season while the Panthers are debuting starting quarterback Will Grier. Who do our experts like in this battle between two reeling teams?

They preview the matchup from a betting perspective below.

Panthers-Colts Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Colts

Greg Olsen (concussion) resumed practicing in full, so he should be able to play on Sunday. Otherwise, most of the Panthers’ injuries are on the defensive side with linebackers Marquise Haynes (knee), Shaq Thompson (ankle) and Mario Addison (shoulder) all missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Curtis Samuel was also added to the injury report on Thursday with a knee injury, but he was able to get in a limited practice.

T.Y. Hilton is off the injury report for the first time in awhile, but they’re mostly banged up in the secondary with safety Malik Hooker (hand) and Kenny Moore (ankle) both sitting out early in the week. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Colts Run Offense vs. Panthers Run Defense

The Colts like to run the ball, ranking No. 6 with a 45.8% rush rate, and as significant home favorites, they seem especially likely to lean on the ground game. Against the Panthers, they should be able to have success.

The Panthers have a notable funnel defense that ranks No. 9 against the pass but No. 32 against the run (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric). The Panthers have been without run-stuffing Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short (shoulder, IR) since Week 3, and in his absence, they have been a ground game sieve.

The Panthers have allowed a league-worst 325-1,726-23 rushing stat line this year to opposing backfield, and they are No. 31 in running back rush success rate allowed (per Sharp Football Stats).

The Colts don’t have an elite backfield, but their running backs are No. 8 in rush success rate. Specifically, the Colts are No. 6 in power success rate, and the Panthers are No. 28 in power success rate allowed.

In Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins and Jonathan Williams, the Colts have a trio of backs all capable of handling a full workload and picking up tough yardage, and change-of-pace option Nyheim Hines is a decent contributor in limited action. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is an above-average runner.

With this collection of runners, the Colts could have 200 yards and two touchdowns rushing against the Panthers. Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Colts -6.5
  • Projected Total: 45.5

The Panthers have decided to move on from Kyle Allen, which means Grier will be making his NFL debut. Given Allen’s struggles of late and the uncertainty of Grier, I’m considering this more of a lateral move that shouldn’t impact the spread very much, if at all.

Grier struggled a bit in the preseason with a 6.3 yards per attempt and a two-to-three touchdown-to-interception ratio. We would have to assume he’s been able to adapt to the NFL over the past 15 weeks of practice and should be able to match Allen’s production in this offense given the talent he’s surrounded by in the passing game.

I always stress that whenever there’s a level of uncertainty in a situation like this, there’s typically more value on the moneyline. Right now the moneyline is at +260 to +270 at most books based on the +7 spread, but we can assume there’s more uncertainty in the current spread, which by default makes the moneyline inherently more valuable. Panthers +260 is a lean here. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Our staff doesn’t see value on this game right now, but that could change as lines move, so download our app to follow specific experts and action around this game.

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