NFL

Sunday Night Football Betting: Our Model Likes the Underdog Colts

The Indianapolis Colts travel west to play the San Francisco 49ers in a matchup of two teams with solid preseason expectations who have underwhelmed thus far.

According to our power rankings, we rank the Niners as the 14th-best squad, and the Colts are slotted 16th.

The home 49ers are 3.5-point favorites, and the game has a 42.0-point total, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Let's dive into what we think could be some interesting betting angles for this contest.

What Have These Two Done So Far?

Let's start with Carson Wentz, who is in his first season in Indianapolis.

On the year, the signal-caller is rocking a mark of 0.19 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back -- well above last season's league average of 0.09 NEP. All in all, he's been pretty solid, and star offensive lineman Quinton Nelson is likely to play this week.

But the defense hasn't been good and is dinged up, with Rock Ya-Sin and Julian Blackmon among the key cogs who are out for Indy.

On the flip side, Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be under center for San Fran, and Trey Lance will not suit up due to injury. Jimmy G has been quite efficient in his 118 drop backs, passing for 925 yards and a clip of 0.18 Passing NEP per drop back. He also boasts a solid 51.61% Passing Success Rate this season, which is higher than Wentz's mark of 45.61%.

On the ground, Jonathan Taylor has been the man for Indianapolis. After a slow start, he's surpassed 100 rushing yards twice in the past three games. Against the Houston Texans a week ago, Taylor exploded for 145 rushing yards on just 14 carries.

Elijah Mitchell has been far less impactful for the 49ers, per our numbers. On 45 carries, he's posted a Rushing NEP per rush of -0.07. That's right, he's losing the team expected points every time he totes the rock. JaMycal Hasty is expected to return this week and could play a role.

In terms of pace, both teams sit in the bottom 12, and rain is expected to be an issue tonight.

Bets to Consider

As I mentioned at the start, the 49ers are 3.5-point favorites, and the total is 42.0 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Our model sees value in the Colts.

We are predicting this to be a narrow 22.88-22.78 win for the 49ers, so, according to our algorithm, there's value in taking Indy on the moneyline (+152) and to cover. We give them a 62.9% chance of covering and a 49.6% chance to win. The Colts' +152 moneyline price implies win odds of just 39.7%.

There is also a bit of value on the total as we like the over to hit 59.9% of the time.

In the player prop market, Jonathan Taylor's rushing yards prop of 67.5 yards really sticks out. In a game that should be pretty close, game script is unlikely to be an issue for Taylor, and we peg him for 94.7 rushing yards -- well over the line.

Historical Betting Trends

-- The Colts have been against-the-spread monsters on the road, covering seven times in their last nine games.
-- Conversely, the 49ers have covered in just one of their past six home games.
-- Indy has won only twice in their past eight primetime games.