The hottest regular-season team in the NFL odds board right now? That would be the Carolina Panthers, who with a 10-game winning streak, face Indianapolis. Let's examine some game props for MNF.
|Colts Score First +135 (best line at Bovada)
Panthers Score First -150 (best line at BetDSI)
|Longest TD 44½ Ov +100 (best line at 5Dimes)
Longest TD 47½ Un -115 (best at BetOnline)
|Total Field Goal 3 -105 (best line SportsBetting)
Total Field Goals 3½ -140 (best line at 5Dimes)
|1st Score TD -155 (best line at Bovada)
FG or Safety +165 (best line at SportsBetting)
Cam Newton 'Over/Under' 18.5 Completions, 235.5 Passing Yards, 1.5 TD Passes, .5 INTs
Newton O/U 40.5 Rushing Yards, -115 To Score A TD
Normally, I wouldn't include rushing totals for a quarterback on NFL odds, but obviously Newton is a different animal. What's interesting is that Newton, the former Heisman winner at Auburn, probably wouldn't be a Carolina Panther had Andrew Luck decided to leave Stanford after the 2010 NCAA season. Luck surely would have been the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 but wanted to stay in school and earn his degree. He did and was chosen first in 2012 by Indianapolis. Carolina of course took Newton first in 2011. Newton is having an MVP-caliber season even though the numbers aren't spectacular. He is completing only 55.8 percent of his passes for 1,275 yards, nine touchdowns, and seven picks. He also has rushed 54 times for 245 yards (second on team) and four scores. What those numbers don't show is how clutch he has been when it has mattered. Plus Newton has one of the weakest groups of receivers in the NFL after the team lost No. 1 guy Kelvin Benjamin to a season-ending injury early in training camp. I mean, Carolina's top two receivers on the depth chart right now are Ted Ginn Jr. and Philly Brown. The trade deadline is Tuesday, so I think there's a chance Carolina makes some sort of deal, although NFL trades are few and far between. Newton faces an Indy defense that's 31st in yards allowed per game.
NFL Free Picks: 'Under' all the passing except picks. 'Over' rushing yards and he does score a rushing TD.
Greg Olsen O/U 5 Receptions, 65.5 Receiving Yards
While Newton has a lousy group of receivers, Olsen is one of the better pass-catching tight ends in the NFL and Newton's favorite target. Olsen has 27 catches for 439 yards and three touchdowns. He has been targeted at least 11 times in three different games and has two with at least 131 yards receiving. The Panthers line up Olsen all over the field. The Colts have had some trouble guarding tight ends this season, and this should be kept in mind for your NFL picks.
NFL Free Picks: 'Over' both.
Andrew Luck O/U 23.5 Completions, 269.5 Yards, 2 TD Passes, .5 INTs
Has any player in the NFL been more disappointing than Luck has this season? Unless he and the Colts turn things around, someone is getting fired between GM Ryan Grigson and Coach Chuck Pagano, who already don't see eye to eye. Maybe owner Jim Irsay cans both. This would be a prime job on the open market because a franchise quarterback is in place. Grigson got Luck some new toys this offseason in free-agent running back Frank Gore and receiver Andre Johnson as well as drafting Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett (but he's out perhaps six weeks injured). What Grigson didn't do was address a shaky offensive line and that's a big reason why Luck is struggling. He is completing 56.2 percent of his passes for 1,398 yards, 11 TDs and nine picks -- that many interceptions despite missing two games with a shoulder injury. He has committed multiple turnovers in four of five games he has played, and Indy is 1-4 in those. Fox Sports is reporting that Luck also has been playing through multiple fractured ribs. The Colts have never included Luck's ribs problem on any injury report, so the NFL is looking into that. In order to avoid an NFL penalty, which could be a fine and/or draft pick forfeiture, the Colts must argue that multiple fractured ribs is not a significant injury, that they never limited Luck's practice time and that the injury never threatened his availability for a game. The Colts are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak under Pagano, yet sadly they could lose this to drop to 3-5 and still share the AFC South lead with Houston. Worst division in NFL history, hands down. Luck faces a Carolina defense that is No. 9 in yards allowed per game and has the NFC's Defensive Player of the Month for both September (cornerback Josh Norman) and October (tackle Kawaan Short).
NFL Free Picks: 'Over' all. While Panthers have a good defense, Colts are likely going to be down early and Luck will be throwing a lot.