It’s not the prettiest Monday Night Football matchup that we could ask for but any football is better than no football at all. Featuring two teams firmly in a rebuild mode, it will be interesting to see what happens when an interim coach goes against a veteran like Tomlin on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts Betting Odds
Oddsmakers believe it will be a close one as the Colts opened at -3 and have hovered around that number since the open. Projections align with the number with slight value towards the Steelers as Pickett gains more experience the defense remains elite. While the Colts played their first complete game in their last one out, it’s hard to take a one game sample size seriously as they schemed well against the Eagles poor rush defense.
As for the total, points are expected to be scarce as the number opened at 39.5 and has dipped to 38.5. This makes sense as both teams field brutally bad offenses while going against very stout defenses that will disrupt any sustained drive’s success at a moment’s notice.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts Prediction
The Pick: Steelers +3
Hovering at the key football number of three, I will place a wager on the Steelers as they come in with a massive coaching advantage as well as some recent on field success as well since the return of Tj Watt. Since his return, the Steelers have ranked ninth in Overall DVOA.
While the Colts have improved to as high as 20th in Overall DVOA in that same span, they still have holes all over with the allure of playing up for your interim coach wearing off with each passing game.
Even in their recent loss against the high-powered Bengals, the offense has drastically improved as Pickett gains more exposure to NFL defenses and Najee Harris rounds back into form. After a slow start with questionable on field decisions in terms of how he hit the hole and stalled on cuts, Najee has gone back to his roots as a bull in the backfield and gone more north towards success.
Couple the recent offensive success with Tomlin in an underdog spot and you have a bet that you can comfortably take. Tomlin as an underdog ATS hits above 70%, and even more north of 70% when coming off a loss.
- Tomlin is 39-17-1 ATS as an underdog week 5 or later
- Tomlin on MNF is 18-3 SU, 11-10 ATS
Pittsburgh Steelers Injuries: Ahkello Witherspoon (O), Jaylen Warren (Q), Miles Boykin (Q)
Indianapolis Colts Injuries: Kwity Paye (O), Jelani Woods (Q)
Can Najee continue to find success against the Colts defense? How will the Colts find any offense against the Steelers defense?
Najee Harris vs Colts rush defense
While Najee has been rounding back into form, he may find it tough to find success against the Colts rush defense. The Colts Def Rush DVOA ranks top-5 in the NFL with a high flying talented second level filling in gaps and cutting off the outside.
The loss of defensive end Kwity Paye is huge but Najee’s running ability will still be tested. If Pickett can find success through the air against the Colts average pass defense then this would open up lanes as the linebacking unit would have to limit the approach and respect the pass.
Colts weapons vs Steelers defense
The start of the Steelers season couldn’t get any worse as Mitch Trubisky clearly wasn’t the answer and the defense lost Tj Watt to injury. While Pickett’s success has been a roller coaster, Watt’s return has immediately boosted the defense as he has been a terror on the line.
The Colts are very thin on the outside and Jonothan Taylor has been disappointing so far into the season. Matt Ryan has been a shell of himself outside of their last game.
With constant pressure on their hobbled offensive line, Ryan will be hard pressed to find success in the hurry. I expect the Steelers defense to be a major factor in Tomlin getting a typical underdog cover.