On Saturday (12/16/23), the Indianapolis Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL game with significant playoff implications. In this article, find the latest betting odds for the game and a full matchup preview. In addition, find our Steelers vs. Colts best bet, which is the Steelers +1.5.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts Prediction
The Steelers and Colts are both coming off disappointing results in Week 14. In two straight weeks, Pittsburgh has suffered losses to the Cardinals and Patriots, arguably the two worst teams in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Colts got blown out by backup quarterback Jake Browning’s Bengals last week. Both teams will look to pick themselves up off the mat this week, with Wild Card spots in the AFC still very much up for grabs.
With home-field advantage worth around a point and a half these days, the spread in this game indicates that the Steelers and Colts are evenly rated on a neutral field. I’d agree with that sentiment, but there are clear advantages for Pittsburgh here. For one, the Steelers have a significant rest edge as they last played on Thursday Night Football last week. They’ll have an additional three days of rest here.
Additionally, this game profiles as a classic Mike Tomlin underdog spot. Tomlin has a stellar 57-33-4 ATS record (63%) as an underdog and he’s especially profitable later in the season with 46-22 ATS record (68%) from Week 5 on per Bet Labs. On extended rest, Tomlin teams are 9-2 ATS (82%) over the last three seasons. This game checks all of those boxes.
Ultimately, there isn’t quite enough value on the spread for me to play it straight, but I do love the Steelers as a teaser piece. In a 6-point teaser, you can get the Steelers up to +7.5. I paired them with the Chiefs on Sunday, as you can tease them from -7.5 or -8.5 down to -1.5 or -2.5. I always recommend trying to find a sportsbook that offers -120 odds or better on 6-point teasers.
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Indianapolis Colts Prediction: Steelers +1.5 (but play it in a teaser)
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Indianapolis Colts Best Odds
The Colts opened as 2.5-point favorites in this game, but the line moved towards the Steelers once T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith were ruled in, and it now sits at -1.5 in favor of Indianapolis. With a total of 42.5 points, this still isn’t expected to be one of the higher-scoring games of the week, although the indoor stadium in Indianapolis has lent to some shootouts lately.
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Indianapolis Colts Key Injuries
The Steelers are still without Kenny Pickett due to his ankle injury, but edge rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith are good to go this week. Pay attention to the status of guard Isaac Seumalo, who is currently listed as questionable. The Colts, meanwhile, will be without two key offensive contributors this week in running back Jonathan Taylor and right tackle Braden Smith.
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Indianapolis Colts Key Matchups
In this battle between AFC playoff hopefuls, there are some very intriguing matchups to take stock of. Let’s break down two of the X-factor matchups on either side of the ball that will help determine the outcome of the game.
Bernhard Raimann Vs. Alex Highsmith
In his second season in the NFL, Bernhard Raimann has evolved into one of the better left tackles in the NFL. His 78.4 PFF pass-blocking grade ranks 15th among 87 qualified tackles per PFF, but he’s coming off one of his worst games of the year as the Bengals’ Trey Hendrickson beat him for two sacks last week.
With Braden Smith out this week, the Colts will need to send extra protection to the right aide to help Blake Freeland, their backup right tackle, against All-Pro edge rusher T.J. Watt. That will leave Alex Highsmith with one-on-one opportunities against Raimann. Highsmith’s 17% pass rush win rate is tied for 13th among qualified edges per PFF and he has 51 pressures this season.
Trey Hendrickson absolutely abused Bernhard Raimann for two sacks and multiple pressures throughout this game pic.twitter.com/1gNDpITTYN
— mike (@bengals_sans) December 12, 2023
Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren Vs. Colts’ Run Defense
With Kenny Pickett still out, Mitchell Trubisky is the team’s starting quarterback for the time being. There’s not a huge difference between the quality of those two passers, but the Steelers remain a run-first team regardless, with the 9th-highest rush play rate in the NFL. The insertion of rookie right tackle Broderick Jones and increased utilization of rookie tight end Darnell Washington have helped boost this run game’s productivity.
Slowing down Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren will be a top priority for the Colts’ defense in this one, but they’ve struggled to contain the run this season. Indianapolis ranks bottom six in run defense DVOA, EPA, and success rate, and while the return of nose tackle Grover Stewart helps, this group has been disappointing on the whole.