After an exciting Sunday of action, we have one more opportunity this week to wager on professional football. So which plays do our analysts like the most?
Betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Anita Marks and Joe Fortenbaugh, fantasy and sports betting analyst Eric Moody, ESPN Stats & Information's Seth Walder, and Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz provide their top plays for the matchup.
Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise indicated.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts (-2.5, 39.5)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, at Lucas Oil Stadium
The Colts haven't beaten the Steelers since 2008, when Peyton Manning was their quarterback. Jeff Saturday has covered the spread in his first two career games as head coach. Can Saturday's Colts do it again on Monday, or will Mike Tomlin (3-4-1 ATS this season) pull off the upset?
Fortenbaugh: Pittsburgh or pass is the way I see it. Saturday has no doubt exceeded expectations through his first two games as an NFL head coach, but there's a big difference between catching points (+4.5 at Las Vegas, +6.5 vs. Philadelphia) and laying points. Besides, I'm not so sure this Colts team is one worth backing from the favorite position.
Schatz: I'm also going with Pittsburgh in this one as the underdog. The Colts are the worst offense in the league by our DVOA ratings and would still be the worst offense even if we removed the two games started by Sam Ehlinger. Pittsburgh' offense is nothing special, but the Steelers have clearly been the better team this year on a play-by-play basis. The Colts have had a slightly better defense than Pittsburgh -- but that was a Pittsburgh defense without T.J. Watt for most of the year.
Kezirian: I am backing the Colts at -2.5 or better. By no means do I expect this to be a rocking-chair winner, but ultimately Indianapolis should make the necessary plays at home. As we saw last week, Pittsburgh is limited on offense with rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett. The Steelers have had a couple of nice scoring drives, but that type of production is unsustainable. I realize the Colts are also offensively challenged, but they can run the ball effectively. Dealing with Watt concerns me because he can truly swing a game, but I feel the Colts will eke out a cover.
Marks: I will be going with the under. Neither of these teams do much offensively, both scoring on only 13% of offensive possessions, and averaging less than 30 yards per drive. Pickett is still learning the position, and Matt Ryan is playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.
Cash out your parlay too early? Get burned on a last-second play? Come commiserate with Jason Fitz and his bad beats of the week.
The Colts have found plenty of success on the ground in recent weeks with Jonathan Taylor finally healthy. Taylor, who rushed for 84 yards and a score on 22 carries last week, faces a Steelers defense allowing 103.4 rushing yards per game. His rushing prop is currently listed at 86.5 yards. Do you like Taylor to have a big night or will Pittsburgh shut him down and force Matt Ryan to beat them?
Schatz: I don't think Pittsburgh will totally shut down Taylor, but I do like them to keep him under this prop. Pittsburgh ranks seventh in run defense DVOA and the Colts are dead last in run offense. The problem here is less Taylor and more the offensive line, which hasn't been anywhere near as strong as in years past. Our projections suggest a 66% chance that Taylor will go under 86.5 yards.
Is there anything else you like or are playing in this matchup?
Fortenbaugh: I'm going to go with Ryan yes to throw an interception at -127. After a mirage of a performance in Las Vegas two weeks ago, Ryan was right back where he started last Sunday when he took four sacks against the Eagles while averaging a paltry 6.7 yards per pass attempt. Granted, Philadelphia didn't record any interceptions in that one, but all that did was contribute to us getting a better price in this situation. Take note that Pittsburgh's defense currently ranks third in the NFL in interceptions with 12.
Walder: My pick is Alex Highsmith over 0.75 sacks (+135 at DraftKings). The break-even point at +135 is 42.6%, and my sack model forecasts a 48% chance of Highsmith recording 1.0 or more sacks and hitting the over here. Highsmith has been productive this season with 9.0 sacks off a league-average 16% pass-rush win rate at edge. Plus, Ryan has taken sacks at a higher-than-average 7.4% rate this year. The fact that Watt is playing again only helps as he will create pressure that his teammates can clean up for sacks.
Moody: I'm going with Pat Freiermuth over 42.5 receiving yards. In his past four games, Freiermuth has averaged 8.7 targets. In three of those games, he has beaten this prop line. Freiermuth has emerged as one of Pickett's top targets. He's also in a great spot to score a touchdown against the Colts.