Colts vs. Steelers Odds & Picks: Pittsburgh Undervalued?

Colts vs. Steelers Odds & Picks: Pittsburgh Undervalued? article feature image

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster

  • The spread for Sunday's matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers has been bet up and down.
  • Our experts reveal how they've bet this game, featuring picks and analysis of the biggest mismatch.

Colts at Steelers Odds & Picks

  • Odds: Colts -1
  • Over/Under: 42.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Odds as of Thursday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

The market has moved in favor of the Indianapolis Colts since this game opened as a pick’em, but do the Pittsburgh Steelers really deserve to be home underdogs?

Our experts break down every angle of this matchup, featuring the biggest mismatch and spread picks.

Colts-Steelers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Both are banged up

T.Y. Hilton (calf) was downgraded to no practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday, so it’s possible he got dinged up in practice. Eric Ebron (ankle) was another downgrade, missing practice on Thursday after being a full go on Wednesday.

S Malik Hooker (knee) and DL Justin Houston (calf) were added to the injury report on Thursday, but still managed limited practice sessions.

The Steelers planned to limit James Conner (shoulder) this week, which they’re doing so far, holding him out on Wednesday and Thursday. We likely won’t know his real chances of suiting up until Friday’s final injury report. Jaylen Samuels (knee) has remained a full go in practice and could be in for increased workload pending the health of Conner. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Steelers WRs vs. Colts Secondary

The matchup to watch will be the Steelers’ excellent defensive front vs. the Colts’ dominant offensive line. Both units rank in the top 20 in adjusted sack rate and should be at war throughout the day at Heinz Field.

Overall, I actually favor the Steelers defense. They’ve been much better since bringing in Minkah Fitzpatrick to shore up the backend of the secondary.

But the biggest mismatch will be when the Steelers have the ball.

Mason Rudolph-JuJu Smith Schuster
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mason Rudolph, JuJu Smith-Schuster

The Colts grade out a little better against the pass, but they’re not great, ranking in the bottom 10 against No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 receivers. And now they’re dealing with injuries to their two best cover corners: Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore. If Moore isn’t 100% — and especially if he doesn’t suit up — JuJu Smith-Schuster could go off in the slot. Keep a close eye on the Colts’ injury report later in the week as Moore is so important to what the Indy defense wants to do, which is even more true against Smith-Schuster.

Pittsburgh also has the speed on the outside with Diontae Johnson and James Washington to exploit Rock Ya-Sin, who Pro Football Focus grades 90th in pass coverage out of 96 corners with at least 200 coverage snaps. Ya-Sin is still very raw in his technique, which resulted in the rookie being called for five penalties last Sunday.

Look for Mason Rudolph to continue his momentum from the second half against Miami and make enough plays through the air against a vulnerable Colts secondary to get the win.

One notable mismatch on special teams: The Steelers have an edge in the kicking game as Chris Boswell looks like he’s back on track after a disappointing 2018 campaign. Meanwhile, Adam Vinatieri looks like he’s nearing the end of his Hall-of-Fame career as he’s arguably been the worst kicker this season.

In a game that should be competitive, a missed field goal or extra point could make all the difference in one of the hardest stadiums to kick in. Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Colts -0.5
  • Projected Total: 42

Expert Picks

Chris Raybon: Steelers +1 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

The Steelers are 3-4 while the Colts are 5-2 with a signature win over a hobbled Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs still fresh in everyone’s minds, but make no mistake: This is a coin-flip game.

The Steelers are understandably hard to get a read on; their three wins have come against the Bengals, Chargers and Dolphins, who are a combined 3-20. I think it’s more telling, though, that their four losses have come against teams that are a combined 26-4 — to the Patriots, 49ers, Seahawks and Ravens — and three of those losses were by four or fewer points, with the only blowout coming against the Patriots, before Rudolph had taken over and before the team had acquired difference-making defensive back, Fitzpatrick.

Defense is the Steelers’ strength: The team is ranked ninth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA — which would obviously be even better if you remove the game against the Pats — and that defense should pose problems for a Colts offense that struggled to eke out a 15-13 win over Denver last week at home.

Also a concern for the Colts in what’s projected to be a close game is the worn-out leg of their 46-year-old relic of a placekicker, Vinatieri, who has missed four field goals and, even more troubling, four extra points.

This is a battle of two well-coached teams adept at masking their deficiencies, but give me the team with the more ferocious defense getting points at home. Per our Bet Labs data, Mike Tomlin is 32-17-2 (65%) against the spread as an underdog, including 8-3-2 (73%) ATS as a home ‘dog. He’s a good bet to pad that total.

Stuckey: Steelers +1 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

I completely agree with Chris here as I like the Steelers catching 1 here.

I see distinct advantages in all three phases for a team that’s playing much better of late. From a pure yards per play perspective, Pitt is allowing almost a full yard fewer while the two teams are about even on offense. As a result of its 5-2 record, the perception surrounding the Colts is a little inflated here in my opinion.

Indianapolis is so well-coached, which always scares me when I look to fade the Colts, but this is too much value to pass up on.

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