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NFL Free Pick from Linebacker: Colts vs Steelers

NFL Free Pick Linebacker Colts vs Steelers

Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT +1, O/U 42.5)

Mike Tomlin and the Steelers will look for their third consecutive win this Sunday against the Colts. Jacoby Brissett has led Indy to first place in the AFC South after Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement and will attempt to keep his own winning streak alive. The Colts enter having won three in a row, and it’s shaping up to be a tight contest in Pittsburgh between these two streaking teams. The Colts are currently listed as 1-point favorites.

Our model projects the final score will be 24.6 - 21.0 in favor of Indianapolis, giving us a solid wager on Frank Reich’s squad. We suggest a $45 bet on IND -1 for an average $100 bettor.

The Linebacker’s model is 68-34 ATS (66.7%) for +18.44 units and 62-49 (55.8%) on OVER/UNDERs for +20.51 units through eight weeks of NFL, producing a profit of $3,895. Head over to thelinebacker.com to sign up for a free trial and get access to EVERY NFL Week 9 prediction.

Why will Indianapolis cover the spread?

  • The Steelers have struggled to produce offensively all season, currently ranking 25th in yards per play (5.2). Indy’s struggles defensively have mainly come against the run, where they’ve allowed 4.8 yards per carry (26th). Pittsburgh hasn’t shown the ability to exploit that weakness thus far, as their 3.9 yards per carry (22nd) and 88.1 rushing yards per game (24th) both come in near the bottom of the league.
  • The Colts offensive line should be able to handle Pittsburgh’s prodigious pass rush. The Steelers rank sixth in the NFL with a sack on 8.86 percent of opponent dropbacks, and have forced 19 turnovers this season, which ranks second behind only New England. Indy has done a good job keeping Brissett upright, allowing a sack on only 4.53 percent of dropbacks (ninth-fewest). The Colts have also done well avoiding turnovers, as their seven giveaways are tied for fourth-fewest in the NFL.
  • Jacoby Brissett’s 14 touchdown passes rank eighth among all NFL QBs. Pittsburgh has been more susceptible to passing TDs on defense, yielding the 13th-most passing TDs with 12 on the season, compared to just four rushing touchdowns allowed (10th-fewest).
  • Indianapolis enters with a distinct edge on what are likely to be crucial third downs. The Colts have converted 45.16 percent of third-down opportunities (10th) while allowing opponents to convert on 39.24 percent of their chances (16th). Pittsburgh has converted only 36.71 percent of its offensive third downs (22nd) and is allowing opponents to convert 43.68 percent of third-down opportunities (24th).

How to bet the total in Colts @ Steelers:

The Linebacker projects a final score of 24.6 - 21.0 in favor of the Colts. With 45.6 projected points and an OVER/UNDER of 42.5, we have a solid edge on the OVER in this game. Our model recommends an $89 wager on OVER 42.5 for an average $100 bettor.

Need-to-know stats for Colts @ Steelers:

  • 23/36, 241.6 yards, 1.39 TDs, 0.36 INTs - Jacoby Brissett has filled in admirably in Andrew Luck’s absence. He hasn’t been the All-Pro quarterback that Luck was, but his 14:3 TD:INT ratio is one of the best in the league and his 99.3 passer rating is ninth overall among starters. Despite Pittsburgh’s affinity to turn over opposing QBs, Brissett averaged just 0.36 INTs in our simulations, and we expect he’ll approach 250 yards passing with at least one touchdown.
  • 22/34, 227.86 yards, 1.32 TDs, 0.72 INTs - We have a similar projected line for Steelers starter Mason Rudolph, with a slight dip in overall passing numbers and a higher chance to throw an interception. Rudolph has thrown exactly two touchdowns in every game he’s finished this season but has only exceeded 6.6 yards per attempt in his matchups against the Dolphins and Bengals, who rank 31st and 32nd in yards allowed per pass attempt. We’re expecting him to finish with a pedestrian 6.7 yards per attempt in this contest.
  • 13 rushes, 61.9 yards, 0.6 TDs, 3 catches, 26.3 yards, 0.11 TDs - James Conner’s health will likely be a deciding factor in this game, as the third-year back missed Wednesday’s practice after exiting late in Monday night’s matchup with the Dolphins due to a shoulder injury. Conner has posted over 115 total yards and a touchdown in each of his last two games, but we project he’ll fall short of those lofty numbers if he’s active in this one. With Jaylen Samuels in line to play, we expect Conner will be in the 15- to 20-touch range rather than the 23-plus touches he’s seen in the last two games as the lone feature back.
  • 6 catches, 74.1 yards, 0.51 TDs - T.Y. Hilton has clearly been Brissett’s favorite target in his six games played. Despite missing Week 4 against the Raiders, Hilton has 10 more catches, 16 more targets and 115 more yards receiving than the next-closest Colt. We project he’ll lead the team in all three of those categories again this week, as we like him to catch six passes for nearly 75 yards. Hilton also has a good chance to add to his team-high five touchdowns, as he averaged 0.51 TDs per game in our simulations.