Indianapolis Colts (10-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3)
The Steelers were very overrated when they were 11-0, but they’ve completely fallen down to earth in recent games, losing three straight games, including two games against opponents with a losing record. The most shocking was their nationally televised loss to the previously 2-10-1 Bengals as 14.5 point underdogs last week, after which it’s hard to imagine the Steelers being overrated anymore.
The good news for the Steelers is that teams tend to bounce back from huge upset losses like that the following week, as teams cover at a 57.0% rate after a loss as favorites of 10 points or more. That’s in part because teams tend to be very motivated to bounce back after a performance like that, but also because losses like that tend to be flukes that cause an overreaction line movement. In this game, the line shifted from favoring the Steelers by 3 on the early line to the Colts by 1.5 this week.
That being said, I would not recommend betting on the Steelers because the line movement really only moved the line to where it should be, as my calculated line is exactly Indianapolis -1.5. The Steelers are in another good spot because they have a winning record and are facing a team with a winning record before facing another team with a winning record (Cleveland) next week. Teams cover at a 54.4% rate in that spot. It’s a bit counterintuitive, but good teams seem to be totally focused before back-to-back difficult games. For that reason, the Steelers should be the right side, but only slightly, as it’s hard to be confident in them without any line value.
This line has shifted to even in the wake of Anthony Castonzo being ruled out for the Colts, meaning the Colts will be down both of their starting tackles with right tackle Braden Smith on the COVID list. I already had Smith being out factored into this evaluation and, without Castonzo, I actually still have the Colts slightly better than 50/50 to win this game, so I’m going to take the Colts now at even. This is still a no confidence pick, as we’re getting only the slightest line value and the Steelers are in a slightly better spot.
Indianapolis Colts 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 23
Pick against the spread: Indianapolis PK