New Orleans Saints (3-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6)
These two teams have similar records, but the Saints have a -15 point differential, despite a -10 turnover margin, while the Steelers have a -77 point differential, with a -4 turnover margin. That suggests the Saints have played much better to this point this season, but the Steelers have also faced a much tougher schedule, one of the toughest in the league and the gap between these two teams in schedule adjusted efficiency is not that wide, with the Saints ranking 15th, about even, and the Steelers ranking 18th, about 1.5 points below average.
The Steelers also are the healthier team this week, with reigning Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt set to make his return for the first time since week one, while the Saints remain without top wide receiver Michael Thomas, starting guard Andrus Peat, and top cornerback Marshon Lattimore and now will be without starting safety Marcus Maye, starting linebacker Pete Werner, and starting center Erik McCoy. The Saints will get starting wide receiver Jarvis Landry back this week, but they’re still missing a lot of talent.
With the injury situation both teams are in, I have these two teams about even, but this line favors the Saints on the road by a point and a half. My calculated line has the Steelers as the ones who should be slight favorites, so we’re getting at least some line value with them. It’s not quite enough for them to be worth betting against the spread, but the money line is a good value at +105 and the Steelers are the better side for pick ‘em purposes.
Pittsburgh Steelers 19 New Orleans Saints 17 Upset Pick +105
Pick against the spread: Pittsburgh +1.5