MNF best bets: Bank on Pickett, Pickens in Steelers-Colts
Each Monday, we'll finish off the week that was in the NFL with a look at value spots in the remaining game - under one condition: You promise not to chase. Whether Sunday provided a boost to the accounts or left a little to be desired, Monday Night Football provides an opportunity to show responsibility in your betting, as there'll always be another wild Sunday to get lost in.
This game probably sounded like a better idea when the schedule was first announced, but the Steelers and Colts are now largely playing out the string in the highly competitive AFC due to a combined seven wins. However, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis are franchises in different headspaces.
Although the Steelers are in the midst of a rebuild, having Mike Tomlin at the helm means they have the incentive to get better, and fast. The idea is that potential franchise quarterback Kenny Pickett can get up to speed as quickly as possible.
The Colts are treading water despite adding veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, who was supposed to lead them on a playoff run. Yet Indianapolis got a boost after a bizarre head coaching change, winning at Las Vegas and nearly shocking the Eagles.
A Colts win over the Eagles last week would've brought Indy hope, getting the team back to .500 and showing it can beat anyone in the league. A healthy Jonathan Taylor ran behind an inspired offensive line on the first drive of Jeff Saturday's home debut, recording 47 yards and a touchdown. The vibes were high in Indianapolis. Taylor ran for 37 the rest of the game, and the Colts finished with just over 200 total yards after the 75-yard opening possession.
The Steelers get to do something Monday they've yet to do this season - play indoors. That'll make things more comfortable on the offense, but it should also provide a fast track for Pittsburgh's pass rush and ever-present tormentor T.J. Watt.
Indy has allowed 40 sacks this season in just nine games. The Bengals took advantage of the Steelers' soft corner play last week, but the Colts don't have the receiving talent, or a quarterback as good under pressure as Joe Burrow, to make Pittsburgh pay. The Steelers will disrupt the Colts offensively, and turnovers may result.
On the other side, Pittsburgh's offense should take a step forward against a defense that's 26th in opponents' quarterback rating. The Steelers opened as full 3-point underdogs, but that was quickly taken, with the line dropping to +2.5. The +125 moneyline is the more aggressive play, but in a low-total game, we'll take the points. Use some patience just in case +3 comes back before kickoff. Otherwise, +2.5 is suitable.
Pick: Steelers +2.5 (+100)
Kenny Pickett over 210.5 passing yards
The Colts are good against the run, which only gives the Steelers more reason to throw the ball. Pickett has averaged 38.5 pass attempts in his last four contests in largely neutral game states. With a plus-matchup and the restrictor plate off, we'll bet he does more with the throws he gets. His total attempts might stay under if Pittsburgh is leading late, but Pickett should top his yardage total due to a willingness to take shots down the field in a controlled environment.
George Pickens longest reception over 18.5 yards
While taking the over 42.5 on George Pickens' total yardage is a viable bet, it's hard to imagine he doesn't pull down a pass from distance if he's cashing that wager. In the six games Pickett has finished this season, Pickens has only failed to top this total twice - once against the Eagles' excellent corners, and when he wasn't needed in a win over the Saints. He even had long receptions in a pair of games with the notoriously inaccurate Mitch Trubisky.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.