graded play on the Steelers as they take on the Colts today. Andrew Luck exceeded
everyone’s expectations in last week's preseason opener. The Steelers lost against the Eagles in Philly. So, where do we place this game in our NFL picks potfolio?
NFL odds makers opened the Steelers as 3 ½ -110 favorites. The line has remained
static, but there are some shops that have moved the line to -4 -110. Betting
has been essentially even, with 52% of all wagers placed at the 10 sportsbooks I monitor being on the Steelers and 48% on the Colts. The fact that the
line has shifted despite equal betting levels shows that the large bettor or "sharps" are on the Steelers.
Simulator Projections and
The simulator shows a high
probability that Pittsburgh will win this game by six or more points.
Supporting this graded play is a system that has produced a record of 29-10 for
74.4% winners since 2006. Play on home teams in conference games that are off a
road loss. As mentioned, The Steelers lost 24-23 at Lincoln Financial Field and
pushed the one point spread in this game.
Again this preseason, we see key, every down players getting hurt - some with severe consequences to their
careers and teams. Dallas TE Jason Whitten has to remain nearly motionless for the
next several days, and possibly longer, to help heal a injured spleen. And the
Steelers have starting linebacker James Harrison on the shelf as he
recovers from arthroscopic surgery to repair his left knee. His status for the
opener against the Denver Broncos is very uncertain. Injuries such as these all reheat the debate as to why there is a preseason at all.
With Harrison sidelined, head
coach Mike Tomlin has stated that second year pro Chris Carter play
outside linebacker in this game against the Colts. In other injury-related
news, Steeler running back Isaac Redman is having an MRI performed Thursday as
a precautionary measure for a mild groin strain. He is expected to be cleared
and will see significant carries in this game in preparation for the regular
season. He is taking over the starting running back job from Rashard Mendenhall, who is
on the physically unable to perform list. So far this preseason there have
been seven running backs injured in the AFC North division alone.
With the injury bug present in any NFL game, I do not think you will see much of Colts’
quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts won 38-3 in their first preseason game
against the St. Louis Rams. Luck was 10-for-16 with 188 passing yards, two
touchdowns, no interceptions, and no sacks. He averaged an very impressive 11.8
passing yards per attempt. One of those passes was a screen to Donald Brown, who took
it to the house for a 63 yard touchdown.
Nevertheless, the offense executed a very high
level, and the second and third units will get far more time in this game. This
in turn will give the Steelers the opportunity to get their defense settled and
to evaluate several players at key positions in extended action. The Steeler
combinations of defensive players will be able to dominate the Colts second and
third offensive units led by quarterbacks Stanton and Harnish respectively.