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Steelers vs. Colts predictions: Four prop bets for Monday Night Football

Bet on Pittsburgh QB Pickett to protect the pigskin, Colts QB Ryan to pile up yards

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett has played mistake-free football the last two weeks after tossing eight interceptions in his first five games. Will Pickett continue to protect the football Monday night in Indianapolis? (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett has played mistake-free football the last two weeks after tossing eight interceptions in his first five games. Will Pickett continue to protect the football Monday night in Indianapolis? (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)Read moreJoe Sargent / Getty Images

In April 2008, the Atlanta Falcons used the third overall pick of the NFL Draft on quarterback Matt Ryan. Some six weeks later, Kenny Pickett celebrated his 10th birthday.

On Monday night, grizzled-veteran Ryan and upstart-rookie Pickett square off for the first — and likely only — time, as Steelers vs. Colts wraps up Week 12 of the NFL season.

How best to describe Ryan’s first season in Indianapolis and Pickett’s rookie campaign in Pittsburgh? Let’s charitably label both as “uneven”.

That said, we expect the two QBs to have success — albeit in different ways — when they line up under center for a Monday Night Football clash at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Pickett and Ryan highlight our four pack of Steelers vs. Colts prop bets.

Note: odds updated as of 12:15 p.m. ET on Nov. 28.

Steelers vs. Colts prop: Kenny Pickett total interceptions

  1. Prop: 0.5 interceptions, Over -120/Under -110 (at BetMGM)

  2. Prediction: Under

When the Steelers turned their offense over to Pickett back in Week 4, the former Pitt star followed the usual rookie protocol: He consistently threw the football to the other team.

Coming on in relief of Mitchell Trubisky against the New York Jets, Pickett went 10-for-13, with all three “incompletions” landing in the hands of Jets defenders. The 24-year-old ended up throwing eight interceptions in his first five games, committing at least one turnover in four of those contests.

However, Pickett has safeguarded the football in his last two outings against the Saints and Bengals (both at home). In fact, he has just one interception in his last 110 pass attempts across three games.

On Monday, Pickett will face an outstanding Colts defense that has been particularly stellar against the pass this season. Indianapolis surrenders the sixth-fewest passing yards in the league (194.2 per game).

» READ MORE: Steelers vs. Colts prediction: Don’t expect a lot of points on Monday Night Football

But that secondary hasn’t been overly opportunistic, as the Colts have just four interceptions through 11 games. Only Cleveland (three) and New Orleans (two) have fewer.

Could that mean Indy is overdue to thieve a pass or two Monday night? Possibly. But in what should be a low-scoring game, we’re of the mindset that Pickett — who has thrown 38, 30 and 42 passes the last three games — will do much more handing off than passing in this one.

As such, we expect him to extend his turnover-free streak to three games.

Steelers vs. Colts prop: Matt Ryan total passing yards

  1. Prop: 233.5 yards, Over -120/Under -110 (at BetMGM)

  2. Prediction: Over

When we say Ryan has had an uneven inaugural season in Indy, here’s what we mean:

  1. The 37-year-old quarterback has thrown multiple touchdown passes in three of his nine starts, and he’s thrown multiple interceptions in three of his other starts

  2. He’s posted a quarterback rating of 105.9 or better in four games and a rating of 76.2 or worse in three other contests

  3. He’s passed for more than 350 yards three times and fewer than 225 yards on four occasions

Regarding the latter stat: Ryan has amassed 222 and 213 passing yards in his last two starts against the Raiders and Eagles after missing the two previous games.

So what makes us think Ryan will clear his passing yards prop Monday? Because Pittsburgh’s secondary is dreadful — we’re talking 31st-in-the-32-team-NFL dreadful.

The Steelers are yielding 272.1 air yards per game (only the Vikings at 276.1 are worse). That number that didn’t improve last week, when the Bengals’ Joe Burrow threw for 355 yards in a 37-30 win in Pittsburgh.

» READ MORE: Eagles among early favorites in matchup with Titans during Week 13 NFL slate

No, Matt Ryan isn’t Joe Burrow. But Burrow carved up the Steelers without Ja’Marr Chase on the field. And Ryan could throw for a 120 fewer yards than Burrow did and still cash this prop.

Given the fact that Pittsburgh has surrendered at least 250 passing yards in seven of 10 games, we’re confident Ryan will clear 233 yards for the sixth time this season.

Steelers vs. Colts prop: Jonathan Taylor total rushing yards

  1. Prop: 88.5 yards, Over -115/Under -115 (at BetMGM)

  2. Prediction: Under

Just as the Colts rank sixth in the NFL defending the pass, Pittsburgh ranks sixth in stopping the run, yielding 103.4 yards per game on the ground.

That stat is a bit misleading, though. Because in the first eight games, the Steelers surrendered 111 or more rushing yards six times (and an average of 117.9 per outing).

However, against New Orleans and Cincinnati the last two weeks, they allowed 91 rushing yards combined.

What’s the reason for the turnaround? Not what, but who: Reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt is back in uniform.

Watt missed seven games with a torn pectoral muscle suffered late the season opener. And even though Watt is a pass-rushing specialist who terrorizes quarterbacks, his mere presence on the field improves Pittsburgh’s defense in every aspect.

Look for that to be evident Monday night, when the Steelers’ primary objective will be containing Taylor, who is the Colts’ most dangerous offensive weapon.

» READ MORE: Colts’ Jonathan Taylor has a ‘won’t be denied mentality’ that started at Salem High School

The third-year tailback from Wisconsin has been increasingly effective since returning to the lineup after missing two games in early October. Taylor’s rushing output in his last four outings: 58, 76, 147 (against Las Vegas) and 84 yards.

We see the 84 yards Taylor compiled last week against the Eagles as his absolute ceiling in this game. After all, that’s his third-highest rushing output of the season. (Prior to busting out against the Raiders, Taylor had gone five straight games without hitting 80 yards.)

Obviously, this Steelers vs. Colts props prediction correlates with the Ryan passing yards prop: If we expect Ryan to have a strong game through the air, it makes sense that Taylor’s rushing total will be somewhat depressed.

So bet on Taylor finishing with less than 88 rushing yards at BetMGM.

Steelers vs. Colts prop: T.J. Watt total tackles

  1. Prop: 4.5 total tackles, Over +115/Under -155 (at BetMGM)

  2. Prediction: Over

Here’s a Monday Night Football lock you can take to the bank: Indianapolis is going to double-team Watt all night long. The Colts also will frequently order a third player to “chip” Watt.

It won’t matter. Because when Watt is on the field, he finds a way to wreak havoc.

In his return to action two weeks ago against the Saints, Watt played 79% of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps and racked up four tackles, That playing time increased to 82% last week against Cincinnati and so did his tackle output (six).

Throw in a six-tackle effort in the season opener against the Bengals before getting hurt, and Watt has amassed at least five tackles in 10 of his last 14 games dating to Week 6 of last season.

And when he plays at least 79% of the snaps, Watt has topped 4.5 tackles eight times in his last 10 contests.

Barring injury, Pittsburgh’s one-man wrecking crew should hit that 79% snap count in Indianapolis. If he does, odds are he’ll account for at least five tackles.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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