NFL Betting - Who will the Public Blindly Back In Week 12?

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 3:28 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 3:28 PM UTC

If Andrew Luck is out of action on Thanksgiving Day, public money on the Pittsburgh Steelers might move the NFL odds for Thursday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.


Record: 19-14-1 ATS, 4-8 Totals

If you're making any NFL picks for Thanksgiving Day, chances are you're looking at the night game (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts. A dip into our consensus archives shows the third game of the Turkey Day tripleheader drawing big action from 2013 onwards, and the other two games, not so much. But it looks like there'll be someone missing at the table this year: Andrew Luck. He's in concussion protocol and might have to settle for drinking turkey smoothies on Thursday.

His loss could be your gain. Without Luck, Indianapolis is a 3-point home dog on the NFL odds board as we go to press, and as popular as the Colts (5-5 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) have been with the betting public, we expect Pittsburgh (5-5 SU and ATS) to bogart all the action now that Scott Tolzien is likely to sub in for Luck. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to wait until close to kick-off before taking Indianapolis as a contrarian pick, preferably at +3.5 or higher.

A Ring-a-Ding-Dong Dandy

The Steelers might be the public's choice even if Luck does start. You can't believe everything you read on the internet, of course (cough cough post-truth cough), but Pittsburgh is No. 1 on the public money charts this year. You're looking at one of the most recognizable brands in the NFL, with a record six Super Bowl victories – half of those with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

Unfortunately for the Steelers, Big Ben has been rung quite a few times this year, and he's not quite his usual Pro-Bowl self. Football Outsiders had Roethlisberger ranked No. 10 at his position in DOVA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) heading into last week's game against the Cleveland Browns – who held Roethlisberger to 167 yards passing. The Steelers (–8 away) still won 24-9 to snap a four-game losing streak SU and ATS, but c'mon, it was the Browns.

We happen to think the Colts can do better than that, or at least better than the marketplace thinks. FiveThirtyEight has an Elo-based projection of Indianapolis –1 for this matchup; Luck was No. 22 on the Week 11 DVOA charts, one spot below Cleveland's Cody Kessler, so would be swapping Luck out for Tolzien really cause at least four points of damage?

Free NFL Pick: Colts +9 (+100)Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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