2 NFL Preseason Best Bets for Thursday, August 24
Written by Nicholas Berault
August 24, 2023

2 NFL Preseason Best Bets for Thursday, August 24

Entering the final week of the 2023 NFL preseason, there is a tangible anticipation for meaningful football that will only have to build for another two Thursdays before the Chiefs and Lions play on September 7.

This Thursday offers two games for fans to continue to attempt to satisfy their football appetites, beginning with the Pittsburgh Steelers hitting the road to play the Atlanta Falcons in a matchup of sophomore starting quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Desmond Ritter.

Pickett played one series in the first preseason game and two in the second, with the common theme being that all three drives ended in Steelers’ touchdowns. The second-year player from Pitt is set to begin his first season as the full-time starter after throwing for 2,404 yards in 13 games as a rookie. Pittsburgh and Pickett are favored by 4.5 points on the road in Atlanta.

Ridder appeared in four games for the Falcons in 2022, completing 63.5% of his throws and tossing a pair of touchdowns. He led a 15-play drive inside the Cincinnati ten-yard line in his only preseason action this year, which ended in an interception. Ridder will start in Week 1 against Bryce Young and the Panthers, with former Washington starter Taylor Heinicke backing him up.

The second matchup on Thursday pits the Indianapolis Colts against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Former Eagles’ offensive coordinator Shane Steichen is in his first year as Colts head coach and play caller.

He will guide rookie QB Anthony Richardson in a final exhibition test before their season-opener at home against Jacksonville. Richardson struggled during three scoreless possessions against Buffalo on August 12 and did not play in Indy’s second game against Chicago.

As for the defending NFC Champs, they’re likely coasting into the regular season, and the line movement has reflected that. The Eagles are 4.5-point home underdogs ahead of kickoff.

Best Bet: Steelers -4.5 over Falcons

The Steelers have jumped out to first quarter leads in both preseason games thus far thanks to Pickett’s effectiveness out of the gate. In both victories against Tampa Bay and Buffalo, Pittsburgh actually built-up leads of 20+ points by the end of the third quarter and was outscored 25-0 across both games in the fourth.

The Falcons' second and third string QBs have each thrown 20+ passes in a preseason game this August, had time to build some rapport with their teammates in live game action, and been given the ability to get into a rhythm without being pulled from the game.

That said, they only pulled away from Miami in Week 1 because of a special teams touchdown and a pick-six, and Pittsburgh should build up enough cushion to cover this number. Atlanta has scored only three points in the fourth quarter in two preseason games.

Best Bet: Colts @ Eagles: OVER 38

The Colts and Eagles have allowed more than 335 yards per game to opponents in the preseason and combined to average 39.5 points per game in their four total contests heading into this meeting.

The Colts' higher totals have been driven by fourth-quarter scoring drives in each game, including a pair against Buffalo in Week 1.

Philadelphia has also seen their reserves be effective in the scoring department, and third-stringer Tanner McKee has attempted nearly 40 passes in two preseason games this year. We expect some late scoring drives to put this total over the number.

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