The Daily Sweat: Titans QB Will Levis' 2nd start vs. Steelers will be much different

Will Levis was fantastic in his first NFL start. He threw four touchdowns. That doubled the season total of regular Tennessee Titans starter Ryan Tannehill.

Tannehill is still injured, so Levis gets another start. Levis might keep starting when Tannehill is healthy, though that's a topic for later.

If Levis throws four touchdowns again on Thursday night, then we'll have to really take notice of the rookie.

The Titans travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. The Steelers are 2.5-point favorites at BetMGM. It will be a much less friendly environment for Levis.

Last week the Titans were at home against the Atlanta Falcons. It was a perfect setup for a rookie quarterback making his debut. The Falcons aren't the type of defense that scares anyone. They're better but still among the league's worst in sacking the quarterback. Levis was aggressive throwing downfield, in part because he had time to do so.

The Steelers, especially at home, will do a much better job getting after the quarterback. T.J. Watt has already taken over a few games this season, Alex Highsmith has been a little up and down but also has had some big games, and crucial interior lineman Cam Heyward returns from IR. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is out with a hamstring injury and that hurts, but it will still be a much bigger challenge for Levis this week.

The Steelers have some offensive issues, and they won't get better with quarterback Kenny Pickett playing through an injury to his ribs. We've seen a few games in which the Steelers have needed their defense to win the game, and this might be another one.

If Levis shines again, we might have a rookie star on our hands. It's one thing to shred a Falcons defense at home. If he does it again at Pittsburgh, that will be quite impressive.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) makes his second career start on Thursday night. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) makes his second career start on Thursday night. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:

A few college football games

There's some big-conference college football on Thursday. TCU plays at Texas Tech, with the Red Raiders being 3-point favorites. Duke is a 12.5-point home favorite against Wake Forest. Also, Troy is a 4.5-point favorite over South Alabama.

NBA includes Spurs-Suns rematch

The San Antonio Spurs had a wild comeback to upset the Phoenix Suns in the final seconds on Tuesday, and in a scheduling oddity the two teams play again Thursday. The Suns are 8.5-point favorites. It's possible they could be getting Devin Booker back from injury for Thursday night's game.

There are three other NBA games: Raptors at 76ers (-8.5), Pistons at Pelicans (-7.5) and Magic at Jazz (-1.5).

Big night in the NHL

There are 12 games in the NHL on Thursday, with two great matchups among Eastern Conference teams.

The 6-4 Carolina Hurricanes are at the 7-2 New York Rangers. The Rangers are -115 favorites. And the 8-0-1 Boston Bruins will be tested by the 5-3-1 Toronto Maple Leafs. Both teams are -110.

What's the best bet?

I don't necessarily trust the Steelers offense, but I do trust the defense. Over the last 20 years, rookie quarterbacks are 1-15 at Pittsburgh including 0-5 in prime-time games, according to Dale Lolley of Some of that record is irrelevant to today, but I still buy the main reason behind it: Pittsburgh is a very tough place for opponents. I'll go with the Steelers, who should give Will Levis a lot harder time than he faced last week.