Welcome to the Monday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming Monday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick.” A lean is a wager that we have a determined degree of certainty. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries; past track record of each team in those bet types and under the specific conditions that apply; and recent performances of each team leading up to the game.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup, including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to MNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Monday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
Texans at Saints, Monday, Sept. 9, 7:10 p.m. Eastern
The Saints are healthy favorites in this inter-conference battle, and there are several reasons for their hefty projected advantage. New Orleans owned a 6-2 home record at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last season. They scored a healthy 31.6 points per home contest as well. Moreover, when New Orleans won at home, they often won decisively; four of their six wins at the Superdome were by at least 10 points. Meanwhile, the Texans managed a 5-3 road record. But, they were just 1-3 against teams that finished with a winning record.
The Saints’ home-field advantage and the deafening crowd that carries — not to mention, the edge the Saints’ defensive line should have against the Texans’ pass-blocking front — puts me in the camp of the New Orleans moneyline.
The Pick: Saints moneyline (-280 at FanDuel)
The 6.5-point spread is significant for today’s NFL. That’s especially true for a game involving two playoff contenders from the year prior. Despite their aforementioned three losses to winning teams on the road last season, it’s worth noting Houston played them all tough. The Texans dropped those three contests to the Patriots, Titans and Eagles by a combined 12 points. The game against New England was also a season-opening affair. Deshaun Watson and company hung tough at Gillette Stadium before succumbing by a 27-20 score.
The Saints also proved to be a more giving defense on their home turf last season — they allowed six more points per contest than on the road (24.5, compared to 18.5). Given the big number and factors just mentioned, I lean towards a Texans cover.
The Lean: Texans +6.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
The game checks in with the highest projected total on the slate as of Friday afternoon. Both teams’ offenses pack firepower, although the Texans will list explosive receiver Keke Coutee as a game-time decision with an ankle sprain that lingered throughout the preseason. Houston also lost Lamar Miller for the season during the exhibition slate. However, Carlos Hyde shapes up as a serviceable replacement. Meanwhile, Duke Johnson should be a more dynamic version of long-time (and now departed) backup Alfred Blue.
As just mentioned, the Saints defense was also a bit more porous at home last season. That was particularly on display in a shocking season-opening defeat at the hands of the Buccaneers. New Orleans will undoubtedly be out to prevent a repeat of that debacle. Yet the Texans, which averaged a solid 24.4 points per road game, should be able to do their part in contributing toward the over. Then, the Saints’ high-octane attack will be at full health. They should be able to continue without missing a beat after having addressed their two notable offseason personnel losses on offense (Mark Ingram and Ben Watson) with rock-solid replacements (Latavius Murray and Jared Cook).
The Pick: Over 52.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Best Prop Bet
First Touchdown Scorer: Alvin Kamara (+475 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Kamara accounted for 18 total touchdowns last season and visited the end zone multiple times in six of 15 regular-season games. Coach Sean Payton is likely to feature Kamara right out of the gate, and the fact he’s essentially as lethal a receiver as a runner certainly helps his chances of being the first player in the game to get into the end zone. Then, it’s worth noting the Texans tied with multiple teams for fourth-most touchdowns allowed per road game (2.2) last season while also yielding the highest opponent passing touchdown percentage (81.8) on the road. Those figures also help support the possibility of Kamara being the first player to cross the goal line, and the prop carries a highly appealing price as well.