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 certain degree of certainty in. 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.
Broncos (-2.5) at Raiders, Monday, Sept. 9, 10:15 pm ET
The rollercoaster that is the Antonio Brown Experience was in overdrive this past week, bringing plenty of nausea-inducing dips for both Raiders brass, and presumably, his now ex-teammates. Brown went from likely suspended/potentially cut to reportedly likely to suit up against the Broncos after apologizing to his teammates. However, after the tide turned yet again between Friday and Saturday, Oakland granted Brown’s request for release Saturday morning. This latest development naturally blows open the outlook for this game.
Besides Brown’s now-confirmed absence, the two teams are pretty much devoid of health/personnel-related question marks heading into this season-opening rivalry game. Denver does have some personnel uncertainty at tight end with rookie Noah Fant possibly taking the reins of the position. However, Joe Flacco should be a steady presence under center for now. Emmanuel Sanders also appears to be back at full health after last season’s Achilles injury.
The Broncos have won each of their last seven season openers. Yet, they were just 3-5 on the road last season and have dropped three straight games in this series. Nevertheless, Flacco gives Denver stability at quarterback that they haven’t had since Peyton Manning hung up the cleats. Then, with Brown now out of the picture, Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris can now concentrate primarily on taking Tyrell Williams, the Raiders’ most explosive remaining wideout, out of the equation. Despite the Raiders’ moneyline sporting plus money all three featured sportsbooks, I’m leaning toward a Broncos upset over a Raiders team likely fatigued to an extent by distraction.
The Lean: Broncos moneyline (-128)
Building on the moneyline lean, I also see the Broncos covering a now 2.5-point spread while pulling out a road win as a solid possibility. Denver is expected to take a step forward on defense this season, and when combined with what should be a very well-balanced offense, they have what it takes on both sides of the ball to conceivably walk away a winner versus a quarterback in Derek Carr that’s mustered just a 4-6 career record against them.
The Lean: Broncos -2.5
While I just alluded to an improved Broncos defense this season, this total still seems to be a tad on the low side. Neither squad has a completely punchless offense, although removing Brown from the equation naturally neuters the Raiders a good deal. Granted, the last five meetings in the series have actually checked in below 43 points. However, Denver’s quarterback position has a clear upgrade over recent occupants in the form of Flacco. The running back duo of Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman is also back in full force and should serve as an excellent counterbalance to keep the Oakland D honest.
For the Raiders, rookie running back Josh Jacobs also promises to be a dynamic play-making presence out of the backfield that’s got more upside than recent players that have filled that role in Oakland. Then, the Raiders scored 25.2 points per home game last season. However, Oakland was also a sieve on defense at home. They surrendered the second-most points per game (30.3) of any team on its home turf.
Given some solid offensive weaponry on both sides of the ball and the fact both teams should be refreshed, I’m going with the Over on a total that’s now half a point down on both FanDuel Sportsbook and FoxBet since the news of Brown’s release.
The Pick: Over 42.5
Best Prop Bet
Total Touchdown Passes: Joe Flacco Over 1.5 TD passes (+100 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
No teams gave up more touchdown passes last season than the Raiders and 49ers, which each surrendered 35. Flacco has never necessarily been a prolific touchdown compiler, but he threw for multiple scores in three of his first four games last season. Oakland will line up Gareon Conley and Daryl Worley at corner in Week 1, while rookie free safety Johnathan Abram will man center field. In other words, there should be chances for Flacco to find the end zone through the air with his wideouts. Absent that, his tight ends won’t be in bad shape, either. The Raiders also surrendered the third-most receiving touchdowns (nine) to TEs. Given the multiple paths that could potentially be there for him, I like the Over for Flacco at plus money on this prop.