Welcome to the Monday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming MNF 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, the past track records for certain conditions and bet types, and team performances 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.
Browns at 49ers, Monday, Oct. 5, 8:15 p.m. ET
The 49ers have been favorites since this game was first posted, but their projected advantage has actually grown throughout the last several days. I’ll comment on point spread further in the next section, as I believe recent movement is exploitable. However, in terms of the moneyline, I’m still in the 49ers camp. The fact they’ll be well-rested coming in off the bye is certainly one big reason. Coincidentally, San Fran has actually dropped both of their previous post-bye-week games in the Kyle Shanahan era and done so by a average margin of 14.5 points. However, this is his best roster yet, especially on defense.
The Niners boast top 10 rankings across the board on defense. They’re ranked third overall in total defense, which breaks down to a No. 6 slotting against the pass and a No. 5 rank versus the run. San Fran also brings a formidable pass rush that has recorded nine sacks through three games. In turn, the Browns have yielded a matching three sacks per game themselves for a total of 12 through their four contests.
Baker Mayfield is likely to have his most complete receiving corps yet for this contest. Jarvis Landry, who’d racked up 167 receiving yards in Week 4 against the Ravens before exiting with a concussion, has cleared the league protocol for head injuries and will start. Antonio Callaway is off his season-opening four-game suspension and will be available as well. There’s even a chance Rashard Higgins, out since the opener with a knee injury, suits up. And naturally, there’s Odell Beckham, Jr. leading the way. He’s still looking for a breakout game versus a quality opponent. On the ground, Nick Chubb comes in with no shortage of momentum — he just rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns against Baltimore in Week 4.
However, the Niners have plenty in their arsenal, especially in the backfield. Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, Jr. have been doing a fine job over the last two games. There’s also a chance Tevin Coleman returns this week from the ankle sprain he suffered in the opener. The 49ers’ strength happens to be the Browns’ biggest weakness. Cleveland has allowed 119.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks them 21st in that category. They also happen to be allowing the eighth-most second-level yards per carry (1.32) while the 49ers’ offensive line is helping generate the most second-level yards per tote (1.68).
Ultimately, I see San Fran moving the chains on the ground and Jimmy Garoppolo making enough plays through the air versus an injury-hampered Browns secondary to squeak out a close home win.
As alluded to above, the line has moved further in favor of the 49ers over the course of the week despite Cleveland’s impressive Week 4 road win against the Ravens. The Niners are -4 favorites at FanDuel Sportsbook, but it’s the -5 number at DraftKings Sportsbook that I find potentially exploitable.
The Browns are 2-2 (50.0 percent) against the spread this season. That includes a 2-0 mark as an away team specifically. Then, the 49ers are 2-1 (66.7 percent) versus the number in 2019. That includes an 0-1 tally as a home team.
For what it’s worth, both teams have been very good against the spread in interconference matchups since the beginning of last season. Cleveland is 4-1 (80.0 percent) ATS versus NFC foes during that span while San Francisco is 4-2 (66.7 percent) against AFC opponents in that stretch.
Ultimately, I see the fact the Browns will have a more potent complement of receivers with Callaway back in the fold as enough of a factor here to keep them close enough to slide under the five-point spread.
The Lean: Browns +5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
This is a matchup of two top-half-ranked defenses that can pressure the quarterback. That alone can usually serve to limit scoring to an extent. Then, the game also features a matchup between two quarterbacks that are prone to a fair share of mistakes — Mayfield and Garoppolo have already combined for 11 turnovers in seven total games. That can also lead to plenty of aborted drives. And, it’s also worth noting that despite their breakout Week 4 showing, the Cleveland offense has a bottom-half ranking in yards per drive (29.94) and points per drive (1.85).
The Over is 2-2 (50.0 percent) in the Browns’ games this season, including 1-1 in their away games. In turn, the Over is 1-2 (33.3 percent) in the 49ers’ games this season, including 0-1 in their home games.
While I think it will be a close call, I’m leaning toward the Under hitting here based on the previous factors cited.
The Lean: Under 46.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Best Prop Bet
Home Team To Win By 1-6 Points (+325 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
In line with my theory of a close Niners win here, I like the possibility of this prop hitting. Both teams are closely matched overall. The Niners arguably have more healthy talent on defense that the Browns at the moment, but Cleveland has more proven weapons on offense, especially through the air. Ultimately I see a victory by four points or fewer for the 49ers.
VIDEO: Matt Brown breaks down Browns/49ers
Want more analysis? Matt Brown offers his take on the different ways to get money down on MNF.