Welcome to the Monday Night Football betting breakdown, where each week I’ll provide a detailed betting overview of the upcoming Monday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. I’ll also highlight at least one player- or game-based prop each week that I feel has profit potential.
The 2020 MNF schedule kicks off with a matchup between two legacy franchises seeking to quickly put disappointing 2019 seasons in the rearview mirror. Pittsburgh did an admirable job getting to an 8-8 record while seeing Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges start at quarterback for the majority of the season following Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending elbow injury in Week 2.
Then, the Giants bit the bullet and finally closed the Eli Manning chapter by giving rookie Daniel Jones the reins of the offense early in the season. However, various key injuries led to an even more difficult campaign that had been anticipated.
All betting takes will be classified as a “pick”, with considerations such as relevant injuries, past betting trends and recent performances of each team leading up to the game factoring in.
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.
Steelers at Giants odds
All teams enter a new season with unbridled optimism and anticipation. The Steelers may be one of the proverbial leaders in the clubhouse in that regard going into the 2020 campaign. Roethlisberger’s return has some mystery attached due to the absence of a preseason. However, all indications are that he’s throwing perhaps even better than before his elbow surgery. For a team that arguably missed the playoffs due to sub-par QB play in his absence last season – and that still boasts an elite defense and an explosive group of skill-position players – there’s a tangible feeling coach Mike Tomlin‘s squad can make 3-to-4-win improvement on their 8-8 mark of a year ago.
On the other side, Pittsburgh’s formidable defense gets a crack at Jones. The second-year gunslinger more than held his own after being thrust into the starting position in Week 3 last season. He posted a 24:12 TD:INT while also throwing for 3,027 yards. However, the Duke product has drawn a short straw with the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 this offseason. He’s had to absorb a new offensive system without the benefit of on-field OTAs or preseason games. Now he’s tasked with taking on a Steelers defense that finished fifth in yards per game allowed (304.1) last season, including third in passing yards per game surrendered (194.6).
What should make this game reasonably competitive is the near clean bill of health for an array of talented players that suffered through injury-marred 2019 seasons. On the Giants’ side, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram are ready to rock. Barkley missed three games with an ankle issue last season and was affected by the injury for several more games. Engram is completely over the foot injury that cost him the last seven games of 2019 and has reportedly looked as explosive as ever. For the Steelers, James Conner (six-plus missed games in ’19) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (4.5 missed games in ’19) are also fully recovered from several different ailments.
Ultimately, I see the experience of Roethlisberger making the difference here even more than it normally would. The significant reduction in on-field work this offseason and his matchup against a Giants defense that was poor a year ago and has many new components should help the Steelers turn in a more efficient performance offensively.
The Pick: Steelers moneyline (-275 or better)
MNF Point Spread
Throwing out last year’s Roethlisberger-less season, the Steelers have been a very good road team in recent years. They were a combined 27-16-1 straight up when traveling over the five seasons prior to 2019. Moreover, even factoring in ’19, Pitt is 27-22-3 (55.1 percent) ATS as a road team since 2014 and 16-8 (66.7 percent) against the number in interconference matchups over that span.
Notably, this game’s line has also moved to 5.5 points after opening at 3.5 points.
The Steelers were 9-7 (56.2 percent) against the spread last regular season, including 4-4 (50.0 percent) as an away team. Pittsburgh was also 3-1 (75.0 percent) against the number in interconference matchups.
The Giants were 7-9 (43.8 percent) against the spread last regular season, but 2-6 (25.0 percent) as a home team. New York was also 1-3 (25.0 percent) versus the number against AFC opponents.
As alluded to earlier, the impact of Roethlisberger’s return on the Steelers’ attack can’t be underscored. As such, I see Pittsburgh having enough weapons to notch at least a six-point win in this spot against a Giants squad that will get better as the season unfolds but won’t be in top form right from the jump.
The Pick: Steelers -5.5 or better
MNF Over/Under Total
This total is about average, and each squad has more than enough firepower to contribute to it being exceeded. Both Pittsburgh and New York have several explosive skill players at their disposal that are no longer hampered by their various 2019 injuries, as elaborated on earlier.
The Over was 4-12 (25.0 percent) in the Steelers’ regular-season games in 2019, including 1-7 (12.5 percent) in their away games and 1-3 (25.0 percent) in their non-conference contests.
Then, the Over was 10-6 (62.5 percent) in the Giants’ regular-season games in 2019, including 4-4 in their home games and 3-1 (75.0 percent) in their non-conference games.
I see enough scoring here for the Over to hit, as even the Steelers’ elite defense could be hitting at less than all cylinders in the absence of on-field OTAs and preseason games.
The Pick: Over 46.5 points or better
Best MNF Prop Bet
Steelers to win and over 48.5 points
In line with my belief the Steelers will prevail in this contest and a fair amount of points will be scored, I like this parlay prop. In addition to numbers previously cited, it’s worth noting the Over is 13-11 (54.2 percent) in the Steelers’ interconference games the last six seasons. Additionally, even factoring in last season, Pittsburgh is 19-10-1 (65.5 percent) straight up as a road favorite since 2014.