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 Week 4 edition of Monday Night Football features an NFC showdown between the winless Atlanta Falcons and the undefeated Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Falcons, sans Julio Jones (hamstring) saw another sizable second-half lead go by the wayside in Week 3, as they found a way to squander a 26-10 advantage in the fourth quarter to Nick Foles and the Chicago Bears. In contrast, the Packers, playing without Davante Adams (hamstring), were able to outlast the New Orleans Saints on the road by a 37-30 score Sunday night.
All betting takes will be classified as a “pick” or “lean”, 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.
Falcons vs. Packers odds
With two big-name quarterbacks, one pass-happy team in particular (the Falcons), elite receivers and defenses that have given up a robust amount of points early on, this seems to set up as a spot for plenty of fireworks. However, each squad comes in with injury concerns attached to its biggest names.
For the Falcons, Jones, who missed Week 3 with a hamstring injury, is questionable heading into Saturday’s practice. Fellow wideout Calvin Ridley, who eclipsed 100 yards in Jones’ absence last Sunday, is dealing with ankle and calf injuries. On the Packers’ side, Adams, who also sat in Week 3 with a hamstring strain, appears to be trending toward playing Monday night but will likely be a game-time call. Emerging No. 2 receiver Allen Lazard is already ruled out with a core-muscle injury.
Assuming Jones and Ridley do suit up – even at less than 100 percent – the Falcons’ biggest health concerns might be on the defensive line. Heading into Saturday, starting defensive ends Takkarist McKinley and Dante Fowler are dealing with groin and ankle injuries, respectively. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (hip) and backup Marlon Davidson (knee) are also among the wounded. With all plagued by lower-body injuries, the ability of Atlanta to mount a legitimate pass rush against Aaron Rodgers (295.6 passing yards per game, 9:0 TD:INT) could be significantly compromised. Atlanta is already surrendering the second-most passing yards per game (350.3) with those players healthier than they are at the moment. And, while the Falcons do get cornerback Kendall Sheffield into the lineup this week after he missed the first three games with a foot injury, standout safety Keanu Neal has missed the first two practices of the week with a hamstring injury.
The Falcons are heavily relying on Ryan’s arm to keep them in games thus far. The poor play of the defense is often forcing that issue. Green Bay has all four starters in the secondary at full health and isn’t likely to devote too many extra resources to stopping RB Todd Gurley, who’s averaging just 4.0 yards per carry thus far. That should allow them to focus on Jones and Ridley heavily. Combined with the lack of a fast track at Lambeau and the lower-body issues currently plaguing Atlanta’s top two receivers, we could see a less explosive air attack that will make the Falcons’ quest for an upset road victory here all the more difficult.
Monday, 10/5 Update: There’s now clarity on several injury situations pertaining to this game. The most important is that Adams appears to have been ruled out for this game as of Monday afternoon. His absence reduces the Packers wideout corps to one helmed by Valdes-Scantling, but the Falcons will be without McKinley, Neal and key rotational safety Ricardo Allen as well. Meanwhile, Jones and Ridley appear on track to play. The outlook here therefore gets a lot murkier, and my prediction changes to a lean on a Packers win that now looks less certain.
The Lean: Packers moneyline (-350 or better)
MNF Point Spread
This a sizable spread in today’s NFL, even with a winless team going up against an undefeated one. It’s also one that would likely be more understandable were Lambeau to have fans for this contest, which it won’t.
The Falcons are 1-2 (33.3 percent) against the spread this season, including 1-0 as a road team and 1-2 (33.3 percent) in conference matchups.
The Packers are 3-0 against the spread this season, including 1-0 as a home team and 3-0 in NFC matchups.
I trust Rodgers and his ability to make plays against a banged-up Falcons defense more than I do Ryan versus a fully healthy Packers secondary enough to point me toward a lean on Green Bay covering the touchdown spread. However, if it’s at 7.5 points (as it already is on DK Sportsbook as of Saturday) or higher, then I’m not on board.
Monday, 10/5 Update: With Adams out of action, the spread has moved down one point to six at some sportsbooks. The fact Rodgers is going to have to now make due without his top two receivers makes this an increasingly uphill battle for Rodgers, but he’s proven amply capable of overcoming significant challenges. While it will likely be a dogfight, I still lean in favor of the home squad covering.
The Lean: Packers -6 or better
MNF Over/Under Total
This ties the Browns-Cowboys game for the highest total of the slate and factors in how extensive the defensive issues have been for the Falcons in particular, as well as the overall health of that side of the ball for Atlanta.
The Over is 3-0 in Atlanta’s games this season, including 1-0 in its road games and 3-0 in its conference matchups.
Then, the Over is 3-0 in Green Bay’s games this season, including 1-0 in its road games and 3-0 in conference matchups.
As much as the Falcons have struggled and both teams have been involved in high-scoring contests thus far, this isn’t a dome game like three of the contests these teams have already played this season that have gone over Monday’s projected total. The absences of both Adams and Lazard absence naturally makes GB’s passing game much less potent, putting me on a lean toward the Under.
The Lean: Under 56.5 points or better
Best MNF Prop Bet
Aaron Jones Over 35.5 receiving yards (-115 or better)
Jones is already averaging six targets per game through the first three weeks and is coming off a career-high 49 receptions in 2019. With both Adams and Lazard out, coach Matt LaFleur will be looking to get the ball into his most explosive healthy playmakers Monday night. Jones is arguably the best offensive player not named Rodgers for the Packers that will be on the field against Atlanta, and the Falcons have made life tough on the ground for running backs while surrendering just 3.6 yards per carry to the position. However, they’ve allowed a 20-114-2 line through the air to backs through three contests, which should funnel enough of Jones’ usage to the passing game to have him surpass this modest yardage benchmark.