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 Week 8 MNF contest is a conference showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants. The two clubs most recently met in Week 3 of last season, a wild 32-31 road win for New York in what was Daniel Jones’ first career start.
The Buccaneers have throttled the Packers and Raiders over their last two games by a combined score of 83-30. Meanwhile, the Giants continued a trend of heartbreaking losses in Week 7 with a 22-21 defeat at the hands of the Eagles that saw the G-Men blow a fourth-quarter two-possession lead.
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.
Optimism is high in Tampa Bay following back-to-back blowout wins and the signing of yet another potent big-name weapon in Antonio Brown. The good vibes are supported by a team that appears to be increasingly gelling on both sides of the ball.
The Buccaneers come in with top-10 figures in passing yards per game (266.1) and passing yards per game allowed (225.3). They’re averaging a modest 105.1 rushing yards per contest, but the offensive line is facilitating a solid 4.5 yards per carry. And, no team has been more difficult to run on than the Bucs – they’re yielding a league-low 66.0 rushing yards per game and an absurd 2.7 running back yards per carry.
Meanwhile, the Giants aren’t anywhere near Tampa Bay’s class in run defense. However, they’re allowing a respectable 105.0 rush yards per game and 3.9 yards per carry to RBs. Unfortunately, they’ve been even more pedestrian on the ground than they’ve rendered other teams. Significantly handicapped without Saquon Barkley (IR-knee), New York is averaging just 98.1 rushing yards per game. Although they’re also doing it a strong 4.5 yards per carry, that figure is heavily influenced by Jones’ 9.5 yards per rush. Otherwise, the G-Men’s O-line is facilitating just 3.9 running back yards per tote.
The biggest statistical advantage for the Bucs in this spot may well come through the air, even with Chris Godwin out due to finger surgery. The Giants made what appears to be a wise investment in cornerback James Bradberry this offseason. He’s already recorded three interceptions, defensed 11 passes and allowed just a 58.6 QB rating in primary coverage. Nevertheless, New York is surrendering 251.3 passing yards per game, including 262 per its three home contests.
They run into Brady at an especially inopportune time. The future Hall of Famer boasts 788 passing yards, a 66.4 percent completion rate and a 7:0 TD:INT in the three games since last throwing an interception Week 4. He’s also tossed seven touchdowns in the three games Godwin has already missed this season.
Factoring in that Jones has also continued to struggle with ball security – he already has 11 turnovers in seven games – and the Bucs have more cumulative talent, I see a Tampa road win here. The price is very steep, but the Bucs’ status as heavy favorites is warranted.
The Pick: Buccaneers moneyline (-600 or better)
MNF Point Spread
The Buccaneers are 4-3 (57.1 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-2 as a road team and 2-2- in conference matchups.
The Giants are 4-3 (57.1 percent) against the spread this season, including 0-3 as a home team and 4-2 (66.7 percent) in conference matchups.
This line has been on the upswing since its pre-Week-7 open of 9.5. The number is large enough where it gives some reason to pause. After all, four of New York’s six losses have been by single-digit margins.
However, three have come against fellow members of the incompetent NFC East and the fourth versus the offensively challenged Bears. Tampa Bay has the offensive firepower to separate and sports a top-10 second-half offense (13.6 post-halftime points per game). In turn, the Giants are allowing 13.0 points per second half at MetLife.
Big as the number is, I lean toward Brady and company pulling away enough late to cover it, although I’d be off if it happens to get any larger.
The Lean: Buccaneers -12 or better
MNF Over/Under Total
The Over is 4-3 (57.1 percent) in Tampa Bay’s games this season, including 2-2 in its road games and 2-2 in its conference matchups.
Then, the Over is 2-5 (28.6 percent) in New York’s games this season, including 1-2 (33.3 percent) in its home games and 2-4 (33.3 percent) in its conference matchups.
The total has been bouncing around throughout the week, sitting as high as 47.5 on Monday before ultimately coming to rest at its current 45 as of Friday afternoon. Godwin’s absence does lower overall scoring expectations to a degree; however, Tampa Bay scored a combined 69 points in Godwin’s first two absences this season before tumbling to 19 versus the tough Bears defense on the road in his third missed game.
As illustrated earlier, the Giants have a solid enough unit against the run to potentially throw at least a couple of obstacles in the Bucs’ way without fully derailing them. Meanwhile, Jones at least has a full receiving corps back at his disposal with Sterling Shepard mostly healthy again. Given the talents of the available skill position players for each side, I’m in the camp of the Over on the dropping number.
The Pick: Over 45.0 points or better
Best MNF Prop Bet
Wayne Gallman Over 14.5 receiving yards (-115 or better)
The Buccaneers are notoriously impossible to run against as already detailed, but Gallman projects to be on the field plenty Monday night as the clear-cut starting back. With the short pass quite possibly serving as a stand-in for the run under those circumstances, I like the Over on this very modest total. Plenty of teams have already used this strategy against Tampa Bay –they come in allowing the fifth-most receptions (47) and receiving yards (356) to backs. Meanwhile, Gallman is a solid receiver who already saw five targets across just 32 snaps versus the Eagles in Week 7.