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 11 MNF showcase features a showdown between a pair of playoff contenders in the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The two clubs most recently met in Week 4 of last season, when Jared Goff’s career-high 517 passing yards weren’t enough to overcome the Jameis Winston-led Bucs in a 55-40 loss.
Los Angeles enters Week 11 in a three-way tie for the NFC West lead with the Cardinals and Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are just a half-game back in the NFC South standings to the Saints, but they already lost both meetings against New Orleans this season. Each squad checks into the contest coming off impressive wins – the Rams manhandled the Seahawks in a 23-16 home victory, while the Buccaneers doubled up the Panthers, 46-23, on the road.
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.
In a game that boasts names such as Brady, Evans, Godwin, Brown, Gronkowski, Goff, Kupp and Woods on the offensive side of the ball, it’s these two teams’ stalwart defenses that could very well be the tipping point for a win. Each squad has particularly excelled at stopping the run and taking down the quarterback, with Los Angeles arguably the more complete unit of the two due to the fact it also boasts elite secondary play.
Jalen Ramsey has proven to be worth every bit of the contractual headache he previously brought on. The 2016 first-round pick of the Jaguars has spearheaded a secondary that’s played an integral part in the Rams giving up just 199.7 passing yards per game, including an even stingier 188.8 per road contest. Ramsey also has one of the team’s eight interceptions, has defensed three passes, and is allowing a minuscule 42.9 percent completion rate, 4.9 yards per attempt and 65.4 QB rating on the 35 throws he’s faced in primary coverage. Furthermore, L.A. is yielding an NFL-low 5.7 yards per attempt, frequently putting teams in the bind of trying to drive methodically down the field versus a defense that’s also tied for second-most sacks (31) and allowing the fewest points per drive (1.52).
In a testament to the Rams defense’s balanced distribution of talent, they also check in giving up the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game (96.8), including 87.4 per road contest, and 4.03 RB yards per carry. This therefore sets up as an interesting matchup for Ronald Jones, who’s coming off a career-best 192-yard Week 10 performance against the Panthers, and backfield mate Leonard Fournette. However, there’s some hope to be gleaned in the fact Los Angeles has largely forged its impressive numbers against the run versus the injury-hampered and/or questionable ground attacks of the Giants, Washington, 49ers, Bears, Dolphins and Seahawks.
It’s also worth noting Goff and his offensive teammates have a tough task in front of them as well. Much like the Rams, the Buccaneers have excelled at both stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. In fact, Tampa Bay has been a cut above every other team at the former task. The Bucs are surrendering an NFL-low 76.6 rushing yards per game and 3.02 RB yards per carry, along with the third-fewest adjusted line yards per rush (3.43). Their dominant metrics extend to a No. 1 ranking in second-level yards per rush (0.74) allowed, as well as a No. 2 slotting in second-level yards per tote (0.27) surrendered.
Then, while the Bucs have allowed 223.7 passing yards per game, including 251.8 per home contest, they’ve also picked off an NFL-high 12 passes and are tied with several teams for the fourth-lowest yards per attempt (6.3) given up. Just like the Rams, Tampa Bay has gotten to the quarterback on 31 occasions. They’re also yielding the third-fewest yards per drive (28.05), partly a byproduct of stuffing the run on early downs and then bringing incessant pressure in obvious passing situations.
Given the quality of each defensive unit, I envision this being a lower-scoring affair. I also see the offense with the more cumulative talent eventually rising to the top here. Therefore, I’m in the camp of a close Buccaneers victory, with the duo of Jones and Fournette offering some critical balance by exposing a Rams defensive front that’s dealt with softer matchups on the ground in recent games.
The Pick: Buccaneers moneyline (-200 or better)
MNF Point Spread
The Rams are 5-4 (55.6 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-3 (40.0 percent) as a road team and 5-2 (71.4 percent) in conference matchups.
The Buccaneers are 5-5 against the spread this season, including 2-2 as a home team and 3-4 (42.9 percent) in conference matchups.
While both teams have formidable defenses, the Buccaneers are a bad matchup for a Rams team that prefers to lean on the run and doesn’t have the same explosiveness in the passing game as in past years to turn to as an alternative. Tampa Bay is the more talented offense overall and I therefore lean toward the Bucs doing enough to eventually separate just enough for the cover.
The Lean: Buccaneers -4 or better
MNF Over/Under Total
The Over is 2-7 (22.2 percent) in Los Angeles’ games this season, including 2-3 (40.0 percent) in its road games and 1-6 (14.3 percent) in its conference matchups.
Then, the Over is 6-4 (60.0 percent) in Tampa Bay’s games this season, including 2-2 in its home games and 4-3 (57.1 percent) in its conference matchups.
The Rams have been particularly unkind to the Over with their elite defense. As mentioned earlier, the Buccaneers could largely make Los Angeles one-dimensional, a condition they don’t exactly have the caliber of passing attack to overcome. As such I see enough stalled drives and settling for field goals on either side to allow the Under to prevail.
The Pick: Under 48.5 points or better
Best MNF Prop Bets
Tom Brady Under 292.5 passing yards (-115 or better)
As alluded to earlier, the Rams have been extremely tough to pass against, especially on the road, and are allowing the lowest yards per attempt in the league. What’s more, they’ve yielded 9.9 yards per completion, while Brady is averaging 25.4 completions per game thus far. Multiplying those figures in order to obtain a rough estimate of what we might expect leaves us with 251.5 potential passing yards if both L.A. and Brady live up to their per-game averages. Factoring in the Rams also boast the sixth-highest average time of possession (31:47), it seems unlikely Brady has the ball enough to surpass this yardage benchmark.
ALSO CONSIDER: Jared Goff Over 25.5 completions (+100 or better)
The Bucs are allowing an NFC-high 71.5 percent completion rate at home this season and are also nearly impossible to run on with consistent success, as already illustrated earlier. That combination should lead to a busy night for Goff, whose 23.7 completions per game do check in slightly below this number. Nevertheless, Goff has exceeded 26 completions in each of his last two games due to game script (vs. Dolphins) and a similarly difficult run defense (vs. Seahawks) to that of Tampa Bay’s.