Starting a new work week is rarely something to look forward to, but a Monday Night Football doubleheader certainly is. Today’s two games should help keep the excitement of the football-filled weekend alive.
The first game of the night is an NFC South matchup between the Saints (-3) and the Panthers (+3). Both teams have offenses led by new quarterbacks, with Derek Carr taking over in New Orleans this year after nine seasons with the Raiders, and first overall pick Bryce Young leading Carolina. The Saints emerged from Week 1 victorious, with Carr throwing for 305 yards, one touchdown, and an interception en route to a one-point victory over the Titans. Young showed promise in his NFL debut last week, but he and the Panthers did not play well enough to win, falling to the Falcons with a score of 24-10. Young threw for 146 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
The second game of the doubleheader will also be a rivalry, with the Browns (-2) and Steelers (+2) clashing in what could be a very important game in a wide-open AFC North. The Browns stunned the reigning division champ Bengals with a 24-3 win last week behind a strong defensive performance and a fierce ground attack led by star running back Nick Chubb. The Steelers were on the other side of a stunning outcome, falling to the 49ers 30-7 at home. Their struggles were punctuated by the play of second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett, who threw one touchdown and two interceptions amidst a dismal performance all around by Pittsburgh.
Odds and predictions for Monday Night Football, via DraftKings Sportsbook
Saints vs. Panthers, 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
Point spread: Saints -3
Moneyline: Saints -155, Panthers +130
Best bet: Saints -3
The Panthers are playing at home and a Bryce Young breakout game could be just around the corner, but as of right now, this game has all the signs of the Saints winning and covering the spread. Derek Carr isn’t an elite quarterback but he’s a proven veteran surrounded by good weapons (Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Jamaal Williams). New Orleans should have no problem outscoring a Panthers offense that traded away their WR1 this offseason and are currently led by a rookie quarterback in what will be his second career NFL game. Both teams have some firepower on defense, so this game might not be a high-scoring one, but the Saints should still win fairly comfortably.
Browns vs. Steelers, 8:15 p.m. ET on ABC
Best bet: Under 38
Deshaun Watson has yet to look like the franchise quarterback he was paid to be in Cleveland, and his best receiver, Amari Cooper, is not expected to play. To make matters worse for Cleveland, All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin suffered a season-ending injury last week, setting up Pittsburgh’s star pass-rusher TJ Watt up for a massive day rushing from that side against rookie tackle Dawand Jones. On the Pittsburgh side of things, there’s no denying that the team sleepwalked offensively against the 49ers, and while some improvement is expected, it’ll be tough to come by against the Browns. Cleveland held Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ vaunted receiving core to just three points last week, led by strong secondary play and a pass-rush helmed by All-Pro Myles Garett. The Steelers will be missing their WR1 as well, as the team lost Diontae Johnson to a hamstring injury last week against San Francisco.
Long story short, although Nick Chubb might find some big plays against a Cam Heyward-less Steelers defense, this game is still shaping up to be an ugly matchup offensively.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.