MNF best bets: Doing double duty on Monday night
We've got a Monday Night Football doubleheader and, unlike years past, we don't need to be up until the wee hours to take in both games. We only need a pair of screens. So, with our space split in half, let's get right to a side and a prop for each matchup.
The Panthers were beaten handily by the Falcons. Worryingly, Bryce Young made some throws over the middle and didn't pick up on veteran defensive back Jessie Bates III lurking for a pair of interceptions. New Orleans has plenty of experience in its secondary and repeatedly jumped routes on Ryan Tannehill passes last week. Until Young proves he can burn defenses that watch him in the pocket, the run game is going to struggle too.
Offensively, the Saints have a bounty of receiver depth that's going to be nearly impossible for the Panthers to match up with now that cornerback Jaycee Horn is out for this game. Derek Carr spreads it around and the Panthers can't keep up.
Pick: Saints (-3)
Michael Thomas: Over 4.5 receptions (-105)
Michael Thomas' return to relevance was quiet in Week 1, but he saw eight targets from Carr and caught five of them. While Chris Olave is the star, Thomas is the reliable receiver on his patented intermediate slant routes. That will come in handy on the road, so look for Thomas to pile up a similar number of catches in Week 2.
The Steelers got smoked in Week 1, but that actually benefits us in two ways. Pittsburgh's 30-7 loss immediately gives Mike Tomlin his team's attention - which is usually a profitable time to bet on the Steelers. Tomlin has a great record against the spread as an underdog. When the market is selling his team, that's when it exceeds expectations. In hindsight, being short home underdogs to the 49ers was probably too high an expectation last week. But the Steelers now face virtually the same point spread against the Browns.
Cleveland enjoyed a nice win over an ill-prepared Bengals group - whose offense still wasn't back to form against the Ravens on Sunday - but putting the Browns on the same level as the 49ers is silly. If this line is built more on the assumption that Pittsburgh should be downgraded, remember that Tomlin is 19-3 on Monday Night Football. There's no reason to believe the Steelers won't give their best effort.
On the field, the Steelers' depth in the front seven means they can withstand the loss of Cameron Heyward, while the Browns have the greater challenge of replacing a top-tier right tackle in Jack Conklin. T.J. Watt wrecks the game on that side of the ball, while the offense looks better after a full week of preparation.
Pick: Steelers moneyline (+115)
Deshaun Watson: Under 199.5 passing yards
The Steelers offense won't suddenly be more explosive, but mere functionality means longer possessions. The Browns had a shocking 14 possessions in Week 1 because of how quickly the Bengals gave them back the ball. With all those chances, Deshaun Watson mustered just 154 yards on 29 pass attempts. Offensively, the Browns should keep the dropbacks to a minimum with Watt looming over a backup tackle. So we'll bet against Watson having just his third 200-yard game in eight starts for Cleveland.
Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.
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