MNF best bets: Playing the odds in an NFC showdown
Each Monday, we'll finish off the week that was in the NFL with a look at value spots in the remaining game - or in this case, games - under one condition: you promise not to chase. Whether Sunday provided a boost to the accounts or left a little to be desired, Monday Night Football provides an opportunity to show responsibility in your betting, as there will always be another wild Sunday to get lost in.
In a rare two-screen experience (that doesn't involve the Manning brothers) Monday night, the NFC matchup shouldn't get second billing to the Titans-Bills lead-in. The Vikings and Eagles might take a promotional backseat to their more famous rivals, but both teams have become division favorites after Week 1. Given the Cowboys and Packers bounced back yesterday, this game takes on even greater importance while also having the potential for offensive fireworks.
If, like me, you had high hopes for the Vikings under their new coaching regime, Week 1 certainly provided a confidence boost. New head coach Kevin O'Connell's breakdown of his plan and philosophy may also have wowed you.
Minnesota melded the three phases of the game so perfectly that it didn't have to step on the gas late against Green Bay. On the other hand, there are still some questions about the Eagles defensively after the Lions gained 5.8 yards per play, much of which came on the ground.
We know the Vikings can do both on offense, so Dalvin Cook could take charge in this game. If he does, Philadelphia will have a hard time shedding its reputation as a squad that can't beat the league's better teams. We'll dare the Eagles to make that jump Monday since we'd get the best of the odds on what should be a coin flip.
Pick: Vikings moneyline (+115)
Justin Jefferson over 7.5 receptions (+115)
This game should be competitive right until the end. The Vikings didn't have to be in throw mode for all 60 minutes against the Packers, but Jefferson still had nine catches. Maybe the Eagles have a better plan to contain him, but I'm not sure any player could create a matchup that'd make me want to stop betting on Jefferson.
The last time the Eagles faced O'Connell was against the Rams in Week 2 of 2020 - when they gave up 37 points and lost by 18. Cooper Kupp's abilities are well-documented, yet teams have been unable to stop him. With Jefferson playing the same role, how can the Eagles contain him Monday?
Jalen Hurts under 0.5 interceptions (-110)
The Vikings are unlikely to pull away from the Eagles, so they should be able to stay with their ground game and have the same success Green Bay had. The Packers' tailbacks ran for 94 yards on 15 carries last week but couldn't stay with it in a negative game state. If the Eagles can, that would set Hurts up for easier throws when they go to play-action. With the ball targeted in low-danger areas, Hurts is a good bet for a clean passing game.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.