Monday Night Football – Week 1 Picks
Monday Night Football – Week 1 Picks
I don’t know about all of you, but that was one miserable Week 1. Sunday’s picks did not go well, with the Jets the only team managing to cover the spread in our weekly best bets article. This was one of the worst weeks of football I remember with a huge portion of the games going under (10 out of 12 games so far). It’s likely that offshore and Vegas bookmakers had an excellent week, however.
Anyway, it’s on to Monday Night. Luckily for us, we have a short memory in what will be a long NFL season. Our odds are from Bovada and are accurate as of writing. Still, it pays to line shop for the best price on your wagers.
The Saints head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in Week 1. The contest is being billed as a “revenge game” for former Vikings’ running back, Adrian Peterson, who is now playing for New Orleans. This game will be the first of the MNF doubleheader and begins at 7:10 EST.
New Orleans finished last season with a 7-9 record last season. It’s been much of the same story with the Saints. They have a dominant offense with Drew Brees, but their defense consistently ranks near the bottom of the league. The front office has spent 14 of their last 21 draft picks on defense and have a revamped system coming into the year.
After making the playoffs in 2016, the Vikings regressed last season to 8-8. Sam Bradford is still the starter in Minnesota as Teddy Bridgewater rehabs from a severe injury sustained in last year’s training camp. The Vikings still have one of the worst offensive lines in the league and have relied on short passes to move the ball, rather than a running game. Their defense was dominant for much of last year but has looked shaky in the preseason.
The Vikings initially opened at -3.5, but that was bet down to -3 which is where it stands at about every book online. Most of the bets have come on the Saints so far. The total opened at 47.5 points and has moved to 48. About 60 percent of wagers have come in on the over.
Anytime the Saints are playing; a shootout is usually a possibility. The total is rather small for Saints game, but let’s not forget it’s in Minnesota. The Vikings defense has been their strong area in recent years and despite some preseason hiccups – this is still a formidable unit.
The reason for the low total, I believe, is questions surrounding the Vikings offense, specifically on the run-game. That’s the Saints’ main area of weakness, but not a facet of the game that Minnesota should be able to capitalize on based on their offensive line woes.
That leaves the passing game, where it appears that Diggs has shifted to the outside and Adam Thielen moves into the slot. Their system is uninspiring in general, and the Saints are the strongest outside.
All in all, this one may end up being a far lower scoring affair than most predict.
Pick: Under 48 at Bovada
The AFC West starts off with a bang as the Chargers head to Mile High to take on the Broncos to start the season. Both franchises missed the playoffs for the past two seasons and are looking to start the year off on the right foot, especially with the Raiders and Chiefs both getting wins this week.
The now L.A. Chargers, formerly, the San Diego Chargers, had a rough year last season, going 5-11. A lot of their issues surrounded injury, however. They lost wide receiver Keenan Allen for the year in Week 1 and star cornerback, Jason Verrett, later in the season. They’re now fully healthy, including on the offensive line.
The Broncos come in with high hopes after finishing 9-7 last season. Denver has instituted a new offensive system under Mike McCoy, who was fired from the Chargers last season. The offense will likely be their key to success in this division.
The Broncos opened as a -3.5 favorite. This is now at -3 across the board, but many sportsbooks have the Chargers juiced heavily. Betting action between the sides has been split down the middle for the most part. The total opened at 44 points but is 43 or 42.5 at most sportsbooks.
The Chargers are a team I like as a bit of a dark horse pick to win the AFC West. Their offense is supremely underrated, especially with Keenan Allen back in the fold. They should be able to put up points against the Broncos, even with their above-average, but not elite defense.
I’m not sure I buy into the new offense that McCoy is creating for Siemian. That’s part one. The second part is that the Chargers are quite underrated defensively when they are healthy. They were not healthy all last season in the secondary or the linebacking corps. They are tonight.
I like the road team to get a victory tonight.
Pick: Chargers +3 at Bovada