Week 2 Monday Night Football Betting Breakdown. Best Bets for Saints-Panthers & Browns-Steelers
Double Header Alert!
We’ll have two games to watch this Monday – simultaneously for parts of the night – as the Saints visit the Panthers (7:15 p.m. ET) and the Browns visit the Steelers (8:15 p.m. ET).
Both games feature 1-0 teams visiting 0-1 teams in divisional matchups. The lines on both are also within 3.0 points on the spread.
We MIGHT have a couple of closely fought, low-scoring divisional games on tap for the second MNF slate of the season.
It’s the NFL, though, and if the script says 30-28 OT (x2), then we’ll just roll with it…
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
- Spread: Saints -3.0 (-110; BetMGM)
- Total: 39.5
- Moneylines: Saints -165 / Panthers +140
The Saints were able to eke out a close game against the Titans in Week 1.
Derek Carr (305-1-1) posted the sixth-best EPA per play (0.198) of any Week 1 quarterback and had good rapport with his receivers, including a healthy Michael Thomas (5-61). The Panthers are without their best corner in Jaycee Horn (hamstring; IR), so if Carr has time to sit in the pocket, it could be another solid output day for him and his receivers.
On the negative side, the Saints' offensive line allowed four sacks, and their running game was almost non-existent. They’ll face another stiff test against a Panthers defensive line that got 14 pressures in Week 1.
Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) passes against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
For Carolina, it’s concerning that Bryce Young (146-1-2) struggled against a low-pressure defense like Atlanta because the Saints are likely to bring more pressure. They picked off a conservative quarterback in Ryan Tannehill three times in Week 1, so they can take advantage of any mistakes from the rookie.
It does look like Carolina will get DJ Chark (questionable; hamstring) back for this game, as he practiced in full on Friday. That could help Young’s efficiency on downfield throws. He averaged just 3.34 yards per attempt in Week 1.
Where Carolina could be able to neutralize the Saints' advantage is on the ground with Miles Sanders (18-72, 4-26) and Chuba Hubbard (9-60, 2-9). New Orleans held Derrick Henry to just 63 yards (4.2 YPC) in Week 1, but Carolina ran the ball well vs. the Falcons.
I took the Saints on the look-ahead line at -1.0 before the season even started, but I understand the sharp interest in the Panthers at the current number. If Carolina can avoid turnovers (easier said than done), their defense can keep this game tight.
Player Prop Bets - Saints at Panthers
From a player prop perspective, I like this spot for the Saints receivers.
Thomas led the team in route participation rate (92%) in Week 1 and also led the team with three red zone targets.
Despite those stats, Thomas’s anytime TD odds (+250 on BetMGM) are far more significant than Chris Olave’s (+190). Given how poor the Panthers' offense is, I’d also recommend a ladder bet on whoever you target, sprinkling some on the first-team touchdown or first touchdown overall (Thomas is +1200 on DraftKings to be the first TD scorer).
On the Carolina side, if you like the Panthers, then targeting Sanders’ rushing yards over (64.5 O/U; BetMGM) and anytime TD props (+175; BetMGM) in a same-game parlay with the Panthers +3.0 has a solid correlation.
However, if you like the Saints side, another prop that stood out was under 0.5 passing TDs for Young (+180; BetMGM). This line was +200 at some sportsbooks during the week but has gotten slightly shorter.
New Orleans held an opponent without a passing TD in eight games last season, and Young failed to find the endzone in Week 1.
Same Game Parlay — Saints at Panthers
I built two for this game, as good odds are available on players that correlate well with their respective side winning or covering.
If we like the Saints, seeing Carr throw a couple of TDs isn’t hard to imagine. The Saints didn’t run the ball well in Week 1, and I liked Thomas’s usage in the first game. Carr was noticeably looking his way inside the red zone.
On the Panthers' side, if they end up covering, there is a great chance it will be on the back of the run game. A heavy dose of Sanders would also likely keep Young’s passing output low.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Spread: Browns -2.0 (-110, BetMGM)
- Total: 38.0
- Moneylines: Browns -130 / Browns +110
It’s hard to take much out of the Steelers' first game. Kenny Pickett (232-1-2) was pressured a league-high 24 times, and the Steelers got down 20 points so quickly that it ruined any chance they had of getting into a flow on offense.
Their offensive line can undoubtedly be criticized for the breakdown – and for the meager 41 yards rushing that Pittsburgh was able to produce – but they were facing an elite defensive squad in the 49ers.
If they don’t bounce back against Cleveland, it will be a cause for concern moving forward.
Maybe the worst thing to come out of Week 1 for Pittsburgh was losing Diontae Johnson (hamstring) for multiple weeks. He was one of their only receivers getting open consistently against the 49ers. The loss of Johnson means we should see an expanded role for George Pickens (5-36) and rookie Calvin Austin III (6-37), who led the Steelers in catches in Week 1.
Sep 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates after scoring a two point conversion during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
The Browns played in horrendous conditions in Week 1, with wind and rain severely affecting both offenses.
Deshaun Watson (154-1-1) dealt with the conditions far better than his counterpart but also had some severely underthrown balls. He’ll be facing a Steelers defensive front that includes TJ Watt and got 19 pressures of their own last Sunday.
The Browns are also dealing with injury issues of their own. Amari Cooper (groin) is unlikely to play after injuring his hamstring in practice. It’s a blow to their wide receiver corps, but the added depth of Elijah Moore (3-43) should help.
Moore led the Browns with a 23% target share in Week 1 and should find good opportunities against a Steelers secondary that allowed Brandon Aiyuk to run wild against them in the opener.
The Steelers lost CB Cameron Sutton in the offseason, and the first week of the Patrick Peterson experiment didn’t go well. It’s an advantage the Browns should look to exploit.
Despite the Browns' big win, the line in this game has stayed within 3.0 points since Monday. Mike Tomlin’s disgustingly good 16-5-3 ATS record as a home underdog likely has something to do with this.
Taking the points in a close divisional matchup is never a poor idea, although admittedly, Cleveland is a team that may be undervalued right now.
Player Prop Bets - Browns at Steelers
Player props for this game have more appeal than the side.
We have Moore projected at 53.0 yards for the week in our prop tool, good for a 5.3% edge. That makes him a very solid over target.
On the other side of this game, Austin still has very low props we can take advantage of.
With Pickens likely to draw Denzel Ward in coverage, I wouldn’t be hesitant to target his over on 27.5 receiving yards (-120, DraftKings), either.
We have Austin projected for 3.1 receptions and 29.6 yards, representing a small edge to the over.
Same Game Parlay — Browns at Steelers
This matchup should be tight, and for our same-game parlay, I’d rather focus on the opportunities for the receivers than necessarily get involved with picking a side.
Simple but powerful. Just how my wife describes me to strangers.
And really, why not focus on the two WRs getting extra opportunity this week with other players injured? Let’s hope it hits to close out the week strong.
You can tail both of the SGPs at BetMGM, where you can claim up to $1,500 paid back in bonus bets if your first bet does not win! All you have to do is sign up below and start betting TODAY!