What can we expect from a betting standpoint for Monday night’s games?
Betting analysts Tyler Fulghum, Erin Dolan, Eric Moody,Seth Walder and André Snellings are here to provide their thoughts.
Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise indicated.
Browns (-2, 38) at Steelers. Have you soured on the Steelers after their woeful Week 1, or do you chalk that up as a bad opener against a Niners team that might be the best in the NFL?
Fulghum: I trust Mike Tomlin. The Steelers looked awful, no doubt. The 49ers are my pick to win the Super Bowl, so there’s no shame in losing to them. The shame comes from the fact that they physically dominated that game. That doesn’t fly in Pittsburgh. That doesn’t fly with Mike Tomlin. Somehow, someway, he’ll have this team winning somewhere between 8 and 10 games by the end of the season, no matter what. Mike Tomlin is too good of a head coach.
Walder: Yes, somewhat. I was starting to buy in on the hype of the Steelers’ offense, but we didn’t see any of that in Week 1, and now Pittsburgh is going to be without Diontae Johnson, one of the most underrated receivers in the league. I think this offense will be outmatched by the Cleveland defense.
Cleveland limited the high-flying Bengals offense to 3 points in the opener. Are you buying this Browns defense as one of the best in the NFL after that showing?
Walder: I’ll buy them as, say, a top-seven defense. I think the last game has to be taken with a pretty big grain of salt considering the weather. But at the same time, you look at this defense on paper and you could absolutely imagine them putting it all together and being elite. But I’d still comfortably have the Browns behind the Cowboys, 49ers and Jets without much thought.
Snellings: I don’t think you can take much from last week’s game against the Bengals. Much like last season, Joe Burrow missed the entire preseason with a physical issue and came out in Week 1 with zero timing and a horrible performance. Plus, for whatever reason, the Browns seem to have Burrow’s number more times than not. I do think the Browns are potentially a strong defense, and they should have some success against a Steelers team not operating at full strength either, but I don’t think it should be interpreted that the Browns shut down a high-flying offense and thus are elite. They haven’t faced a strong offense yet, and likely won’t this week either.
Nick Chubb rushed 18 times for 108 yards against the Bengals last week and surpassed 75 yards rushing in 13 of 17 games played last season), including both games against the Steelers. Does that make you feel confident about betting the OVER for his 80.5 rushing yards prop?
Fulghum: I’m confident in Chubb going over that prop. Now that Kareem Hunt is gone, Chubb dominates the usage in the Browns’ backfield. Cleveland has a tremendous run scheme and good offensive line (though it lost Jack Conklin to injury). The Steelers just allowed San Francisco and Christian McCaffrey to run all over them in Week 1, and Cameron Heyward just went on IR. Chubb is a strong play in this matchup.
Dolan: Yes. It’s already being bet up for a reason. Chubb surpassed this mark in Week 1 against the Bengals. I like this even more given that Pittsburgh just allowed Christian McCaffrey to go for 152 rushing yards. It’s worth noting as well that Amari Cooper is questionable for the game, and I believe the Browns will work on running the ball.
Snellings: Yes, I still like him at the 80.5 yard mark it’s climbed to. Chubb is the primary option for the Browns, with a strong rush-blocking offensive line and the lion’s share of the touches. In two games against the Steelers last season, Chubb notched 190 yards on 35 carries, a 5.4 YPC average. He should be able to produce against them on Monday as well, with the volume to potentially start the season with consecutive 100-yard performances.
Moody: Like my colleagues here, I am confident that Chubb will surpass 80.5 rushing yards. In his past five games against the Steelers, he has averaged 83.4 rushing yards per game. Pittsburgh’s run defense is vulnerable without Cameron Heyward.
Saints (-3, 39.5) at Panthers. The Saints are 38-19 ATS on the road since 2016. Did Bryce Young and the new-look Panthers offense show enough in Week 1 against Atlanta (24-10 loss) to make you feel confident that this will be a close game against the Saints?
Dolan: Absolutely not. I think the Saints win and cover on the road. Week 1 was not shocking for the Panthers. The offense struggled as expected and there is no reason to believe that is suddenly going to change. On defense, they held the Falcons to 115 passing yards, but Desmond Ridder was under center. This Panthers defense will now have to face Derek Carr coming off a 305-yard game against the Titans. The Saints have a good enough wideout group to score points against this defense. Plus, the Saints’ defense forced Ryan Tannehill to throw three picks in Week 1 … do we really think Young won’t throw another pick … or maybe two?
Moody: Despite the Panthers being the home team, I do not expect a close game. Young will have a tough time against the Saints’ defense. New Orleans’ offense should also be more polished. The past three Saints wins against the Panthers have come by an average of 14.0 points.
Is there anything else you are playing in this game?
Walder: Alex Highsmith over 0.75 sacks (+145). Since joining the Browns, Deshaun Watson has taken sacks at a very high 9.8% rate. T.J. Watt is the most obvious beneficiary, but the odds aren’t favorable. Highsmith is a good player too, though, and is coming off a 14.5-sack season.
Moody: Nick Chubb over 101.5 rushing+receiving yards. The Browns have a chance to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 1993. In order to exploit a Steelers defense without Heyward, Cleveland should prioritize the battle in the trenches despite losing right tackle Jack Conklin for the season. With Kareem Hunt no longer in Cleveland, Chubb could be used as a receiver more, too. Against the Bengals in Week 1, Chubb rushed for 106 yards and caught four passes for 21 yards. Meanwhile, the Steelers allowed 5.5 yards per rushing attempt to the 49ers last week.
Moody: Rashid Shaheed over 37.5 receiving yards. Shaheed accumulated 99 air yards against the Titans in Week 1, second only to Chris Olave (131). Shaheed also finished with six targets and had an aDOT (average depth of target) of 16.5. Besides running a lot of routes, the Saints want to put the ball in his hands as a receiver, runner and on special teams. Shaheed is one of the league’s fastest players. With a 40-yard dash time of 4.3 seconds, he’s always a threat to score.