While this was normally a tradition for the first week of the season, NFL Week 2 offers us a Monday Night Football double-header that should get your blood pumping no matter how your bets went on Sunday. The first game gives us an NFC South rivalry in which Derek Carr and the New Orleans Saints head to Carolina to face Bryce Young and the Panthers at 7:15pm ET on ESPN. Then, just one hour later, we get Nick Chubb and the Cleveland Browns heading out for a big NFC North rivalry game as they take on Kenny Pickett and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though the game-total doesn’t reflect it, we could see some high-flying action with the first game, but the second profiles as some good, old-fashioned smash mouth football, so you better get your tablets or smartphones or your picture-in-picture fired up. Now the only question is, how are we betting these games? We have two Monday Night home underdogs here and while usually that was a trend….or should I say, myth…bettors would usually follow, recent statistics do not point towards any legitimate correlation. So, let’s just break things down and see.



NFL Best Bets and Player Props for NFL Week 2 Monday Night Football

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers:

Spread: Saints -3

NFL Week 2 can be a tough one, simply because we only have one week’s worth of data to follow. The Saints, unsurprisingly, struggled to run the football against the Titans but they also had trouble scoring through the air as well. Derek Carr threw for 305 yards with a touchdown, so there is definite promise for this game, especially with Carolina losing CB Jaycee Horn already. They will try to establish the run after watching the Falcons carve up the Panthers on the ground in Week 1 and that should help open the passing game. If Carr can connect with his weapons, then they should have a solid, balanced attack. The Panthers will try to run with Miles Sanders but they’ll likely find more success in the passing game. New Orleans ranks 24th in DVOA against running back pass-plays and the expectation is that Carolina will be behind early and forced to throw. Will they be successful? That’s a pretty tough Saints secondary. Pick: Saints -3

Total: 39.5

When the game total is this low and the spread is short, it usually signifies a really tight game or one team really beating up the other. The Saints have solid firepower both on the ground and through the air and while the Panthers defense is probably better than what we saw last week against Atlanta, this is still a team in transition and not likely going to hold the Saints to under 20 points. That means, for the over to hit, the Panthers need to come close to 20 as well and I’m just not sure that’s happening this week. Pick: Under

Player Props:

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Spread: Browns -2

This is going to be a hard-hitting, emotional battle between these two teams as the Browns look to go 2-0 and push the Steelers down further to where the Bengals are right now. Divisional games are always tight and while the Browns are 40-29-1 all-time on the road in Pittsburgh, they are just 18-25-1 against the spread. Tonight’s action is going to come down to how well the Steelers stop the run. Nick Chubb is an absolute beast and is coming off a 106- yard effort. The Steelers got carved up by Christian McCaffrey in Week 1, so they are looking to try and dominate the line of scrimmage. Can they? Maybe? Will they? Hard to tell. The Browns passing attack takes a hit with Amari Cooper likely out for this game. The lean will be on Elijah Moore, but the Steelers are going to have lesser talent to be wary of as they will also likely focus on stuffing the run. For Pittsburgh, expect to see a heavy does of Najee Harris early, but in the end, I think Kenny Pickett is forced to take it to the air, even without Diontae Johnson. Calvin Austin and Allen Robinson are going to have to step it up as we expect the Browns to focus on shutting down George Pickens and even Pat Freiermuth. It’s going to be a close one, but I like the home vibes for the Steelers. Pick: Steelers +2

Total: 38

As stated up above, when the spread is this short and the total is this low, there is usually a lean to the under. However, at some point, I can see both teams throwing some haymakers and pushing this to something more like a 21-20 game. The heavy ground attack from both teams should help chew up most of the clock, but in the end, some mistakes will be made and this score should move to a number a little higher than what Vegas has right now. Pick: Over

Player Props:

**all lines & odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook