Monday Night Football features the New Orleans Saints on the road against the Seattle Seahawks to finish up what has been an exciting Week 7 in the NFL.
Our team of experts at VSiN has the game covered from all angles, with a market report from South Point oddsmaker Chris Andrews, along with picks on the game from VSiN's Matt Youmans, Dave Tuley and Adam Burke.
New Orleans Saints (-4, 42) at Seattle Seahawks
Market report from Chris Andrews: Very good two-way action at my opening line of New Orleans -4.5. We have a fairly even ticket count. The money’s pretty even, too. The line could move between now and kickoff, but I have no idea which way. There probably won’t be a bandwagon effect for Geno Smith at QB for the Seahawks. New Orleans lost outright as favorites to the Giants and Carolina. People are always going to bet MNF no matter the matchup. Allegiances may stay split at 4.5 all the way until kickoff. I opened the total at 44.5. Strong Under support drove it straight to 43.5. They kept betting Under, so I dropped to 43. Not much action since the move to 43. Under money stopped, but no buy back yet on the Over.
Youmans: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has made it clear his offensive plan for this game is to pound the rock. Seattle needs to run the ball and sustain drives to keep its weak defense off the field.
In other words, Carroll is not going to let Geno cook. In Russell Wilson’s absence, Geno Smith has played well enough to give the Seahawks a chance to win two games, but Smith came up short as he typically does. The Seahawks will use a combination of four running backs (Alex Collins, DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer, Rashaad Penny) to help Smith’s cause.
It’s tough to nail down the identity of the Saints, who are as volatile as their quarterback, Jameis Winston. New Orleans has three impressive wins yet also two poor performances in losses to the Giants and Panthers. I consider this line to be inflated by 1.5 points and will side with a desperate home dog that has lost four of the past five.
Pick: Seahawks + 4
Tuley: It was an ugly game, but the Seahawks covered for us Sunday night in their 23-20 overtime loss at Pittsburgh after falling behind 14-0. But while it seemed everyone was calling for a Steelers blowout with Seattle losing Wilson, Smith did enough to rally the Seahawks for the cover, just as he nearly did against the Rams the week before. I understand the Saints being favored Monday night, but I don’t believe it should be by more than a field goal. The Saints are coming off their bye week, but the last time we saw them they were also losing 23-20 to the same Steelers team. How is this line not closer to pick-em?
Pick: Seahawks + 4
Burke: The Seahawks got a boost on Sunday with the announcement that Collins would be good to go with the groin injury that had him listed as questionable on the injury report. Collins had 20 carries for 101 yards in the overtime loss to the Steelers last week.
Collins was out there for 39 offensive snaps, which accounted for 60 percent of the Seahawks’ offensive plays. He had 20 carries and 21 total touches. With Wilson out, Seattle has been forced to find other ways of moving the football and Collins seems to be a big part of that game-plan. With Chris Carson sidelined, Collins has assumed the role of the primary back. Other guys like Homer and Dallas seem like they’ll be used more on passing downs.
Collins has 35 carries over the last two games and should get a steady workload here as well. His yardage prop is pretty low at 44.5, given that he’s likely to get at least 12-15 carries, if not more, depending on the game state for the Seahawks here.
With Carroll not wanting to put the ball in Smith’s hands too much, you have to think Collins has the volume and should be able to get over this number.
Pick: Alex Collins Over 44.5 Rushing Yards (-120)