Our best bets for NFL's Monday Night Football doubleheader

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

September 19, 2022 07:37 AM
USATSI_19032079

A Monday night doubleheader closes out another dramatic week in the NFL.

Here are the VSiN staff best bets for the final night of Week 2.

Odds are from DraftKings as of Sunday night.

Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills (-10, 48)

Monday, 7:15 p.m. ET

Brady Kannon: This is my top “Overreaction Week” game. The Bills looked like world-beaters in the NFL opener Sept. 8. The Titans squandered a 13-0 halftime lead and lost outright as 5.5-point home favorites in Week 1.

This line over the summer was Bills -7.5. Now it's 10. 

For three straight seasons, the Titans have won 11 games and made the playoffs. I’ve never loved the Titans — for as long as I can remember — but they aren’t horrible and they've beaten the Bills outright as underdogs in their last two meetings. So they should be ready for the spotlight of “Monday Night Football.” In fact, they are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games on Monday night.

Some stats from Playbook Sports’ Marc Lawrence, a contestant in Matt Youmans’ Circa Invitational Contest, that I believe say a lot about Overreaction Week: “NFL teams coming off of a double-digit victory in Week 1 are 17-37-2 ATS when facing an opponent coming off of a straight-up loss as a favorite — including 4-16 ATS as a non-division favorite.”

So it’s a team that won impressively in Week 1 versus a team that was supposed to win and lost. One team is being elevated too high in the market while the other is being downgraded too low. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. I think the Titans will stay inside of double digits.

Pick: Titans + 10

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5, 50)

Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Adam Burke: The initial returns for Kevin O’Connell were very high after a 23-7 win over the Packers in Week 1. The Vikings failed to capitalize on two of their three red-zone chances, but they racked up 6.5 yards per play and Justin Jefferson was impossible to cover. O’Connell moved one of the league’s best route runners all over the formations and it led to nine catches for 184 yards for Jefferson. Teams are going to have a hard time with the Vikings’ new scheme and the weapons at Kirk Cousins’ disposal. Minnesota methodically marched down the field on its scripted drive to start the game and had another strong, sustained drive in the two-minute drill.

The Eagles offense was flying in the team’s 38-35 win over the Lions. Jalen Hurts showed his dual-threat capabilities, and the trade for A.J. Brown paid immediate dividends. Philadelphia made five trips to the red zone, where a mobile QB can be an even greater weapon, and scored touchdowns on four of those five red-zone chances. 

The Eagles had a big lead before the Lions scored touchdowns on three of their four possessions in the second half. This Philadelphia defense is decent, but Detroit had five plays of 20 yards or more (the Vikings had six through the air against a very solid Packers defense). 

This total has jumped up a little, but with two creative play-callers and some strong skill-position talent in this game, the Over seems like the right play. 

Pick: Over 50

Danny Burke: How about them Vikings? More importantly, how about the organization, dominance and success of their offense? Outside of Vikings fans, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger supporter of the franchise’s acquisition of coach Kevin O’Connell than myself. 

Adding an offensive-minded coach to a team that already had all of the necessary pieces just made too much sense. I loved it enough to make a season win-total bet on the Vikings and a Coach of the Year bet on O’Connell, and I’m quite fond of the Vikings on Monday night as well. 

I get it, I get it — it’s one game. But when you set the bar as high on the Vikings as I did in the preseason, it’s not an overreaction, it’s a confirmation. Their offense could be one of the best in the NFL, and I don’t believe it slows down against an Eagles team that almost blew a 31-14 lead in the second half against the Lions. 

Now, let’s not totally dismiss the Eagles. Their offense looked smooth, racking up 38 points in the opener. The weapons they added offensively and the elusiveness of Jalen Hurts are alluring, but there’s something holding me back from being all-in on the Eagles. Maybe it’s that we haven’t seen Hurts have success against a top opponent, or while trailing. Maybe it’s understanding the jury is still out on Nick Sirianni, as well as their defense as a whole. But, honestly, it’s really just this matchup. The Vikings seem to have unlimited resources on the offensive side of the ball, so even if their defense gets exposed, they can easily keep up. 

I envision a higher-scoring game, as do a lot of bettors considering we saw a spike in the total from 49 up to 51.5 (now 50 at DraftKings). As good as the Vikings defense looked in Week 1, limiting AR12 to seven points was an anomaly. And Philly should have no issues producing points against a defense that should be the weaker side of the ball for Minnesota. 

If you don’t have as much conviction early on with the Vikings, I understand. In that case, consider teasing up Minnesota past 7. Remember last year? I’m sure you do. I wrote about it last week and that’s what made them such an attractive teaser leg. Look to do the same this week, and look for points to be flying in the City of Brotherly Love.

Pick: Over 44/Vikings + 8.5 Teaser 

Josh Appelbaum: Early in the week, it appeared sharps were siding with the Vikings, as we saw Minnesota move from + 3 down to + 1.5. However, when betting the NFL, it’s important to not lock yourself into a play too early. Why? Because things can evolve over the course of a full week. 

Once this line bottomed out at Eagles -1.5, we saw sharps buy back hard at a deflated price, driving the line back up to -2.5. To put it another way, all late movement is going back toward Philadelphia. 

The Vikings have become a popular and trendy dog, with 67% of the bets at DraftKings taking the points after the team’s impressive win over the Packers. Wise guys like dogs when they’re gross and unpopular. When they become trendy, pros look to fade them. 

In addition, the Eagles are only receiving 33% of the bets but 79% of the money, a massive sharp-bet discrepancy. I’ll be backing the contrarian home favorite and fading the trendy dog. 

Pick: Eagles ML -135

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