Week 1 is almost over, but not before the annual Monday Night Football doubleheader. The Steelers and Giants get things started before a nightcap of the Titans-Broncos. Both games feature unique betting opportunities, both for and against the favorites.
All data presented is as of Monday afternoon. You can track all NFL line movement on BetQL’s Line Movement Dashboard.
MNF DFS: TEN-DEN DK Showdown picks | PIT-NYG DK Showdown picks | DK MNF Lineup picks
7:15 PM EST: Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5 @ New York Giants O/U: 47.5
Last season, the Steelers were one of the more interesting teams to watch, as franchise quarterback Ben Rothlisberger played just one game, a 33-3 loss to the Patriots. In his absence and under the helm of subpar quarterbackw Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges, the team missed the playoffs, finishing just 8-8 with 18.6 points per game (27th worst in the NFL). With the return of Rothlisberger, we can certainly expect an upturn from the Steelers offensively. In the offseason, the Steelers made a key addition of Eric Ebron to upgrade their tight end position and passing game as a whole. Additionally, with the development of Diontae Johnson and presence of JuJu Smith-Schuster the Steelers’ offense should be capable of scoring more than 18.6 points per game.
While we expect the Steelers to improve offensively, the reason they finished 8-8 last season was solely because of their elite defense. The addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick and emergence of TJ Watt as defensive stars revolutionized the defense that allowed just 18.3 points per game (top five in the NFL). Not only do the Steelers have defensive star power, but they also have great all-around talent from the likes of Cam Heyward, Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and sophomore Devin Bush. The stout defense of last year’s team, which was just 4-12 against the OVER, should only improve as we enter the 2020 season. With the total being set as high as 47.5, it would be smart to look at the UNDER.
As for the Giants, in 2019 they finished just 4-12; however, the potential from their young core was certainly there. Under the leadership of rookie Daniel Jones and with the multiple-game absence of star Saquon Barkley, the Giants were able to average 21.6 points per game. This number should definitely increase in ’20 due to the development of Jones as a second-year passer and the health of Barkley. The constant big-play potential from Barkley and the 4.4 speed from the young receiving core of Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram poses a threat to the Steelers’ tough defense.
Defensively is where the Giants struggled most in 2019, giving up an average of 27.8 points per game (third worst in the NFL). The offseason hiring of former Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge as head coach should help to improve the defense. Additionally, we can expect the run defense to improve with the presence of Leonard Williams and other tough run-stoppers. As for the secondary, the additions of Xavier McKinney and James Bradberry should add versatility and better coverage to the defense, capable of containing the Steelers receiving core.
Despite going 4-12, the Giants played better against the spread in 2019, going 7-9; however, when playing as home underdogs they were 0-5. Conversely, the Steelers, who went 8-8 last season, were 9-7 against the spread. The most intriguing trend may be that Mike Tomlin and the Steelers are just 26-37 against the spread as road favorites like they are in this matchup. According to BetQL’s NFL Picks data, the Giants have a 33.5-percent chance of winning with a projected final score of a 24-20 Steelers win. Furthermore, there are 98 percent of tickets with 72 percent of the money on the Steelers, so the Giants +5.5 would not only agree with the BetQL data, but also fades the NFL public betting.
MNF INJURY UPDATES: Golden Tate | Courtland Sutton
10:10 PM EST: Tennessee Titans +1 @ Denver Broncos O/U: 41
In 2019, we saw the emergence of the Titans as a possible threat in the AFC, as they knocked out the Ravens in the Divisional Round. They also had a 10-point lead on the Super Bowl Champions in the AFC Championship. The 2019 season established Ryan Tannehill as not only a competent starter in the NFL, but also exactly what this team needs. He gets just enough done in the passing game with the help of A.J. Brown to supplement the high usage of Derrick Henry late in the season. Last season, the Titans averaged 25 points per game and 143.5 rushing yards per game due to Henry’s insane 4.2 yards after contact per carry.
Defensively the Titans were solid in 2019, giving up an average of just 19.8 points per game. Tennessee was great on the defensive line with the acquisition of Cameron Wake and emergence of young player Jeffery Simmons. As for linebackers, Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown were crucial for stopping the run. The secondary is where the team shined the brightest, with Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro dominating at safety and Logan Ryan leading the defensive backs. The good defense and slow offense from the Titans set the totals particularly lower allowing them to go 11-8 against the over.
On the other side of the ball, the Broncos struggled early; however, the rise of rookie Drew Lock allowed them to finish 7-9. In 2019, Vic Fangio’s Broncos were nothing impressive offensively, averaging just 17.7 points per game, one of the worst in the league. This offseason, the Broncos have done everything to improve offensively and encourage the development of Lock, who went 4-1 in 2019. Returning from last year are Phillip Lindsay, Cortland Sutton, and Noah Fant. What’s even more exciting are the offseason additions of Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler. We’ll see if Lock is truly the future in Denver, as he has been given nearly everything to succeed in his sophomore campaign.
On the defensive side, the Broncos were great in 2019, giving up just 20.1 points per game. The departure of Chris Harris Jr. could definitely hurt; however, the team still has a solid pass rush. As for the secondary, the Broncos hope A.J. Bouye can fill the footsteps of Harris Jr., but with Justin Simmons at the helm we can expect them to remain solid.
In 2019, the Broncos and Titans were essentially even against the spread, going 9-7 and 10-8-1, respectively. With just a one-point spread in favor of the Broncos, this game is essentially a pick ’em. In his time with the Titans, Mike Vrabel is 20-15 against the moneyline in all games for an impressive 11-unit profit and 31.4-percent ROI. According to BetQL’s Best Bet data, the Titans have a 47.9-percent chance of winning with a projected final score of 21-20.5. Despite a majority of tickets being bet on the Titans and pro money advantage for the Broncos, BetQL data is giving a two-star rating to Titans +1.
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