Saints-Panthers, Browns-Steelers provide a good MNF doubleheader

By | September 18, 2023

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker TJ Watt (90) leads his team in a big game Monday night against the Browns.  (AP Photo/Matt Durisko, file)

The NFL has changed the Monday night doubleheader formula in recent years, but they seem to like the Week 2 doubleheader.

He returned this season, and the league leaned on interdivision rivalries for its two Monday night games. Let’s take a look at both Monday night games to wrap up a fun Week 2:

Saints (-3) over Panthers

A three-point home underdog in a primetime divisional game will often be an automatic play for me, but I can’t get there with the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina struggled to move the ball in Week 1. It would be easy to blame Bryce Young. While the rookie quarterback wasn’t great, I wonder if the Panthers did enough to surround him with talent. There aren’t many playmakers in this offense. I don’t know how they move the ball consistently against a New Orleans Saints defense that is much better than the Falcons defense that held Carolina to 10 points in the first game.

On the other hand, New Orleans moved the ball well against the Tennessee Titans last week, but didn’t score much. They won, and I think the points will come easier this week, especially with the No. 1 cornerback missing. 1 Jaycee Horn of the Panthers. The Saints could be a good sneak attack with Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Rashid Shaheed and finally Alvin Kamara (suspended four games). Maybe it’s fair to pick a road favorite here, but I’ll take New Orleans.

Steelers (+2) over Browns

This line never made it to Pittsburgh Steelers +3, which could be significant. I got him at +2.5 for the official picks last Thursday and said I hoped he got to a full basket. Given how good the Cleveland Browns were in Week 1 and how bad the Steelers were in the opener, it seemed possible. But it went differently.

I haven’t given up on the fact that the Steelers have been pretty good this season. The San Francisco 49ers beat them in Week 1, but the 49ers could be just as good. And that doesn’t take anything away from the Browns’ Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, but the Bengals looked bad again in Week 2.

The Steelers have two very concerning injuries. Receiver Diontae Johnson and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward will be out, and that’s a big loss on both sides of the ball. However, I have full faith in the Steelers finding a way to avoid an 0-2 start.

Here’s the first look at Monday’s sports betting schedule:

Some MNF props

The prop choices this season have had their ups and downs, but they’re still worth a look.

In the first game, wait for the inactive list to go down 90 minutes before kickoff, but if the Panthers activate DJ Chark, I think he’ll top 26.5 yards. Chark is a great threat that can do this in one move. Someone has to catch passes for the Panthers, and everyone else struggled in Week 1. They might want to see if Chark gives them something on offense. On the other hand, I like Derek Carr on 230.5 passing yards. Assuming the game is competitive, Carr has the weapons to get to 300 for the second straight week.

On the other play, I think Elijah Moore on 41.5 yards is an obvious choice. Amari Cooper is likely to miss this game, and the Browns scored seven goals for Moore last week. This tied Cooper to lead the team. He will be the focal point this week. While the same logic could be given to George Pickens on 42.5 yards with Diontae Johnson out, I favor Pat Freiermuth on 35.5 yards and also Freiermuth +275 at any touchdown time.

MLB with 11 games

There are two weeks until the end of the MLB regular season and some playoff spots are still up for grabs. The Baltimore Orioles have clinched a playoff spot, but there’s still a lot to do. An extra inning win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday allowed them to take a two-game lead in the AL East from that series, but Baltimore must keep winning to keep the Rays at bay. The bad news is that they face the AL West-leading Houston Astros, who lead by just 1.5 games in the division and need to keep winning. The Astros are -160 favorites and I can’t take the Orioles in this game, no matter how good they’ve been to us this season.

What is the best solution?

I’ll keep it simple: Steelers moneyline +110. They are a well-trained team and have a lot of urgency after falling to 0-1. Pittsburgh will avoid an 0-2 start.

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