BonusSeeker is making its way through our betting picks for Week 1 of the NFL season, and we've finally reached our Monday Night Football predictions!
As always, we are blessed with two games on the first Monday of the football season as the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the New York Giants for the early game at 7:10 PM EST, while the Tennessee Titans square off against the Denver Broncos in the 10:20 PM EST contest.
Plenty of bettors across several states have been waiting for the opening kickoff of the season and we can be sure online betting sites in PA, NJ, and elsewhere will be busy taking major action on Monday.
Without any more delay, let's check out our Steelers vs. Giants picks before getting to some Titans vs. Broncos predictions for Week 1.
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Week 1 MNF Betting Picks: Steelers vs. Giants Predictions
The Pittsburgh Steelers may be the ones doing the traveling, but they're opening the 2020 NFL season as 5.5-point favorites on BetMGM, with the total set at 47.5 points for Monday night.
Monday Night Football Picks: The Return Of Big Ben
Last season, the Steelers were without the services of Ben Roethlisberger for most of the campaign and still went 8-8 despite all the issues on offense, which included sub-par play from Mason Rudolph and missing starting RB James Conner for six games throughout the season.
The Giants had some bright spots from Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, but a rash of injuries to key offensive players such as TE Evan Engram and a weak defense led to an underwhelming 4-12 mark.
This really is all about Ben returning to shore up a decent offense that combined with a defense that comes back at about the same level as last year, which was ranked third in defensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders.
Pretty simply, the Steelers offense can be middle of the road but will look like all-stars against a weak Giants defense rated 28th in defense DVOA and without much improvement. Before I make my official prediction, here are a few keys to the game for me:
- Steelers D Will Control The Game: Pittsburgh's defense was one of the highest-rated last season. With Daniel Jones leading the league in fumbles last year and a weak offensive line that hasn't been shored up enough, it may be a rough night for his start to his sophomore campaign.
- Ben Has Serious Weapons: Can you believe Big Ben has only played two games without Antonio Brown? Seems like an eternity ago, but when Roethlisberger officially returns, he'll have Juju Smith-Schuster as his primary target along with the talented duo of James Washington and Diontae Johnson.
- Will The Giants Get Out Of Their Own Way?: No. At least not in the first game of this wild season with no preseason and only a few workouts under their belt. Saquon Barkley is the only player to count on, and that's behind a swiss-cheese offensive line that let defenses run roughshod over Danny Dimes and receivers that you read about more on the injury report than in headlines.
The Steelers are -5.5 (-110) at BetMGM and I think that is an easy bet to make with the best value. Pittsburgh should run up the score while keeping the Giants out of the end zone for the most part.
Week 1 MNF Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5 (-110) - Make Week 1 NFL Picks At BetMGM!
Week 1 MNF Betting Picks: Titans vs. Broncos Predictions
In the second Monday Night Football game of Week 1, the Titans travel to Denver as two-point favorites over the Broncos, with the total set pretty low at just 40.5 points going by BetMGM NFL odds.
Monday Night Football Picks: Can The Broncos Count On Their Youth?
Both the Broncos and the Titans were surprises last year, albeit in very different ways. When all seemed lost in Denver, they handed the reins to Drew Lock, who went 4-1 to close out the season and cemented the Lock-to-Sutton combo as one to look out for in the years to come.
The Titans rode on the back of Derrick Henry and continued that through the playoffs, relying on him and a solid defense to oust the Patriots and the heavily-favored Ravens last season before succumbing to the eventual-champion Chiefs.
Both defenses lost key guys whether it was through free agency (Logan Ryan) or injury (Von Miller) but also made enough gains to balance it out again and keep them both in the middle of the pack like they were last year in defense DVOA.
The offensive side of the ball is the key here. The Broncos may struggle a bit with controlling Tennessee's running game and while Derrick Henry may not run for 200+ yards, I doubt he'll be affected by the lack of a preseason and will be ready to truck some folks on the way to paydirt while Ryan Tannehill continues to minimize turnovers and maintain just enough ball control to keep Tennessee on top.
Denver's offense is at a point where it's easy to get caught up in how good they CAN be. Just how good they WILL be is an issue. For all the early success, Lock has only played five games and another question will be the running game, which featured the addition of Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon ater Phillip Lindsay busted out last season.
Before I make my prediction, here are a few keys to the game for me:
- Who Can Provide Consistency In 2020?: Early on, teams will most likely be relying on proven veterans and simplified play-calling to get them through with the absence of the preseason. Looking at Tennessee, they have Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill for that on offense. Broncos? Drew Lock isn't a star yet and neither are any of his targets. Combine that with two unproven rookies at WR and you can see who can be relied on in Week 1.
- Is Drew Lock For Real?: Drew Lock was good last year, but let's put that in context. He had one really good game against the Texans who had a bottom-third defense last year. Otherwise, it was a series of close games against teams who had no motivation to truck over the Broncos and he did just enough to either win or lose a close one. With two more rookies on a young offense overall, it's an uphill battle for him to prove his worth in 2020-2021.
- A Healthy Titans Secondary Equals More Wins: Tennessee was ranked 18th in defense DVOA but a lot of that was due to injuries in the secondary along with a weaker pass rush. They covered the pass rush in the offseason by signing Jadeveon Clowney. Now more than ever after letting Logan Ryan slip, they'll need Malcolm Butler, Adoree' Jackson, Kenny Vaccaro, and Kevin Byard to step up, stay healthy, and keep opposing offenses off the field so the Titans' offense can eat up more clock; something they were near the bottom of the pack in last year.
It comes down to relying on Derrick Henry in Week 1 to rush through a weakened Broncos front seven and Ryan Tannehill to minimize turnovers while the Broncos are primed to turn the ball over early and often without live games to practice with this young cast. It'll be a low-scoring affair but at -2, I think it's a steal to go for the Titans here in the last game of Week 1.
Week 1 MNF Pick: Tennessee Titans -2 (-110) - Make Week 1 NFL Picks At BetMGM!
Monday Night Football Best Bets: Week 1 MNF Picks
- Steelers -5.5 (-110) at BetMGM
- Titans -2.5 (-110) at BetMGM
- Steelers to win by 7-12 points +410 at DraftKings
For more information and advice on pro football wagering, visit our NFL Betting Guide!