Hello, and Happy Monday. I hope your weekend treated you well. I know I enjoyed mine because it started with me waking up at 6 a.m. on Saturday to watch Aston Villa play soccer, and unlike what has happened the previous 134 times I've woken up that early on a Saturday to watch Aston Villa, they won this time! I didn't know it was possible..
Anyway, that kick-started a Saturday filled with a lot of fun college football action, and then on Sunday, I was so busy with work -- it's coach firing season! -- that I barely had time to notice all my NFL bets losing. Seriously, though, if you followed my advice from Friday and took the Falcons over 24.5 points, you're as confused as I am, right? They scored 17 points in the first half! It was in the bag! And then they never scored again against a defense that's been bleeding points to every offense it faced all season long.
Oh well, at least by the time I could settle in and watch the Sunday night game, the Bills covered for us. We've got another primetime game tonight, and as you'll soon see, I'm excited about it. But before we get to tonight's picks, we should catch up on everything we might have missed today.
- Vanderbilt has its new coach. Sadly, it is not a coach who will run an option offense.
- The College Football Playoff sold us a false bill of goods.
- James Harden still wants to be traded.
- Gary Parrish hates your favorite team more than ever.
And now we do what so few before us have done willingly and head to Cleveland.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Ravens at Browns, 8:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Under 46 (-110): There is a lot about tonight's Monday Night Football game that I like, and I'm going full-steam ahead on it. Of every play available to us tonight, the under is my favorite. It's almost a perfect storm of the things I look for when it comes to the under. First of all, it's a divisional matchup, and divisional games tend to be lower-scoring because the two teams are familiar with one another. The trend only grows stronger when it's the second time those teams have faced one another that season, which is the case here.
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Then there's the weather. Tonight's forecast in Cleveland is calling for it to be Cleveland in December. There will be 15+ mph winds blowing through FirstEnergy Stadium, and I've repeatedly told you about the impact the wind can have on football games. It makes it harder to throw deep passes, and it wreaks havoc on special teams. All of which leads to fewer points being scored. Finally, the cherry on top of this under sundae (Undae?) is that Bill Vinovich is the head official tonight. We are going to see some holding calls tonight, kids.
Key Trend: The under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's all-time No. 1 expert Mike Tierney entered this season up $3,704 on all NFL picks and is 17-7 in his last 24 spread picks involving Baltimore.
💰 More Monday Night Football Picks
The Pick: 1st Half Under 22.5 (-110) -- I told you I'm going full-steam ahead on this game tonight, and that includes doubling-down on the under in the first half. This play makes sense for all the same reasons it makes sense to take the full-game under. Also, for whatever it's worth to you, while these are two of the best first-half offenses in the NFL, they're two of the better first-half defenses.
Baltimore ranks third in the league, allowing only 9.6 points per game before halftime. Cleveland allows 11.2 points in the first half, which has them in a tie for 10th in the NFL. While Baltimore's defense maintains that level in the second half, the Browns defense falls off a cliff after halftime (15.5 points per game, which ranks 30th). That's something to consider if you're thinking about taking the second-half under too (or the Ravens second half).
Key Trend: The under is 19-7 in Cleveland's last 26 games as a home dog.
The Pick: Kareem Hunt to score a TD (+163) -- The Browns use both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, which would typically be frustrating to fantasy owners, but has proven to be a good split for owners of each. What we should be more concerned about tonight, however, is which backs get the touches in the red zone.
Nick Chubb is priced at -110 to score a touchdown tonight. He's rushed for six touchdowns this season, and Hunt has only four. Hunt's the much better value, though, because he has 35 red zone rushing attempts this season. Chubb has only 21. In the passing game, the disparity is even more significant. Hunt has been targeted eight times in the red zone and has caught six passes and scored four touchdowns. Nick Chubb hasn't been targeted a single time in the red zone. In fact, the only Browns player to be targeted more often in the red zone is Jarvis Landry. In other words, Hunt is the team's red zone option. He's the best value to get a touchdown tonight.
Key Trend: Kareem Hunt leads Cleveland with eight touchdowns from scrimmage this season.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Projection Model has revealed its top prop bet picks for Ravens vs. Browns on Monday Night Football.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Your MVP or Captain
Lamar Jackson -- Like I said last week when the Ravens were playing Dallas, Lamar isn't the same player he was last season, but he was the best bet in that game. It worked out well then, and it'll likely work out that way again tonight. Jackson threw for two touchdowns and rushed for a third last week, and finished with 94 yards rushing. I won't be shocked if he has a similar game tonight. Plus, let's not forget that Jackson threw for 275 yards and three scores in the first meeting.
Harrison Bryant -- With Browns tight end Austin Hooper not expected to play tonight, that opens the door for Bryant to see more action. Baker Mayfield isn't afraid to use his tight ends, and Bryant has been the more popular tight end option behind David Njoku for the Browns this season. He has 23 targets compared to Njoku's 15, though Bryant's played in three more games. If Hooper does play, I'd pivot to Baltimore's Devin Duvernay. He only needs one play to make something big happen.
Full lineup advice
SportsLine's team of DFS insiders has you covered for daily fantasy sports. Mike McClure has won almost $2 million playing DFS, and Jacob Gibbs was ranked as one of the nation's most accurate Fantasy experts last year. Plus, use SportsLine's all-new DFS Optimizer to get optimal NFL DFS picks from 10,000 simulations.
🏀 College Basketball Parlay
A three-leg parlay paying +361
- Radford -220
- San Diego +145
- Creighton -340