Monday night will present us a moment I wasn't sure I was ever going to see: There will be an NFL game played in Las Vegas, and it won't be a neutral site preseason game or some weird special event. It'll be a home game for the Las Vegas Raiders.
While it feels like the Raiders' decision to move to Las Vegas from Oakland happened a long time ago, I still find myself shaking my head at how quickly the gambling landscape has changed in the world of sports. It wasn't that long ago that sports betting was something that was whispered about in the shadows, even though everybody who cared about sports knew it was going on. Now I can't watch a game without seeing gambling ads on the field or the players' jerseys. It's everywhere. It's even in your inbox right now. You're literally reading it! It's great!
But tonight feels like a culmination of it all, as an NFL team now resides in Las Vegas and will play its first game there in a brand new stadium. We can finally come out of the shadows and acknowledge it and each other. While maintaining proper social distancing, of course.
Elsewhere, everybody you drafted in the first round of your fantasy league is hurt:
- Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey is expected to be out "multiple weeks."
- The NFL is going to investigate the MetLife Stadium turf after a rash of injuries during the Jets/49ers game.
- You definitely need to pick up an RB on the waiver wire this week, so read this first.
- MLB and the MLBPA are donating $10 million to The Players Alliance.
Done reading those stories? Good, let's go make some money.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🏆 The Hot Ticket
🏈 Saints vs. Raiders, 8:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Saints Under 27.5 points (-120): I don't have a great feel for how this game will shake out as a final, but I'm confident that the Saints offense will struggle. The reason is how Drew Brees played in the team's opener against Tampa Bay last week. We'd already seen a decline begin in his arm strength in recent seasons, as his passes became shorter and shorter. His air yards (the number of yards past the line of scrimmage a pass traveled to its intended target) had declined from 7.1 per attempt in 2018 to 6.4 last season. Against Tampa, Brees' passes averaged 4.5.
What was even more concerning was how uncomfortable he looked in the pocket. Maybe it was a lack of preseason action, or perhaps we're seeing the beginning of the end of an all-time great player. Whatever it is, I'm not confident it'll look that much better on Monday night without his favorite target in Michael Thomas available. The Saints might win, and they might cover, but they won't score many points while doing it.
Key Trend: The Saints are 35-16 ATS in their last 51 road games.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: Thankfully, while I don't have a play on the spread I like a whole lot, SportsLine's Advanced Computer Model does.
🏒 NHL | Today's full schedule
Lightning vs. Stars, 8 p.m | TV: NBC Sports Network
The Pick: Under 5 (+110) -- The Lightning enter Monday night needing a win if they want to avoid falling in an 0-2 hole in the series, and -- SPOILER ALERT -- going down 0-2 in the Stanley Cup Final is not a good thing to do. What I like in this game is the total. The Lightning were struggling to score before this series and, after the 4-1 loss in Game 1, have scored only four goals in their last three games. Meanwhile, Stars goalie Anton Khudobin has been out of his mind during the playoffs, stopping everything. I expect a low-scoring, tense affair.
Key Trend: The under is 4-0-2 in Dallas' last six, and 3-1-2 in Tampa's.
⚾ MLB | Today's full schedule
White Sox at Indians, 6:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Under 8 (-115) -- The White Sox have clinched a playoff spot, but are still trying to win the AL Central. The Indians are looking good for a wild card, but don't have it wrapped up yet. I have a slight lean toward the Indians on the money line because the White Sox will likely be without Tim Anderson, and he's the spark plug of their offense, but I like the under more than anything. While starters Aaron Civale and Dane Dunning aren't household names, both have been excellent additions to their team. Also, these two have played six games this season, and the average number of runs scored in those games has been 6.3, with only one of them going over eight. And that game required extra innings to get there.
Key Trend: The under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings.
Rays at Mets, 6:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Rays (+170) -- Longtime readers of the week-old PM version of this newsletter know that we fade Jacob deGrom. Well, thanks to the NL East being pretty dang mediocre, we haven't had many chances to do it with good teams in 2020. Tonight is our chance! The Rays have the best record in the American League and are looking to wrap up the AL East. They've won seven of their last 10 while the Mets have dropped five of eight and are fading from the playoff picture. Any time the best team in the game is an underdog, you want to be on that dog.
Key Trend: Operation #FadeGrom is 37-36 (+17.37 units) since 2018
SportsLine lock of the day: The SportsLine Projection Model is heavily favoring one side of Stars vs. Lightning in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Kris Bryant, 3B ($2.8K FD/$4.0K DK) - I like Bryant more on FanDuel than DraftKings, but he's an excellent buy-low option tonight on a limited slate. His matchup with Pirates starter J.T. Brubaker is promising, and Bryant's showing signs of getting hot. He's averaging 10.8 FanDuel points per game in his last five starts, and he'll likely be at the top of the Cubs lineup. He'll provide good value while allowing you to save money so you can shoehorn Jacob deGrom into your lineup.
Ronald Acuna, OF ($4.5K FD/$5.9K DK) - If you're doing multiple lineups, you should have Acuna in at least one of them, but I wouldn't make him a focal point of anything you're doing on Monday. His matchup against Miami's Trevor Rogers isn't great, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish the night hitless. Let others spend up on him while you find better value elsewhere.
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 is one of the top MLB DFS experts anywhere. Check out his MLB picks here, and be sure to see what he's picking for NBA DFS here too. Use SportsLine's all-new DFS Optimizer to get optimal NFL DFS picks from 10,000 simulations.
⚾ Stack Attack
Every day during the MLB season we're going to pick a pitcher to attack by taking home run props on several different players from the same team. Tonight we are attacking Pittsburgh Pirates starter, J.T. Brubaker.
These are the three HR props we want to take tonight:
- Ian Happ +275
- Anthony Rizzo +350
- Kris Bryant +450