Monday Night Football Preview

Lions at Packers

Each week, TheLines will provide a daily betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Monday Night Football game. We’ll look at the odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup and providing the week’s best bets.

The Detroit Lions (2-1-1) and Green Bay Packers (4-1) will square off at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in the Week 6 edition of Monday Night Football. The last time the Lions took the field was in Week 4, when they dropped a 34-30 decision to the Kansas City Chiefs at home. Detroit held a 30-27 lead with 2:26 remaining, but Patrick Mahomes led KC on a 13-play, 79-yard march that culminated in a game-winning Darrel Williams one-yard touchdown run.

Meanwhile, the Packers continued their impressive season-opening run with a 34-24 victory over the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Week 5. Aaron Jones set a new career high with four rushing touchdowns as the Pack jumped out to a 31-10 lead before Dallas mounted a second-half comeback that fell short.

MNF odds and analysis

The Packers opened as 5.5-point favorites in the pre-Week 5 line at FanDuel Sportsbook and that number had narrowed a full point a day later. Fast forward a full week, and the line on this game had dropped all the way to Packers -3.5. It’s an interesting development, considering the Lions didn’t do anything to influence the movement since they were off in Week 5.

Meanwhile, the Pack scored a highly impressive 34-24 win on the road against the Cowboys. The fact Detroit is coming off a bye week and has given Green Bay some trouble recently in this series could be playing a part here.

The point total comes off a bit like an underestimation of both teams’ solid offenses and questionable defenses. There are sometimes reduced scoring expectations when two teams that know each other well meet. However, both squads have had trouble slowing down the opposition through both the ground and air at different points. Detroit has surrendered between 24 and 34 points in three of its first four games, while Green Bay has yielded 34 and 24 points in its last pair of contests, respectively.

Packers vs. Lions game matchup

A well-rested Lions squad makes the familiar trip into Green Bay hoping to build on the balanced offense they showed glimpses of prior to their bye. Detroit finally got Kerryon Johnson loose on the ground against a questionable Chiefs run defense in Week 4. Their matchup Monday night is also enticing, given the Packers’ No. 26 ranking against the run. A productive, move-the-chains effort from Johnson will be key to keeping the ball away from Aaron Rodgers.

Matthew Stafford may also catch a bit of a break if some of the injured members of Green Bay’s secondary can’t suit up. Currently, rookie free safety Darnell Savage (ankle) is considered very questionable for the contest and was sporting a walking boot as of Thursday. Backup Will Redmond carries the same designation due to a shoulder injury. Starting cornerback Kevin King is managing both knee and groin injuries. The talented duo of Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay certainly has the ability to wreak havoc against an undermanned secondary. There’s also a chance Danny Amendola makes it back from the chest injury that cost him Week 4. Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson is apparently trending toward returning from his concussion as well.

The Packers will also draw some favorable matchups, however. Detroit has sprung some leaks in the secondary and will come into this game with both cornerback Darius Slay and safety Quandre Diggs managing hamstring injuries. In turn, Green Bay may have a chance of getting Davante Adams back from his toe injury, although that remains firmly up in the air. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is also dealing with calf and hamstring issues, but he has been practicing in limited fashion.

Just as Johnson’s ability to keep the Pack’s defense honest should be pivotal to the Lions’ chances, Jones will play a key role himself, especially if Adams misses again. The third-year back has been a big part of the passing game the last two contests (13 combined receptions). The same could hold true of Rodgers’ No. 1 target is forced to miss a second consecutive game. Detroit has allowed just over five receptions per contest to running backs thus far, leaving Jones in a potentially good spot to thrive as a receiver.

KEY MATCHUP: Lions’ running game vs. Packers’ rush defense. One of the keys to road upsets usually lies in the ability to establish the run successfully. If Johnson can parlay his rested legs into consistent gains, it will undoubtedly make Stafford’s life easier and potentially set up some downfield shots to Jones and Golladay against the Packers’ hurting secondary.

MNF betting breakdown: Lions at Packers

The Lions and Packers meet for the 180th occasion in their long history on Monday night at Lambeau Field. Green Bay owns a 100-72-7 lead in the series, but it’s dropped four consecutive games to Detroit. Last season, the Lions notched a 31-23 win at Ford Field in Week 5 and then logged a 31-0 victory at Lambeau Field in Week 17. However, Aaron Rodgers only played for part of the first quarter before giving way to DeShone Kizer for the rest of the contest.

Through four games, the Lions’ 387.5 yards per game of total offense ranks them 8th. They check in ranked 7th in passing yards per game (267.0) and 13th in rushing yards per contest (120.5). Through five games, the Packers are ranked 25th in total offense (337.2 yards per game). They slot in 15th in passing offense (244.2 yards per game) and 23rd in rushing offense (93.0 yards per game).

On defense, the Lions are ranked 27th with 405.5 total yards allowed per game. The 280.8 passing yards per contest they’re surrendering ties them for 30th in that category, while the 124.8 rushing yards per game they’ve yielded puts them at No. 21. Then, the Packers check in with the 22nd-ranked defense in terms of total yards allowed per game (376.8). The 238.6 passing yards per game they’ve allowed equates to a No. 14 rank, while the 138.2 rush yards per contest they’ve yielded leaves them ranked 26th.

The Lions are 3-1 (75.0 percent) against the spread this season. That includes a 1-1 mark as an away team specifically. Detroit is also 2-4 (33.3 percent) ATS in NFC North matchups since the start of the 2018 season. Zooming out to a longer-term view, the Lions are also 7-3 (70.0 percent) ATS coming out of a bye in the Matthew Stafford era (2009-present).

Then, the Packers are 4-1 (80.0 percent) versus the number in 2019. That includes an 2-1 (66.7 percent) tally as a home team. Green Bay is 3-5 (37.5 percent) ATS in NFC North matchups since the start of the 2018 season, including 2-0 this season.

The Over is 3-1 (75.0 percent) in the Lions’ games this season, including 2-0 in their away games. In turn, the Over is 3-2 (60.0 percent) in the Packers’ games this season, including 2-1 (66.7 percent) in their home games.

Lions vs. Packers picks and predictions

Watch as Matt Brown breaks down this matchup from top to bottom, offering his thoughts on the moneyline, spread and total at PlayPicks.com.

Best MNF betting sites

How to watch Monday Night Football

ESPN holds the rights to Monday Night Football and will cover 17 games from Week 1 through Week 16.

Week 1 sees the Houston Texans take on the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 7:10 p.m. Eastern Monday, Sept. 9. The Denver Broncos will then face the AFC West-rival Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum at 10:20 p.m. Eastern to close the first week of NFL action. Games can be viewed weekly from Sept. 16 through Dec. 23 at 8:15 p.m. Eastern. There is no MNF in Week 17 due to potential playoff implications the following week.

Games can be streamed on the go on ESPN’s website or WatchESPN app with a cable or satellite subscription. Streaming services such as Sling TV also carry ESPN in many of their subscription packages.

Monday Night Football television ratings rebounded in 2018, averaging 11.6 million viewers per game. The number was up eight percent from 2017 and two percent from 2016. It was the most-watched series on Monday nights.

The Los Angeles Rams’ 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11 (Nov. 19) averaged 16.7 million viewers for the highest-rated MNF game in two years.

MNF betting tips

How to bet MNF like a sharp

Monday Night Football can be the most highly-anticipated game of any given week in the NFL throughout the season. The extra day of preparation, media coverage and overall hype brings more attention to every aspect of the game.

As seen with the Rams vs. Chiefs thriller in Week 11 last year, all of this can bring out the best between the two teams. By contrast, the New England Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills 25-6 just three weeks prior. The New Orleans Saints then beat the Carolina Panthers 12-9 in Week 15.

MNF can turn out to be a dud just as easily as the best game of the week. Ten MNF games last season failed to total 50 points, with the Chiefs and Rams each hitting the number on their own. Thirteen games failed to hit 50 points in 2017 and 11 fell below the number in 2016. Pay attention to the numbers surrounding the specific matchup itself, not just the standalone primetime TV spot.

The extra day of rest can allow players to return from injury, but they may also be forcing themselves back to the field before they’re truly healthy due to the added attention on the game. Look at injury reports and have an idea of what kind of a role a star player will be able to handle.

The Monday Night spot can also create discrepancies in how much rest the two teams have had. Taking the most rested team (the one with the longest amount of time since its last game) can often be a good place to find some value at the sportsbooks, especially on the spread.

Never bet a game solely because it’s the final matchup of the week and is the best thing to watch on a Monday Night. Be ready to sit it out completely and wait for next week if there’s no value popping out at books.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Monday Night Football start?

As always, Monday Night Football debuts with a Week 1 doubleheader Monday, Sept. 9. The Texans take on the Saints at 7:10 p.m. Eastern before the Broncos and Raiders hook up in an AFC West rivalry meeting at 10:20 p.m. Eastern.

Every other MNF game from Week 2 through Week 16 will begin at 8:15 p.m. Eastern.

How to stream Monday Night Football?

The ESPN website and WatchESPN app are the easiest options for those with cable or satellite subscriptions. Many streaming services such as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and Hulu include ESPN in most of their plans.

What is the highest-scoring Monday Night Football game ever?

The Rams’ 54-51 victory over the Chiefs in Week 11 of the 2018 season was the highest-scoring MNF game of all time. The 105 combined points topped the 95 points scored by the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins in 1983.

Who are the MNF announcers?

Joe Tessitore took over play-by-play duties from Sean McDonough in 2018 and will return for a second year. Booger McFarland will move from the ‘BoogerMobile’ to the booth as the color commentator, while Jason Witten returned to the Dallas Cowboys to play tight end after one year in the booth.

John Parry takes over as the rules analyst, and Lisa Salters returns as the sideline reporter.

Suzy Kolber appears as a studio host with former players Steve Young, Randy Moss and Louis Riddick.

Who was the original Monday Night Football broadcast crew?

The original MNF broadcast crew on ABC in 1970 was made up of Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Don Meredith. Many cycled through the crew before Al Michaels took over as play-by-play commentator from 1986 through 2005. His color analysts included Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, Boomer Esiason, Dan Fouts, Dennis Miller and John Madden. Mike Tirico assumed play-by-play duties with Tony Kornheiser, Joe Theismann, Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya filling out the crew when ESPN took over the rights in 2006. Jon Gruden replaced Kornheiser in 2009 until he returned to the sidelines as head coach of the Oakland Raiders last season.

Who sings the Monday Night Football theme song?

Country music star Hank Williams Jr. sings the MNF theme titled “All My Rowdy Friends are Here on Monday Night.”