Monday Night Football Preview

Seahawks at 49ers

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 Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers will face off at Levi’s Stadium for a Week 10 NFC West showdown on Monday night. The game will mark the 42nd meeting in a series that the Seahawks lead, 25-16. The most recent game between the teams unfolded in Week 15 of the 2018 season at Levi’s, a contest the 49ers won by a 26-23 score in overtime.

MNF odds and analysis

78% of tickets and 76% of money bet on Seattle Seahawks at FanDuel Sportsbook

The 49ers opened as 5.5-point favorites on FanDuel Sportsbook late last week, and that number has actually been bet up a full point since then. Both teams were victorious in close calls in Week 9. San Francisco kicked off the ledger with a 28-25 win over the Cardinals last Thursday night. While the final score wasn’t indicative of how close the game really was – a late Andy Isabella 88-yard touchdown reception brought the Cardinals’ within three points late – new Arizona running back Kenyan Drake did expose some cracks in the Niners’ previously impenetrable armor by eclipsing the 100-yard mark on the ground.

The Seahawks also squeezed out a six-point overtime win against the Buccaneers and continued to both score and give up plenty of points. Seattle is now allowing 380.8 passing yards per contest, including 278.1 per contest through the air. Given that San Francisco has begun to show a little more potency in the passing game with the arrival of Emmanuel Sanders, it appears bettors feel the Niners – which also will be playing with a rest advantage — will eventually be able to separate enough from Seattle to score a win of at least a touchdown.

The projected point total appears to strike a balance between the offensive talent on both clubs and the 49ers’ usual defensive dominance. San Francisco is going to likely have a hard time exerting its will on Russell Wilson and company in the same manner they’ve been able to do against lesser squads. However, given their standing as one of the league’s elite units, there’s a good chance Seattle falls under its 27.6 points per game average.

49ers vs. Seahawks game matchup

As alluded to earlier, the Seahawks once again utilized their offensive muscle to overcome their defensive deficiencies in the Week 9 overtime win against the Buccaneers. Tellingly, Seattle has scored 21 points or more in all but one game this season, while also giving up at least 20 points all but one contest. The one game in which they failed to reach that 21-point threshold, a 30-16 home loss to the Ravens in Week 7, one that could give Pete Carroll in his staff some concern as they prepare for this matchup.

Not that Baltimore’s defense is near the caliber of what it’s been in recent seasons – however, it’s arguably the closest, perhaps outside of the Saints, Seattle has faced this season. In that game, the Ravens notably held Wilson to his lowest completion percentage of the season (48.8) and passer rating (65.2) of the season while also goading him into his one and only interception of 2019. The game also marked one of only two this season in which Wilson was held to a single touchdown pass. Then, running back Chris Carson was also held to a modest 65 yards on 21 carries.

The bad news for the Seahawks is the 49ers’ unit is the Ravens defense turned up several notches. San Francisco is allowing an NFL-low 241.0 yards per game, including an absurdly meager 138.1 passing yards per contest. While their focus on getting to the quarterback – the Niners check in with the third-most sacks (30) – has led to an occasional breakdown on run defense, it’s not as if teams are making a living on the ground versus San Fran (102.8 rushing yards allowed per contest), either.

On the other side, Seattle has to be concerned about defending a burgeoning 49ers passing attack. Sanders has secured 11 of 14 targets for 137 yards and two touchdowns in two games with San Francisco while learning the playbook on the fly. After all, Sanders had to suit up for that pair of contests over his first nine days with the team. He’s now had extra time to absorb the playbook over the last 10 days and could therefore be even more effective. Jimmy Garoppolo has averaged at least 8.0 yards per attempt in back-to-back games for the first time in the two games Sanders has been with the team, while also putting up his two best completion percentages (81.8 and 75.7) of the season in those contests.

KEY MATCHUP: Seahawks’ running game vs. 49ers’ front seven. The one hope for sustained offensive continuity for Seattle is likely going to be a balanced attack. If Carson can keep the chains moving (and stay away from the fumbles that have plagued him), the Niners’ pass rush will have less of a chance to key on getting after Wilson. Conversely, if the Seahawks are forced into being one-dimensional, it could certainly be a long night.

MNF betting breakdown

The Seahawks lead the all-time series between the teams, 25-16. Seattle had won 10 straight games in the series dating back to a January 2014 playoff game before the 49ers notched the aforementioned 26-23 overtime victory last December.

The Seahawks are 4-5 (44.4 percent) against the spread this season, including 3-1 (75.0 percent) as an away team. Then, the Over is 5-4 (55.6 percent) in the Seahawks’ games this season, including 2-2 (50.0 percent) in their away games.

The 49ers are 5-3 (62.5 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-1 (66.7 percent) as a home team. Then, the Over is 3-5 (37.5 percent) in the 49ers’ games this season, including 1-2 (33.3 percent) in their home games.

49ers vs. Seahawks picks and predictions

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

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.”