Skip to content

Monday Night Football matchups will have future divisional implications

Justin K. Aller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It's hard to imagine this early in the season, but all six divisional games each team plays have playoff implications at stake - especially for the AFC North and NFC South, two divisions expected to have close finishes.

Monday night's doubleheader showcases two divisional matchups with the Saints at Panthers and Browns at Steelers.

For a more traditional breakdown of the games and some best bets, check out Matt Russell's piece.

Saints @ Panthers (+3), 39.5, 7:15 ET

The NFC South is one of football's weaker divisions. Last year, the Buccaneers won the division with a losing record (8-9) and it could be a similar situation this year.

The Saints opened the season as the favorites, and remain so, despite the Falcons and Bucs' surprising starts.

NFC South Odds

Team Odds
Saints +125
Falcons +170
Bucs +450
Panthers +1200

The Falcons and Bucs are both 2-0 with some impressive showings, despite perceived quarterback uncertainty prior to the season.

The Falcons already have a head start in the division race because of their Week 1 win over the Panthers. The Bucs have yet to play a divisional opponent.

The Panthers looked like a team starting a rookie quarterback in their season opener. Bryce Young had moments where he showed why he was selected No. 1 but his inexperience was also evident.

Carolina has the longest odds to win the division right now at 6.5. If the team does come in last place in a developmental season, the other NFC South contenders need to rack up wins in their two games against the Panthers.

That's what the Saints are tasked with Monday night. New Orleans looked impressive in the team's first victory against Denver. Derek Carr was poised and trusted his weapons Chris Olave and Michael Thomas to make plays.

The division favorite will look to build on that performance while Young searches for his first career win.

Carr aired the ball out for 305 yards in the season opener, while Young only had 146. Carr's passing yards line is set at 230.5 for tonight, while Young's is 188.5.

TheScore Bet offers a special for Carr and Young to each record over 274.5 passing yards at +2500 ($10 to win $25). It also offers Carr to throw over 1.5 touchdowns and the Saints to win at +160.

Conversely, there's another special for Young to throw over 1.5 touchdowns and the Panthers to win at +450.

Browns @ Steelers (+2), 37.5, 8:15 ET

Unlike the NFC South, the AFC North is one of the most competitive divisions in football with four teams who all have a legitimate chance at making the playoffs.

The Bengals were the clear favorites to win the division before the action began. However, after an 0-2 start, the Bengals moved to the third spot at +350, swapping with the Browns after Cleveland's Week 1 victory. It should be noted, though, that Cincinnati started 0-2 last season and still won the division and made the AFC title game.

AFC North odds

Team Odds
Ravens +145
Browns +200
Bengals +350
Steelers +750

The Ravens' odds shortened and they became the favorites after a 2-0 start, including a 27-24 win over the Bengals on Sunday.

The Steelers still have the worst odds - and they've lengthened after an ugly season-opening loss to the 49ers.

Pittsburgh can rewrite its narrative and potentially gain some ground in the division race against a Cleveland team that looked unstoppable in Week 1.

The Ravens and Browns already have a head start with 1-0 division records, and the Browns could gain even more ground with a win tonight. However, the line favoring the Browns by only two points suggests Pittsburgh's embarrassing loss and Cleveland's dominant Week 1 performance were more of a fluke than the norm.

Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett struggled in Week 1, throwing for 232 yards and two interceptions. TheScore Bet offers a special for Pickett and Deshaun Watson to each throw over 274.5 passing yards at +2800, which are incredibly long odds considering neither quarterback came close to that last week.

If you think the Steelers will upset the Browns and Pickett will have a bounce-back performance, you can bet on him to throw over 1.5 touchdowns and the Steelers to win at +325.

Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X, formally known as Twitter, @soshtry for more betting coverage.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox