Trends and Systems That Can Help Handicap Monday Night Football

Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks to pass in the third quarter. Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images/AFP

The NFL will be kicking off before you know it, and below OddsTrader will discuss how to handicap Monday Night Football a bit more successfully and start the week off by cashing more of our NFL picks!

There are few reasons in the world to look forward to Mondays but from September through December the National Football League gives us a big one – Monday Night Football. After a bevy of NFL games on Sunday, we get one more bite at the apple on Monday night but the trick is to maintain perspective. It’s not a reason to try to make up for all our losses on Sunday or double our money if we had a winning week. It’s just another game on the schedule, albeit a primetime game with lots more eyeballs on it than most.

And that is the rule number one for betting Monday Night Football. Like anything else, don’t overdo it and prohibit yourself from manufacturing opinions on a game that might otherwise be of little or no interest to you in terms of wagering possibilities. You want to bet a few bucks to make things more interesting, then why not? But to place a full unit or more on a game that doesn’t merit that kind of attention is definitely not a good idea. There will always be more games to bet, and this isn’t the last game the NFL will ever play.

Extra Time Favors Better Teams

Great teams are invariably well-coached teams and those are the squads that thrive when having additional time to prepare. It is also one more day for players to get rested and lick their wounds. This doesn’t mean we willy-nilly bet the favorite, because in a game between two lousy teams, one will be installed as the favorite but that doesn’t mean they are a great team, it only means they are better than the one they are playing…on paper at least.

If we check out the 2020 MNF stats we can see that the favorites went 11-5 straight up but were a mere 6-10 ATS in those contests. For those who believe the home team has a big advantage then think again because they only went 5-11 straight up on MNF but went 8-8 against the number. Although trends, like the ones you can see below, can assist, they shouldn’t be relied upon exclusively to dictate our Monday Night Football picks.

The Trap Game

We should always be aware of scheduling, as it has a noticeable impact on the way teams perform. The proverbial trap game manifests when a big favorite plays a much weaker team on Monday night but is looking ahead to a big game on Sunday against either a divisional rival or one of the league’s elite. This is always an excellent opportunity to fade the public, who love laying the big lumber on a household name, and grabbing the points with the underdog. It works even better on Monday night but the moon and stars have to align for this to click as not all quality favorites are playing significantly weaker teams with a divisional rival looming on Sunday.

Traveling Teams

Teams traveling from one time zone to another are often at a disadvantage, regardless, but when they meet on Monday night it is important to make a note of the schedule of the road team. If they have another road game that following Sunday it is often a good sign that their minds could be on getting out of town and onto the next venue. Whether they are the favorite or the underdog, a fade on that road team is often a tactic the pros use, assuming the NFL odds are reasonable.

The 2021 MNF Schedule

*All Monday Night Football games will be broadcast on ESPN at a start time of 8:15 PM ET.

  • Week 1: Ravens vs. Raiders
  • Week 2: Lions vs. Packers
  • Week 3: Eagles vs. Cowboys
  • Week 4: Raiders vs. Chargers
  • Week 5: Colts vs. Ravens
  • Week 6: Bills vs.Titans
  • Week 7: Saints vs. Seahawks
  • Week 8: Giants vs. Chiefs
  • Week 9: Bears vs. Steelers
  • Week 10: Rams vs. 49ers
  • Week 11: Giants vs. Buccaneers
  • Week 12: Seahawks vs. Washington Football Team
  • Week 13: Patriots vs. Bills
  • Week 14: Rams vs. Cardinals
  • Week 15: Vikings vs. Bears
  • Week 16: Dolphins vs. Saints
  • Week 17: Browns vs. Steelers

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