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Best NFL Week 1 Monday Night Football single-game & player props bets

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs for a touchdown during the Tennessee Titans game against the Baltimore Ravens in Nashville on January 10, 2021. Titans Ravens 111

Island games are the highlight of any NFL week for betting enthusiasts. As the industry continues to grow, some of the most discussed moments belong to single-game opportunities.

As such, below is the only betting guide needed to unearth tons of expected value for each Monday night contest throughout the 2021 NFL regular season.

We begin with a Week 1 contest between the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders.


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GAME LINES

Before the Ravens suffered numerous catastrophic injuries — including to J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Marcus Peters — the spread was moving in their direction, hitting a high point of 4.5. Bookmakers immediately reacted to news of Edwards and Peters' season-ending injuries by dropping the spread down half a point. The cash and ticket percentages lean heavily toward Baltimore, with a lot of unfortunate tickets at the worst of the number because of the late-week injury circus. 

PFF’s modeling points to the Raiders being the only playable side at the four-point spread. Baltimore sits fifth in PFF's overall power rankings but actually has a worse offensive unit than the Raiders based on PFF grades. The lingering question for Las Vegas is the impact of home-field advantage in the team's brand new stadium — one that hasn’t experienced a rowdy atmosphere yet.

The betting market continues to fade quarterback Derek Carr, which could be an oversight based on his most recent yearly performance. Carr’s 87.5 passing grade since 2016 is the ninth-highest mark in the NFL among quarterbacks, in between Deshaun Watson and Kirk Cousins. Carr has the ability to put up big numbers for this Vegas offense, as evidenced by the 10 games in 2020 where the unit put up 27 or more points.

If you aren’t comfortable with the spread or backing Carr completely, then the total in what could turn into a shootout is the best offering. Expect points to come in bunches Monday night, as the Ravens aren’t as good as their prior defensive pedigree, and the Raiders still have one of the worst defensive units in the NFL after finishing third-to-last in the NFL in overall defensive grade in 2020.

PFF Greenline gives the Raiders a 49.9% chance to cover, 3.4% higher than Baltimore, as well as a 53.2% cover probability for the over total.

PICKS: Raiders +4 and OVER 50.5

PLAYER PROPS

One of the easiest transitions into sports betting is through player props, as fantasy applications are helpful for evaluating betting opportunities.

Props are priced for a player's median stat projection in a simple over-or-under two-sided market. For historical context, we saw 53% of player props hit the under, regardless of the category, during the 2020 season.

One way to consistently find defined edges is by utilizing PFF's player props tool. The ability to adjust both number and price means you are always certain of the expected value for each prop bet. Let’s dive into the best player props to bet for the NFL Thursday night kickoff game. 

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