To the casual fan, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are having a fine season. Maybe it's a little disappointing at 6-3, but nothing bad.
Bettors who have backed the Super Bowl champions aren't so forgiving.
The Buccaneers have been bad against the spread. They're 3-6 this season. There's a simple reason for that: They're overvalued. Oddsmakers are inflating Bucs spreads due to the headlines they get with Tom Brady and a star-studded offense, and their status as Super Bowl champions with all 22 starters returning.
Even though the Buccaneers haven't been covering often, they're still 10.5-point favorites at BetMGM for Monday night's game against the New York Giants.
It's not comfortable to take the 3-6 Giants. We all know they're not a great football team. But it's tough to lay that many points with the Buccaneers.
If you do want to back the Giants, it can be more than an anti-Buccaneers bet. The Giants will be relatively healthy coming off a bye. The last time they had most of their offensive pieces on the field for a full game, Daniel Jones threw for 402 yards and they won at the New Orleans Saints. It's an offense that can move the ball. The Giants will get a boost if Saquon Barkley returns from an ankle injury, and most signs have pointed to that happening. The Giants are at least capable of a backdoor cover even if they fall behind.
The Giants seem like the better side for a few reasons. We've all seen the Buccaneers struggle to cover big spreads this season.
Here is the first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
What about some prop bets?
Let's keep this simple: Based on the likely game script, I like a prop for each of the quarterbacks.
Let's take the under on Tom Brady's 298.5 passing yards. The Giants aren't a bad pass defense (11th in Football Outsiders' pass defense DVOA) and the Bucs haven't been the same passing offensive without Antonio Brown. If the Bucs get ahead, they're likely to protect the lead with the ground game.
On the other side, over 240.5 yards for Daniel Jones seems like a good play. The way teams attack the Bucs is in the air, because Tampa has a great run defense, and Jones will have most of his receivers back and healthy. And if the Giants fall behind, Jones will throw it plenty and have a chance to get over 240.5 late.
Hey, it's midday basketball!
The Maui Invitational is one of the marquee events of the college basketball season and it starts Monday at 2 p.m. ET. It tips off with Texas A&M vs. Wisconsin, and the Badgers are 2.5-point favorites. Butler and Houston (-8.5) meet up next in a 4:30 p.m. ET tip from Hawaii.
There are other early season events like the Hall of Fame Classic and Paradise Jam for hoops junkies, making for a busy Monday. The game of the day is Ohio State against Seton Hall, one of the season's early surprise teams, at the Fort Myers Tip-Off. Seton Hall, which already beat Michigan, is a 2.5-point favorite.
Any pro basketball?
There are 10 NBA gams on Monday. The best matchup could be between two exciting, young Eastern Conference teams when the Charlotte Hornets take on the Washington Wizards. The Wizards are a surprising 11-5 to start the season and 3.5-point favorites on Monday.
Another game of note is the red-hot Phoenix Suns going to face the San Antonio Spurs in Texas. The Suns have won 12 in a row and are a 6.5-point favorite at the Spurs.
What's the best bet?
The Giants and all those points seem like the right play. Let's make the Buccaneers prove they can regularly cover inflated spreads this season.