The 2022 NFC South probably should be banned from prime-time television, but the NFL couldn't have known how bad the division would be when it made the schedule.
The worst division in the NFL is on display Monday night when the 4-8 New Orleans Saints face the 5-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It says something that the Saints are 4-8 and have a bunch of problems, yet if they win they'll be a half-game behind the Bucs for first place.
Tampa Bay is a 3-point favorite at BetMGM after being -3.5 for most of the week. The line move seems right, because the Buccaneers haven't done much all season.
Tampa Bay has had a disappointing season. They've had injuries, but that doesn't explain everything. The offense seems stuck. It won't get better with right tackle Tristan Wirfs, their best lineman, out for probably multiple weeks with a leg injury. Tom Brady hasn't been bad, but he isn't competing for an MVP like last season. The Buccaneers probably going to win the division but only because there is nobody else pushing them.
The Saints could still make it interesting, and they have had success against Brady and the Buccaneers. The last time New Orleans played at Tampa Bay, they shut out Brady and the Bucs for a 9-0 win. Saints coach Dennis Allen, who was the team's defensive coordinator before this season, usually finds ways to fluster Brady. The Saints have been disappointing on both sides of the ball this season but Monday night is a good matchup for them. It helps that the Buccaneers have some key injuries on defense as well.
Taking the Saints and the field goal seems right only because it's hard to trust any NFC South team as a favorite this season.
Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
World Cup knockout round includes Brazil
There are two more knockout round matches at the World Cup on Monday including Brazil, which is favored to win the tournament. Japan meets Croatia in the early match and Brazil faces South Korea. Brazil is a big -375 favorite to win on Monday. Yahoo Sportsbook's Nick Bromberg previewed both matches.
Eight NBA games
There's some decent hoops action on Monday night. The two best games are the Boston Celtics at the Toronto Raptors, who are 1.5-point favorites, and the Phoenix Suns at the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are 3.5-point favorites. The Celtics are having a great start to the season but the Raptors are tough at home, especially with center Pascal Siakam back in the lineup. The Mavericks are just 11-11 this season but have won two of three, and it's always a treat to watch Luka Doncic.
NHL includes Golden Knights-Bruins
The Boston Bruins, at 20-3, are the NHL's best team so far this season. They get a good test on Monday night against the Vegas Golden Knights, who are leading the Pacific Division. It says something about the Bruins' dominance this season that they're a -175 favorite over a division leader. That's the best of the six-game NHL slate for Monday.
What's the best bet?
The Memphis Grizzlies are often underrated, and I like them as a 1.5-point home favorite against the Miami Heat on Monday night. And sure, a little bit on the Saints too, since everyone will be watching that game, no matter if it features two losing teams.