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Statschecker highlights five important factors to consider for the early Monday night game
ANALYSIS

It’s easy to forget that Monday night’s game between the Texans and Saints actually represents a match-up between two division winners from 2018. If Houston and New Orleans are going to repeat those respective feats this season, a win in Week 1 would be a great place to start.

As always, you need to visit or new statistics site for the game before making your wager. In this piece, we’ll walk you through five interesting data points you need to know that can be found there. I encourage you to go there yourself to get the full helping of information available to you.

1. The Saints give up lots of points in openers

Everyone knows Drew Brees and the Saints have an explosive offense, but the fortunes of this team generally rise and fall in accordance with how their defense plays. That’s why it’s troubling to learn that the Saints’ openers have hit the over in their last five season openers.

In fairness, the number on this game is pretty significant. 52 is a tough number to hit in a season opener. As we saw on Thursday night with the Bears and Packers, offenses can sometimes struggle to get things going right out of the gate.

On the other hand, there are a lot of explosive playmakers in this game. The connection between Brees and Michael Thomas is nothing short of spectacular. The same can be said for the bond between Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. Expect to see offensive fireworks between these two teams on Monday Night Football.

2. Deshaun Watson was battered last season

Statschecker tells us that Watson got sacked a league-high 62 times last season. To the credit of the Texans front office, they’ve spent valuable resources to rectify that issue heading into 2019.

Houston spent first and second-round picks on offensive linemen in April’s Draft. More importantly, the front office made a big move to bring in Laremy Tunsil to protect Watson’s blind side just a week ago.

Don’t look for the Saints to buy into the idea that Houston’s offensive line issues have been fixed. Sean Payton and his staff are going to bring a ton of heat in this game. Watson’s ability to escape pressure and make plays down the field could easily be the determining factor when all is said and done.

3. Both teams play really well at night

New Orleans fans should make Monday night an electric atmosphere in The Big Easy. The interesting this is that both teams have really good records playing at night over the last two seasons. The Saints are 4-1 after dark and the Texans are an unblemished 3-0 when playing after the sun goes down.

The only real betting implication you can draw from that is that you shouldn’t fade the Texans under the idea they will struggle under the bright lights. The crowd noise might be a factor, but don’t expect it to overwhelm Bill O’Brien’s squad. The Saints might defeat them, but the atmosphere will not.

4. DeAndre Hopkins loves the road

Most NFL players tend to play their best football at home. Evidently Hopkins didn’t get that memo. Statschecker tells us the Pro-Bowl wideout has scored at least one touchdown in six of his team’s last seven road games.

The Saints defense was always going to key on Hopkins, but that fact only emphasizes how much attention they need to pay to him. Hopkins needs to see double coverage at all times. New Orleans needs to make someone else in Houston’s receiving corps beat them. Guys like Will Fuller can be dangerous, but they don’t hold a candle to the danger Hopkins presents.

5. The Texans aren’t great against the spread

Most league observers would agree that the Texans are one of the more perplexing teams in the NFL. They have a lot of star talent, but they also have clear weaknesses on the roster. That inconsistency makes it tough for Houston to play up to its potential on a weekly basis.

To that end, they were only 8-9 against the spread last season. That might seem average on the surface, but it actually ranked them at 22nd in the league.

That’s not awful, but it’s certainly not encouraging. Considering the fact that New Orleans is a firm favorite in this game, you might want to think twice before backing the Texans to keep it close and cover.

Look, there’s a time and a place for betting with your gut feelings, but you should inform that with solid information. That’s why you need to hit Statschecker before every wager you make. Why wouldn’t you want all the information you can gather before making your plays for the weekend? It’s the age of information, take advantage of everything we provide at your fingertips.

By Rucker Haringey

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