Beginning in the 1970 NFL season, a broadcast institution was born.
On Sept. 21, 1970, the New York Jets traveled to Cleveland to take on the Browns. The game was held under the primetime lights and broadcast to the nation on ABC.
NFL’s Monday Night Football debuted to rave reviews and quickly became a hit. The program was a fixture on the ABC network lineup until 2005. The game moved to ESPN the following season and remains one of the most popular broadcasts on cable TV. Usually the NFL’s best teams are picked for the games.
For the season ahead, we can look forward to 17 NFL Monday Night Football games. The opening week of the season provides a real treat for fans, as ESPN will be broadcasting two of the games.
Let’s take a look at the schedule for what should be another exciting football season.
Here’s Where You Can Bet on Monday Night Football
NFL Monday Night Football Preview – Week 2
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets
Monday, September 16, 8:15 PM, ESPN
It’s back to normal for NFL Monday Night Football in Week 2. After an opening week doubleheader, there will be just a single game under the primetime lights for football fans to enjoy. Thankfully, it looks like a solid one.
The Browns will visit the Jets for a meeting of two teams which have had rough starts to the year. Both teams were upset at home in Week 1 and head into this featured game feeling the heat. When the final whistle blows on this one, the pressure will really be on one of these two squads.
Here is where the lines currently stand for this week’s Monday Night Football game.
Browns vs. Jets Matchup
Heading into the season, the Browns received a ton of hype. Those expectations didn’t materialize on the field on Sunday. They were home to take on the Titans on Sunday and got smacked around to the tune of a final score of 43-13.
Disappointing opening week aside, some of the expectations surrounding the Browns are justified. This is a team with lots of talent on both sides of the ball. A big overall improvement in 2019 isn’t out of the question as a result. However, all of the preseason talk about this being a Super Bowl team was a bit premature.
The Jets were in firm control of the opening game at home versus the Buffalo Bills with a 16-0 lead. Unfortunately, the Bills would come back with 17 unanswered points to walk away with a 1-point victory.
New York has a new head coach at the helm in Adam Gase. The team made a number of moves in the offseason to bolster the roster, headlined by the signings of Le’Veon Bell and CJ Mosley. Expectations are tempered for the season as a whole, and the results of Week 1 demonstrate that may be the correct call.
Browns vs. Jets Betting Breakdown
These two clubs met last year with the Browns picking up a 21-17 victory as 3-point favorites. All time, Cleveland holds a 14-12 advantage for the series. Interestingly, these two teams faced off in the first-ever Monday Night Football game on September 21, 1970. The Browns won that one by a score of 31-21.
Last season, Cleveland was 7-8-1 overall. The team was 10-6 against the spread and 7-8-1 on totals. New York finished up 2018 with a record of 4-12 straight-up. The club was 5-10-1 ATS and 10-6 on the Over/Under.
In 2018, the Browns were 1-0 as away favorites and 1-0 ATS. The Jets were 0-4 as home underdogs and 0-3-1 ATS.
Tips for betting on this week’s game
While it’s important not to overreact to the results of opening wek, both of these clubs kicked off the year in dreadful fashion. For the Browns, they were blown out on their home field by the Titans. The Jets collapsed and blew a game they had firm control of versus the visiting Bills.
The pressure is on both sides as they look to avoid opening the year at 0-2, but it may be more intense for Cleveland due to the offseason of hype.
One other note of intrigue for this game: Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams served as interim head coach for the Browns last season, but he was passed over for the permanent gig in favor of Freddie Kitchens.
Monday Night Football schedule for the 2019 NFL season
Week 1: Sept. 9
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints, 7:10 p.m., ESPN
The NFL’s Monday Night Football crew will open up the season in New Orleans for a meeting of two squads which made the playoffs last year. The Texans will open up their season on the road when they take on the Saints.
Both of these squads are expected to be in the mix for postseason berths once again. In addition, we could see a good old-fashioned duel between Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson and Saints veteran Drew Brees.
If you want to see the air filled with footballs, this is an excellent game to watch.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders, 10:20 p.m., ESPN
For the second half of the opening week doubleheader, the action will be in Oakland for what should be a raucous type of atmosphere. The Broncos will be on the road to take on the division-rival Raiders. These two AFC West teams enter Week 1 off of an offseason of change.
For the Broncos, it’s a new head coach and quarterback in the form of Vic Fangio and Joe Flacco. The Raiders did the right amount of shopping in the offseason, which included a trade for star wide receiver Antonio Brown. Anticipation will be high for this one, as both clubs desperately need to start the year on a high note.
Week 2: Sept. 16
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Heading into the new season, the Browns are perhaps the most hyped team in the entire NFL.
The whole league will get to see what they bring to the table when they hit the road to take on the Jets during the NFL’s Monday Night Football.
This is an interesting battle of two second-year quarterbacks. Baker Mayfield leads the way for the Browns, while Sam Darnold is behind center for the Jets.
Could we perhaps see a shootout underneath the primetime lights?
Week 3: Sept. 23
Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
The Bears were one of the surprising stories of 2018. Rookie head coach led the team to the playoffs, and the club is expected to continue on its upward trajectory. One thing is for sure: the Bears won’t catch anyone by surprise this time around.
A road date with the Redskins will make for an interesting early-season test. While not much is expected out of Washington this season, the club has traditionally played hard under head coach Jay Gruden.
We could be treated to a hard-hitting affair for this installment of the NFL’s Monday Night Football.
Week 4: Sept. 30
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
In the NFL, division rivalries tend to inspire the best out of both clubs. When you add the primetime lights to the mix, the intensity goes up even further.
The Bengals and Steelers aren’t big fans of each other, and it should show when they hook up for this Week 4 contest.
Zac Taylor has taken over as head coach for Cincinnati, while Mike Tomlin remains in place in Pittsburgh. There’s plenty of star power on both sides, including Joe Mixon of the Bengals and Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers.
Week 5: Oct. 7
Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
The Browns will be back on NFL’s Monday Night Football for the second time to take on another up and coming club.
They’ll be in San Francisco to take on the 49ers, a team which is looking to bounce back from a brutal 2018 season.
Starter Jimmy Garoppolo was lost to injury early in the year, but he’s back and ready to go in 2019. San Francisco could surprise everyone and improve quickly as a result.
As for Cleveland, it’ll be interesting to see if the hype has slowed down at all by the time Week 5 rolls around.
Week 6: Oct. 14
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
We have another meeting of divisional rivals to look forward to in Week 6. The Lions head to Green Bay to take on the Packers, a meeting of two teams which are looking to bounce back from disappointing 2018 seasons.
It’s not clear if they’ll both be able to do so. While optimism is high that a new head coach and additions on defense will spark improvement for the Packers, expectations are tempered for the Lions.
Either way, these two rivals certainly have this game circled on the calendar.
Week 7: Oct. 21
New England Patriots at New York Jets, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Some franchises in the league just don’t like each other. That’s the case with the Patriots and Jets, who will be facing off in this Monday night tilt in Week 7. The Patriots have dominated the AFC East since the turn of the century, while the Jets are continually playing catch up.
New York made some interesting moves in the offseason in a bid to close the gap. Adam Gase is on board as head coach, while new arrivals include Le’Veon Bell and CJ Mosley.
Are the newest members of the Jets ready to make a statement in this rivalry game?
Week 8: Oct. 28
Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
While the NFL is inherently a league of parity, there are times when two clubs heading in opposite directions hook up.
That could be the case for this game as the Dolphins head to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.
The Dolphins look like a team on the rebuild, while the Steelers have no intention of getting to that point.
Ben Roethlisberger is heading to the twilight of his career, but this club is talented enough to make another run at glory.
Week 9: Nov. 4
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Another rivalry game will be on the menu for Week 9 of the NFL’s Monday Night Football. The Cowboys will be hitting the road to take on the Giants.
Dallas enters the year with high hopes, while overall improvements are the top item on the to-do list for New York.
However, don’t take that to mean that this will be a mismatch. These two squads have engaged in some memorable battles over the years.
We may get another one when they square off underneath the primetime lights with the whole league watching.
Week 10: Nov. 11
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Last year, the Seahawks were supposed to have a transition season. Someone forgot to tell head coach Pete Carroll and company.
The club would go on to surprise and nab an unexpected playoff berth, falling to the Cowboys in the wild card round.
The 49ers are hoping to turn the same trick after last year’s disappointment. Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is back after missing most of last year due to injury, so San Francisco is one of those teams which could get a lot better in a hurry.
Week 11: Nov. 18
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
These two teams are the favorites to win the AFC West in 2019. The Chiefs took it down last year, finishing up slightly ahead of the Chargers. They both finished up the year with records of 12-4, so it came down to tiebreakers.
Kansas City and Los Angeles split their two meetings last year. Quite simply, these two clubs match up well.
The race for the division could once again go down to the wire, and this primetime showdown could well decide it when all is said and done.
Week 12: Nov. 25
Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
As the season gets long in the tooth, cross country road trips are less than a welcome site for teams. That’s especially the case when they have to fly out to face one of the league’s best. That’s the situation at hand for the Ravens as they face the Rams in Week 12.
Baltimore made it to the wild card round last year before falling to the Chargers. The Rams would make it to the Super Bowl before their season came to an end at the hands of the Patriots. The teams have their eyes on the playoffs once again, so this game could have lots at stake.
Week 13: Dec. 2
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Two more NFC squads with their sights set on the playoffs will square off on the NFL’s Monday Night Football in Week 13.
The Vikings will hit the road and head to an unfriendly venue when they take on the Seahawks, a team with one of the best home-field advantages in the league.
Minnesota was expected to be a playoff team last season, but that didn’t happen. The opposite expectations were in place for Seattle, but they surprised onlookers and made it to the postseason. This late-season tilt could provide some clarity on the 2019 playoff picture.
Week 14: Dec. 9
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Another division rivalry game is on tap for a Monday night affair in Week 14. Regardless of where the records stand, the Giants and Eagles seem to have a tendency to engage in hard-nosed contests.
Not much is expected out of New York this year, while Philadelphia is expected to make another run to the postseason.
You can be sure that the Giants would like nothing more than to put a crimp in those plans just a few weeks before the holidays.
Week 15: Dec. 16
Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
The second-to-last NFL Monday Night Football game of the season has the makings of a potential Super Bowl preview. The Colts and Saints were two of the best teams in their respective conferences last season, and both are expected to be in the running again.
Drew Brees leads the way on offense for the Saints, while Jacoby Brissett is the starter for the Colts after the unexpected retirement of Andrew Luck.
While it may be one of the last in the season, this could be one of the best on the entire Monday night schedule.
Week 16: Dec. 23
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
There’s no Monday night game in Week 17, but this portion of the schedule comes to a close with what should be a stellar contest. The Packers and Vikings are expected to contend with the Bears for the NFC North title so that this game could have huge implications.
A late-season game between two division rivals with the potential of a playoff berth on the line makes for a perfect close to the Monday night schedule. We could have a division champion crowned on the field in Minnesota underneath the bright lights.
Betting on the NFL’s Monday Night Football
When there’s only a single NFL game on, you can be sure it’ll attract plenty of attention from sports bettors.
That’s precisely the case with the NFL’s Monday Night Football. In addition to being the only football game on for the evening, it also marks the final time for viewers and bettors to get their NFL fix until the Thursday night game.
On Mondays, debates will go on not only about which side will win, but also what the total may be and whether the spread will be covered. While those three types of wagers see a ton of action, there are also other ways for bettors to get in on the game.
For the single-game NFL broadcasts, prop bets become even more popular than the average Sunday. Since it’s the only game going, these wagers on specific events within the game make for other ways for bettors to take their chances.
For those who like to wager and watch at the same time, live betting is gaining in popularity.
How to watch Monday Night Football
ESPN is the exclusive home for NFL Monday Night Football.
For the first week of the regular season, the network has been holding a doubleheader with the first game kicking off a little after 7 p.m. EST and the second getting a shade underway after 10 p.m. EST.
For Week 2 through Week 16, the broadcast takes place at its standard start time of 8:15 p.m. EST. There isn’t a Monday Night Football game in Week 17, which means that the Sunday Night Football telecast for that week is the final game of the regular season.
Viewers can also catch the broadcast online or via the WatchESPN app. However, this still requires a subscription to a valid cable TV package. You can find ESPN on several streaming options if you have moved away from cable.