Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees starts his 19th NFL season on Monday Night Football when his New Orleans Saints take on the Houston Texans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 40-year-old Brees is the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards (74,437) and completions (6,586). He also needs just 19 passing touchdowns to tie Peyton Manning’s record of 539. In the first game of a Monday Night Football doubleheader, he’ll face a Texans team that went through a makeover on the last day of August, when it traded away former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney and acquired top left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills. Kickoff is set for 7:10 p.m. ET. New Orleans is a 6.5-point favorite in the latest Saints vs. Texans odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 52.5, down 1.5 from the opener. Before you make any Texans vs. Saints picks and NFL predictions for Monday Night Football, you need to see who SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein is picking.
A former lead writer for Covers and The Linemakers, Hartstein combines a vast network of Vegas sources with an analytical approach he honed while working for Pro Football Focus. In the past four years, he’s gone 200-169 on NFL picks, including 61-47 last season. In addition, Hartstein is 22-11 in his last 33 picks involving the Saints. Anyone who has followed him is way up. Now, he’s dialed in on Saints vs. Texans in the first half of a Monday Night Football doubleheader.
Hartstein has factored in that the Saints have one of the most lethal offenses in the NFL. Led by Brees, who threw for 3,992 yards and 32 touchdowns against just five interceptions last season, New Orleans averaged 31.5 points per game. That ranked third in the league.
Brees has plenty of talent around him, even with the offseason departure of running back Mark Ingram to the Ravens. Wide receiver Michael Thomas is one of the top pass-catchers in the NFL and led the league with 125 grabs last year. Do-it-all running back Alvin Kamara has 31 touchdowns in two NFL seasons. The addition of pass-catching tight end Jared Cook gives the Saints a receiving threat at the position for the first time since Jimmy Graham was traded in 2015. Plus, New Orleans was one of the top-covering teams in the league last season, going 10-8 against the spread.
Even so, New Orleans isn’t guaranteed to cover the Saints vs. Texans spread on Monday Night Football.
Houston has one of the top duos in quarterback Deshaun Watson and receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Last season, Watson completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns against just nine interceptions despite being constantly under pressure and sacked a league-high 62 times. With Tunsil protecting his blind side, Watson can put up even better numbers in his third NFL season.
Meanwhile, Hopkins can make the argument that he’s the best receiver in the league. Over the last two seasons, he has caught 211 passes (second best in the NFL) for 2,950 yards (second) and 24 touchdowns (tied for first).
We can tell you that Hartstein is leaning over, but he’s found a critical x-factor that makes one side of the spread hit hard on Monday. He’s sharing what it is, and which side to back, only at SportsLine.
So who wins Texans vs. Saints on Monday Night Football? And which critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Texans vs. Saints spread to jump on, all from the expert who is 22-11 in his last 33 picks involving New Orleans.
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