Patriots at Cardinals is a tough call

Neither the Arizona Cardinals or the New England Patriots are a fun team to bet on.

The Patriots are average. They are 6-6 and 6-5-1 ATS. They are good in defence, below average in attack and overall they are in the middle.

Cardinals are worse than average. They are 4-8 and have lost six of their last eight games. They’re averaging 6-6 ATS, so they haven’t ruined bettors. But they are not good.

It’s the backdrop for Monday night’s game. The Patriots are favorites by 1.5 points at BetMGM. It’s hard to choose, because no team is really better than the other.

It might be as simple as choosing the best trainer, and it’s not difficult for this one. Bill Belichick is still excellent, guarding a roster that isn’t great in the playoffs. Kliff Kingsbury followed a few late-season meltdowns with the Cardinals by not even starting fast this season. He’s probably in the hot seat, even though he just signed an extension last offseason.

Injuries are a problem for the Patriots, however. Jakobi Meyers, New England’s leading receiver, is out with a concussion. Come back Damien Harris is doubtful, and while Rhamander Stevenson is having a great year, Harris is also a capable fullback and can keep Stevenson fresh.

It’s just hard to trust either team. The Patriots are the better team, but they’re unsure and they’re a long way from home. The Cardinals aren’t that bad, but Belichick vs. Kingsbury looks like a serious mismatch. It could end up being a fun Monday night game, but not easy to bet.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray plays the Patriots on Monday night. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Here’s the first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:

The NBA has 7 games

The NBA has a few decent matchups on Monday night, and the best might be the Boston Celtics to Los Angeles Clippers. The Celtics are the road favorites at 4.5 points. The Celtics are 21-6 and easily the best team in the NBA for about a third of the season. The Clippers are a little underwhelming at 15-13 but still have some top talent. Kawhi Leonard has played just eight games this season, but the Clippers are 6-2 in those games and Leonard is expected to play Monday night.

College basketball continues

It’s a pretty light night for college hoops, even though four of the top 25 teams are in action. The best game of the night is No. 21 Creighton, who got off to a lackluster start with four straight losses (and will likely be out of the top 25 when the new poll comes out Monday afternoon), against Arizona State. Creighton is a small favorite for neutral site play in Las Vegas.

Devils-Rangers spotlights the NHL

There are six games on the ice, and the best of the group is the New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers. The Devils are -115 favorites. New Jersey is 21-5-1 and has been one of the best teams in the league. Rangers are just 14-10-5 but have won three in a row.

What is the best bet?

I have a lukewarm pick from the Patriots. For bets, I feel better about the Clippers getting points at home, considering they should be completely healthy. They can stay close to Boston and maybe win.

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