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It’s been another wild week across the NFL, and we’ve got one more game before we can flip the page to Week 15. On tonight’s edition of Monday Night Football, the New England Patriots will travel west for a cross-conference matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

It’s not exactly a highly anticipated matchup considering both teams are on the outside looking in at playoff contention, so we’ll have to find our own way to make it entertaining. To do that, let’s target a few first touchdown scorer bets and gun for a juicy payout on MNF.

DeAndre Hopkins +800

DeAndre Hopkins has been superb since returning from his six-game suspension to start the season. The star wide receiver leads the Cardinals in catches (49) and receiving yards (574) and ranks second in receiving touchdowns (three) despite playing only six games all year.

Kyler Murray loves to force-feed Hopkins in the red zone, and the Patriots don’t have any weapons in the secondary who can slow him down. I understand why James Conner (+600) has a lower price to score the first touchdown on Monday night, but I still believe Hopkins is more likely to find the end zone first. Give me the slight value on the best WR in this game at +800 (FanDuel).

Kyler Murray +1500

Kyler Murray runs against the Chargers.
Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals rushes against the Los Angeles Chargers | Norm Hall/Getty Images

After a slow start to the season in the rushing department, Kyler Murray has scrambled much more effectively in the last few weeks. Part of that has been an increased willingness to take off and run, but Kliff Kingsbury is also drawing up more designed rushes for the speedy quarterback.

Since Week 6, Murray has averaged 56.4 rushing yards on 7.6 attempts per game. He’s scored just one rushing touchdown over that span, but I think this matchup sets up well for him to find the end zone on Monday night. Bill Belichick’s defenses have always struggled to contain mobile quarterbacks, so I’ll take a shot on Murray to score the first touchdown at +1500 odds.

Tyquan Thornton +1800

When Tyquan Thornton scored two touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns in just the second game of his young NFL career, I thought he would quickly become a go-to weapon for this Patriots offense. That hasn’t exactly been the case, as the rookie has recorded only six catches and 72 total yards in six starts since that breakout performance.

Considering how inept New England’s offense has looked in recent weeks, this feels like the perfect time to draw up a few specific plays for Thornton and let his speed do the rest. The Baylor product ran the fastest 40-yard dash in the 2022 NFL Draft class, and he could give this unit the electric boost it’s been searching for since Week 6. At +1800, Thornton is my favorite longshot in the first touchdown scorer market.

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