The New York Giants are locked in to the No. 6 seed, win or lose Sunday against Philadelphia. The Eagles can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win, and can drop all the way to No. 5 with a loss, which would mean opening the playoffs against Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.
So, yeah … the stakes are a little different for these two teams, which is why Philadelphia is favored by 14.
But before you go and jump on that Eagles line, consider this: At DraftKings Sportsbook, 87 % of bets and 70 % of handle on spread bets are coming in on the Giants, and 70 % of moneyline wagers are coming in on New York at +675.
That is a somewhat crazy set of splits. But with Jalen Hurts still listed as “limited” and the Eagles on a two-game losing streak ever since Hurts hurt his shoulder, the betting public is not as high on Philly as was the case two weeks ago. And when all of the pressure is on one team (Eagles) and the other can allow many of its backups to play for their next contracts (Giants), there is an incentivization dynamic and a freewheeling thing that tilts things just a wee bit in New York’s favor.
And even if coach Brian Daboll rests Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, it is not like he will have to turn to a bunch of novices. Anybody outside of Buffalo and Miami remember this must-win game?
Yesterday, the Buffalo Bills ended the 17-year playoff drought by defeating the Dolphins 22-16. QB Tyrod Taylor went 19 of 27 for 204 passing yards and a TD. The Bills will be playing the Jaguars in the WC round. Can the Bills upset the Jags? #DroughtIsOver pic.twitter.com/8wgZjjFclF
— Sean 4 Sports (@Sean4Sports) January 2, 2018
Tyrod Taylor Starting For New York?
No, we do not know, because coach Brian Daboll is playing poker this week and holding his cards close to the vest. But it is reasonable to assume that even if Jones starts and plays New York’s first offensive series, Daboll will have a quick hook. Why risk your No. 1 quarterback in a meaningless game?
Taylor is no spring chicken, having spent 12 years in the league with the Ravens, Bills, Browns, Chargers and Texans. And unlike Jones, who will be a free agent this off-season, Taylor is under contract to New York for another season. So there is no better time to give him the ball for an entire game and see what he does with it. There is always a chance that Jones could get hurt in the wild card round against Minnesota or San Francisco, and Taylor would then become the man.
This lack of certainty has kept the sportsbooks from offering any player props for this game, even on the kickers. Those lines will likely not go up until Sunday morning, when we have better intel on who will and will not be playing, so all we have to work with for now is the spread and the over/under (43).
But if Taylor plays QB for the Giants, a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Last season in six games for the Texans, he threw for two TDs twice and had a completion percentage of 60.7.
- In 2020 with the Chargers, he appeared in only one game and was 16-of-30 with no TDs in a 16-13 victory vs. the Bengals, and in 2019 he played in only three games for L.A. and had one TD pass in mop-up duty.
- In 2018 with Cleveland,he had two TD passes and two interceptions while starting the first two games, then got injured and was replaced by Baker Mayfield.
- In 2017 with the Bills, he finished the regular season with three consecutive 200-plus yards passing games to help end a 16-year playoff drought.
If you see a passing yardage prop line for him somewhere in the very low 100s, an “over” may be in order. As for the Giants rushers, Matt Brieda and Gary Brightwell have a combined 70 carries all season. Brieda is the likelier of the two to be a featured running back, while Barkley (also a free agent-to-be) watches.
Brieda had 59 yards on nine rushes last week against the Colts, and you may see a rushing yardage prop somewhere in the 40s or 50s. Before betting it, check out the alternate rushing yardage line, because the Giants are far more likely to run than throw since the chances of injuries are lower when you play ground-and-pound.
Brieda would not still be in the NFL if he could not do stuff like this:
How tf did Matt Brieda do this pic.twitter.com/njW2ZiLYZs
— DailySportsDosage (@SportsDsd) September 19, 2019
What Other Trends Should Be Looked At?
On over/unders, the Eagles are 10-6-0, tied for second in the NFL behind Minnesota. But they were under by a dozen points last week in a 20-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints that left them in their current precarious position. Philadelphia is now priced at -1200 to win the NFC East, while the Cowboys are at +700 at DraftKings and -1100 and +850 at FanDuel. It would take a Giants win along with a Cowboys win over the Commanders for that Dallas bet to hit.
For those wondering, a parlay of Giants moneyline and Dallas to win the NFC East would pay at the rate of +6275 … if you could play it. But we tried at every single licensed New York sportsbook, and none would accept that particular wager. Sacrificing a few gallons of gasoline, we drove to New Jersey to attempt the same wager and struck out at HardRock, Bet365, Betway, and Barstool. Even CircaSports (available in Nevada, Colorado, and Iowa only), which prides itself on accepting any and all bets, does not have this parlay available.
Anyway, the other trend to know is the Eagles’ record when Hurts is their starter: 13-1. Coach Nick Sirianni said Friday, “It’s trending in the right direction,” and receiver A.J. Brown let on that Hurts has been practicing with the first unit. “He’s still crafting, he’s still knocking the rust off. But I think he’ll be fine coming on Sunday.”
The last time Hurts played the Giants back on Dec. 11, he had seven rushes for 77 yards and passed for two TDs and 217 yards. But the player who really hurt the Giants was running back Miles Sanders, who had 17 carries for a season-high 144 yards. His player props are not yet up, either.
You want a prop for Big Blue that will allow you to turn the channel after the first quarter no matter what? They are +450 to attempt a field goal on their first possession. Make or miss, that could be a winner … and Giants fans don’t have to care whether the game ends in a win, loss, or a tie.
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