Carolina Panthers (13-0 SU, 10-3 ATS) vs. New York Giants (6-7 SU, 7-5 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date/Time: 12/20/15 1:00 PM ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
by Keith, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CAR +5/NYG -5
Over/Under Total: 48
The Panthers opened as a -4 favorite and we have quickly seen steam roll in on Carolina. Given their 13-0 mark, four points spotted on the road seems like a favorable situation to take the Panthers. With this being said, we expect more points to be offered with the Giants and furthermore offer upside to go the other way.
We are by no means suggesting that an upset is on the horizon, but it is not unlikely for the Giants to get as much as 6.5 in this match-up and that is a lot of cushion considering the Panthers have won 6 of their 13 games by 8 points or less. With Tom Coughlin as the head coach of the New York Giants, the Giants can be relevant in virtually any game. His leadership and experience have been instrumental in helping New York pull of upsets on grander stages than this and he knows how to maximize his talent and achieve results. Furthermore, Carolina will be facing a quarterback in Eli Manning who has the full potential to put up elite numbers. Manning is entering this game after dissecting the Miami secondary when he threw for four touchdowns and no interceptions for 337 yards. In his moments of brilliance, Manning is a truly efficient quarterback and he can be a very difficult problem to solve even for a defense as elite as Carolina.
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Manning spearheads an offense that accounts for the sixth ranked passing attack in the NFL, along with 26 points per game. The Giants have a talented crop of receivers anchored by an absolute stud in Odell Beckham, Jr. We surmise that Beckham will likely have his hands full with shutdown corner Josh Norman lurking in the Carolina secondary to shadow him, but this will once again open the door for the supporting cast of Reuben Randle, Will Tye and Dwayne Harris to have a big day.
We saw this phenomenon unfold just two weeks ago when the Panthers surrendered a season-high 38 points to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on the road in Mercedes Benz Louisiana Superdome. Despite the statistics entering the affair, Brees went off for 282 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception against the vaunted Carolina defense. What was even more remarkable was New Orleans ability to create 3 turnovers against Carolinas well-oiled offensive machine.
The Giants rank among the bottom of the barrel in pass defense, but they nevertheless showcase a truly talented defensive front anchored by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP is an absolute freak and he has the athletic prowess to create mismatches and upset the chemistry of Carolinas offensemost notably Cam Newton. Newton is the engine of Carolinas offense and his MVP-caliber performance this season is the foundation of Carolinas success among many other variables, the Giants pass rush are fully capable of creating enough confusion up front to make this game a scare for Carolina.
Another consideration that must be made is the premium assessed with backing teams that are undefeated this late in the season. As we have seen typically, a 13-0 team would be heavily favored over a team that is 6-7, even if the game is on the road. However, eerily enough the Panthers are only against the spread for less than a touchdown. While many may see this as an opportunity to jump on the Panthers for a cheap price, the numbers itself dont make sense. For this reason, if it is too good to be true, it often is and the Giants are far better than the records indicate. It is an infallible truth, the Giants would be 11-2 if there were 75 less seconds on the season and the book is aware of this. As we have stated in the introduction, we expect this line to continue to move. While we have no crystal ball, we have fair suspicion to believe that more steam will come in on the Panthers and thus provide those wishing to back the Giants with substantial value. For these reasons we will have to take the Giants at home as a true potential live dog.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New York Giants +5
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