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Monday Night Football Pick: Giants vs Falcons

by | Last updated Oct 22, 2018 | nfl

New York Giants (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS)
NFL Week 7
When: MNF, October, 2nd, 8:15 EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: ESPN (206 on DirecTV)
By: Kevin West, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: NYG +3.5/Atl -3.5
Total: 53 (Opened at 54)
Power Ratings: Dirty Birds -12

Takeaways From Week 6

The Giants looked hapless last week in prime time as they got blasted at home 13-34 at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants came into the game as +1.5 home dogs in a game where sharps had expected them to win and cover. One has to wonder why they didn’t run the ball more than the 17 attempts they had as they averaged a massive 8.6 yards per rush. The answer was that they were behind 6-24 at the half so were forced to take to the air where they had very little success, completing only 24-43 (55%) for 254 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, the G-Men only allowed 31 rushes for 108 yards, which is great, but the pass-D was another story, allowing a hefty 72% completion rate where Wentz and Co. went 26-36 for 278 yards and 3 scores.

The Falcons squeaked by the Bucs last week at home 34-29. Despite the win, the Falcons may have the worst defense in the NFL as evidenced by the huge yield to the erratic Jameis Winston, where he tossed 30-41 for 389 yards. While the novice football bettor may see this as Winston having a great performance and being a good QB, the astute bettor is licking his chops for some of this action, as Eli Manning is actually a better QB than Winston, which gives the NYG a legit shot of winning tonight’s game.

Thursday Night Football: Baylor vs. West Virginia

As usual, ATL did very little on the ground, going 22-70. This has become a recurring theme as prior weeks were 19-62, 24-92, 22-48, and 18-74. They’ve only gone for over 100 once this season, back in week 2 when they gashed the Panthers 32-170. I expect more of the same this week with Ryan and Crew tossing it 40+ times as the Giants secondary is where they’re vulnerable.

Getting back to the Falcons defense, they’ve allowed a miserable amount of points as of late, which can be directly attributed to losing three of their top defensive backs early in the season. What’s even more concerning is that they’ve been a wet paper bag at home, allowing 29, 37 and 43 points to opponents over their last 3 at Mercedez-Benz Stadium. I expect tonight’s game to be high scoring as well.

How the Public is Betting the Gmen/Dirty Birds Game

The squares are licking their chops after seeing last week’s demolition of the Giants. Unbelievably, 72% are backing the Falcons against the spread. Comparing the defenses of these two teams is kinda like throwing two turds against a wall and seeing which one makes a bigger splatter, but I’ll humbly predict that the Giants have the better defensive unit, giving them instant credibility to have a shot of not only covering the 3.5, but winning straight up.

As expected with MNF being a prime time game, most are wishing for the game to go over, because hey, we all like lotsa points! Unfortunately for most, the bookies are onto this and are waiting anxiously for us to toss our coins into their wishing well. At time of print, 62% are betting the over. The total opened at 54 and has been bet down to 53, with a few 52.5’s out there as well. I think this game will be high scoring, but when you start talking over/under’s in the 50’s, the clock becomes somewhat of a monster, so I’ll be passing on the total here.

The Historicals

You can throw these out the window as these teams haven’t played each other over the past 3 years. For those who care, the Falcons are 7-5 ATS vs. the NYG since 1992, 6-6 straight up and 9 of the last 11 matchups have gone UNDER. The Gmen have gone 3-1 against the spread at Atlanta over that span.

Injury Concerns

The Giants come into this one relatively healthy with only T Nate Solder questionable. The return of Evan Engram from a knee injury only bolsters their offensive strength as he’s one of the best in the business when on the field.

The Falcons continue to be weak at the defensive backfield as Neal, Jones and Allen are all out on the IR. Kicker Matt Bryant is doubtful with a hammy (this could be an important variable) and Devonta Freeman is on IR. Calvin Ridley is coming off an ankle issue but is expected to suit up.

When New York Has the Ball

It’s no secret that Atlanta gives it up to pass catching running backs. I expect it to be the Saquon Barkley show tonight. If the Birds try to spend extra resources to stop Saquon, Eli Manning has a multitude of weapons to go to including Odell Beckham, Shepard and TE Evan Engram. The big question is how effective will Eli Manning be? It’s quite possible (and even probable) that Atl’s secondary is so bad, that we won’t see “Bad Eli” tonight.

When Atlanta Has the Ball

They can’t run so I expect a ton of passing. The Giants will likely struggle to stop them as well. NY has shown very little pressure on the QB this season as they only have managed to sack the QB 7 times. I expect lots of points in this game but a lot has to go right to top tonight’s total of 53 and that’s too risky of a proposition. I wish there was more to report here, but there’s not. Tevin Coleman is a respectable back, but not a gamebreaker. Ito Smith is more of a goal line puncher and isn’t expected to make much of a difference where the Falcons OL lacks the ability to open holes. They’re built to pass protect.

Betting Trends

  • The Giants are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 after an ATS loss.
  • The NYG are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
  • The Gmen are 13-6-2 ATS in their last 21 games after losing by 10+ at home.
  • Atl is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games.
  • The Falcons are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
  • he Falcons are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
  • Atl is 1-7 ATS in their last 8 October games.
  • UNDER is 9-1-1 in the last 12 matchups between these teams, but it should be noted they haven’t played each other in many years.

Weather Report

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a dome, but it has a retractable roof which is expected to be OPEN for Monday Night Football. Temps in Atlanta are dandy today with sunshine and a high of 67 degrees. It should be in the mid to high 50’s at kickoff.

Kevin’s Pick to Cover the Spread

The Gmen are tough to figure out. To make matters more confusing, they have played better on the road this season. I see tonight’s game playing out with Saquon Barkley being used at an astronomical level as the Falcons give up massive production to pass catching running backs. Saquon averaged 10 on the ground and 10 per reception last weekend and there’s no reason he won’t achieve close to the same success tonight, vs. a Falcons team with a putrid defense.

I like how the sportsbooks have conveniently built in the hook (3.5) for themselves and held their position, despite the game being one-sided by public bettors. I’m betting the Giants heavily tonight. Note: A reader dropped us a line advising that THIS line can be found at +4.5 at Bovada Sportsbook! Credit cards work there and you get a 50% bonus up to $250 FREE as well!

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