New Orleans Saints (5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. New York Giants (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 9th, 2012, 4:25 p.m. EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
TV: FOX/DirecTV 715
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NO +5/NYG -5
Over/Under Total: 53.5
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When the NFL released the regular season schedule back in the Spring I’m sure a ton of people thought Sunday’s week 14 matchup of the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium would feature two teams fighting for homefield advantage in the NFC playoffs.
But here we are at week 14 and the reality is that the Saints have been virtually eliminated from the playoffs entirely, while the defending champion Giants are in the fight of their lives just to try and win the NFC East. Who would have thought?
New Orleans and their season with the “Bounty-gate” sanctions has been a disaster, and although they fought hard and overcame a lot, it all came crashing down on them last Thursday when Drew Brees threw five interceptions and the Saints lost to the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons, 23-13. Chalk it up to the lack of head coach Sean Peyton calling the plays, the pressure to carry a weak defense and the entire organization on his shoulders, or just the natural regression after a record-breaking season in 2011, but Brees has struggled all year long and his five picks on Thursday was the pinnacle of the Saints disappointing season of 2012.
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With four difficult games still remaining on the schedule (at NYG, at Dallas, home against NFC South rivals Tampa and Carolina), there’s nowhere for Brees and the Saints to hide, so they really have no other choice but to keep fighting on, starting this week in New York against the Giants.
The Giants are on a roller coaster of a ride this season as well, where one week they look like the World Champions that they earned last season (like last week in a 38-10 thrashing of Green Bay) only to follow it up with a fall-on-their-face performance in primetime where nothing goes right, like what happened on Monday Night Football last week against the Redskins, 17-16.
With only four weeks to play and just a slim one-game lead ahead of the Cowboys and Redskins in the NFC East, the Giants simply cannot afford to lay any more eggs this season, and another breakout performance against the Saints this Sunday will be necessary if the G-men have any hopes of defending their title in 2012.
Despite their disappointing loss on Monday Night in primetime, the Giants still opened Sunday’s game at home against New Orleans as 6-point favorites. With a few short-fuse fans, and a few short-memory bettors jumping on the Saints early the point spread has since dropped to Giants minus -5, with a few offshore sportsbooks falling all the way to -4.5 to try and counter the flood of Saints money at the window.
The over/under total opened at 53 and has held for the most part at most books, although there are several that have gone up the hook to 53.5 to take the chance at a push out of the equation on Sunday.
Offensively the Giants seem to be their own worst enemies this season, including Monday’s game when nine penalties at just about every key moment in the game cost them a win against the Redskins. On paper the Giants have to be smiling when they see that the Saints are still the NFL’s worst defense both in total yards (441 ypg) and against the run (154 ypg), so a balanced game-plan with a good 50-50 mix of Ahmad Bradshaw and Eli Manning could be just what the doctor ordered to get the Giants confidence back up following a let down in D.C. last week.
With an extra three days to prepare and heal up a dinged up offensive line, the Saints and Brees should be able to find some success on offense too, especially in the air where the Giants secondary has been giving up big yardage (245 ypg - 22nd) of late. New York does still possess a potent pass rush (30 sacks - 10th), so if New Orleans doesn’t give their running game enough looks (which has happened a lot this year, 92 ypg - 27th), it will open up Brees to that rush and cause him to continue to force throws and take on too much responsibility to try and win the game by himself.
Last year in late November the Saints crushed the Giants in the Superdome, 49-24, their third straight win over the G-men going back to the 2006 season. If you go back further to 2003 you’ll find that the Saints are 4-1 SU and ATS against the Giants, so if there’s a team that seems to have New York’s number these days the Saints would be the team.
But a look inside the betting trends should calm Giants fans fears, since the home team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings and the Saints are just 1-4 ATS in their last five trip to the Big Apple.
With the Saints weak defense and two offenses that are capable of putting up playstation-like scoring numbers the over would seem to be a solid wager, but ironically it’s actually the under that has cashed a lot of tickets in this series since the under is 5-0-1 in the last six meetings between these two in New York.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like this game to go UNDER the GIANT posted total of 53.5!
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