New York Giants (6-8 SU, 9-5-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (9-5 SU, 11-3 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: December 27th, 8:30 PM ET
Where: TCF Bank Stadium
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: NYG +6/ MINN -6
Over/Under Total: 46
The New York Giants will be without one of its best players when they travel to Minnesota in this week 16 Sunday Night Game of the Week. Last Sunday, the Giants lost 38-35 to Carolina as 4.5-point home underdogs. The Panthers outgained the Giants 480-406 and took advantage of poor special teams play by gaining 126 in return yards. Eli Manning completed 29-of-46 passes, 245 passing yards, and four touchdowns. He scored 31 fantasy points with Odell Beckham catching 6 balls for 76 yards and one touchdown. Beckham has been suspended one game and his status is pending an appeal. The Vikings are coming off an impressive victory, winning 38-17 against the Bears as 4-point home chalk. Minnesota outgained the Bears 350-293 and enjoyed a plus +2 turnover differential. The Vikings are a very impressive 10-4 ITS (in the stats) this season. The Giants are the exact opposite at 4-10 ITS through week 15.
This current line reflects that Vegas believes Beckham will not win his appeal. His suspension will be upheld and Odell be OUT for this game. The advance line was the Vikings at minus -4 before word of the suspension. So the odds-makers think the superstar receiver is worth 2 points. Another factor in this game is the poorest Giants’ defense. They are ranked dead last (32nd) in yards allowed per game at 423. The Vikings’ defense started hot but, have been trending down in the last third of the season. The Vikings’ defense is allowing 342.2 yards per game, which ranks No. 13 in all of football. Injuries at linebacker have contributed to the decline. Mike Zimmer is a great defensive coach and deserves a lot of credit this season. The Under is 3-10-1 in all Vikings’ games this season.
The big advantage for the Giants will be on offense and turnover differential. New York is ranked 12th, averaging 363.6 yards per game. On the flip side, the host is ranked 28th, averaging 323.5 yards per game. It will be important for the Vikings to keep the Giants within reach throughout the game. If the Giants can get a big lead, the Vikings could be in trouble considering they are ranked 31st in passing yards. Even without Beckham, the Giants have a passing game that can strike in a matter of minutes, like they did last Sunday by scoring 28 points in the second half. The Giants have a plus +9 turnover differential, while the Vikings are plus +2. A backdoor cover is always possible with the Giants, as they scored 21 fourth-quarter points to bring home the cash last week.
These two teams have been kind to bettors and their bankrolls. The Giants and Vikings are a combined 20-8-1 ATS this season. The ticket count is favoring the Vikings right now and the public is backing them at a 60/40 clip as of Tuesday at 8:00 PM E. I would expect this line to go down as the “wise guys’ will see value with the Giants in this spot. If you like the underdog, than get down ASAP. I think Dwayne Harris will step up in place of Beckham and thus we are getting some value with this line. The Giants have one of the worst pass defenses, but the Vikings are averaging just 191.9 passing yards, and will look to play a more conservative style with a lot of running plays and screens. Adrian Peterson is listed as probable after recovering from a sprained ankle. They might pull him in the second half to keep him fresh for the playoffs. The Vikings are most likely locked into a wild card spot. Although, Minnesota faces the Packers in a big revenge game at Green Bay next week which could be for the division title.
The Giants are 5-1 ATS in their last six games after allowing more than 350 yards in their previous game. The Giants are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games in December. The Vikings are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games vs. teams with a losing record. The Vikings are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games in December. The Vikings are 30-16 ATS in all games over the last three seasons. Those trends and Beckham’s suspension are two reasons why the public will be on the home team. I think it’s a trap!
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New York Giants +6
The Giants have been great as underdogs this season (4-1 ATS) and the offense should be able to score enough points to keep this one close. The Vikings have to be thinking about its big revenge game next week at Green Bay. Expect frigid temperatures for this nationally televised battle, which will affect the kicking games for both squads. I’ll take the Giants plus the points in this spot.
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