New York Giants (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1 SU, 0-3 ATS)
NFL Week 4
Date/Time: Sunday, September 30th, 2012, 8:20 p.m. EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NYG +2/Philly -2
Over/Under Total: 46.5
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The NFC East is back in primetime again when the defending champion New
York Giants take on the Philadelphia Eagles at
Lincoln Financial Field on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in America.
With the Giants and Eagles both in a three-way tie atop the standings with Dallas, the winner won’t get sole possession of the division, but it never hurts to gain an early advantage in the race by winning the first meeting in the annual two-game series.
The Giants will have had 10 days to prepare for the rivalry game Sunday, since they took Carolina to the woodshed, 36-7, back on Thursday Night on the road in Charlotte. New York showcased some depth in the win over the Panthers, with RB Andre Brown (113 yards, 2 TD) and WR Ramses Barden (138 yards) both having breakout games in place of injured starters Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks.
Meanwhile, the Eagles will be coming back to “the Linc” to lick their wounds after suffering their first defeat to the hands of the surprising Arizona Cardinals, 27-6, last weekend. Philly finally paid for all of their turnovers on offense, losing to the Cards in lopsided fashion on the road when three fumbles (one returned for a score) turned into a 24-0 halftime lead that was insurmountable in the second half.
Oddsmakers set the opening point spread with the Eagles as 1-point favorites at home, but after a few hours of going live the number jumped to minus -2 at most of the offshore sportsbooks on the Web. If you live in the Las Vegas area you might get stuck (or not stuck, depending on your perspective) with Philly minus -2.5, since most of the properties in Vegas have added the hook onto the number as well.
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The over/under total opened at 47 and is still holding at the number at a few of the offshore books. Most of the other sportsbooks around have dropped the number to 46.5 to take the push out of play, and there are a few 46s if you look hard enough or want to pay a little extra juice.
Offensively you would think that the Eli Manning-vs.-Michael Vick showdown at QB would take top billing in this matchup, but that isn’t the case this week. In fact, there was actually talk in Philly this week about benching Vick in favor of rookie Nick Foles. Sure Vick has been a turnover machine in the early going this season, but going with the rook in a rivalry game with the Giants would be a terrible decision by Andy Reid and his staff and Reid backed off the idea himself in his Tuesday press conference with the media.
It also should be noted that the LeSean McCoy tit-for-tat with Osi Umenyiora has picked back up this week, with McCoy calling Umenyiora a ballerina and Umenyiora basically telling him he could hear him because he had two Super Bowl rings in his ears. Simply put, these two teams don’t like each other and with the replacement refs losing control of just about every game every week, I wouldn’t be surprised if yellow hankies are flying everywhere on Sunday night.
Both offenses have had little trouble moving the ball up and down the field (NYG 426 ypg – 3rd; Phil. 417 ypg – 5th), the huge difference has been turnovers which has cost Philly a ton of points (15.7 ppg -32nd) while the G-men are among the leaders in the NFL (31 ppg – 4th).
Injuries will also have a big role on Sunday Night, as Philly will be waiting to see if LT King Dunlap (hamstring – questionable) and WR Jeremy Maclin (hip – questionable) will play this week. While the G-men will be waiting on Bradshaw (neck -questionable), Hicks (foot – questionable), T David Diehl (knee – questionable), S Antrel Rolle (knee – questionable) and CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring – questionable) as game time decisions.
Both defenses are built to stop the other team’s strengths too, with Philly loaded in the secondary to stop the pass (allowing just 173 ypg – 3rd), and the Giants loaded along the defensive front to contain Vick and make him beat them with long drives (i.e. let Vick self-destruct).
The Eagles have been a big torn in the Giants side in recent years, winning seven of the last eight games in the series. The Giants did win and cover the spread on the road at the Linc last year (29-16, as 9-point dogs), but that’s the only SU win and ATS win since 2008. Otherwise its been all Philly, straight up (7-3 SU in L10) and at the window (7-3 ATS in L10).
A look at the betting trends shows that the Eagles have been a solid pick in the NFC East, going 5-0 ATS in their last five games in the division. But the underdog has dominated the series, going 13-3 ATS in the last 16 head-to-head meetings and the road team has enjoyed sticking it to the home team (road team is 8-2 ATS in L10).
The familiarity with teams in the NFC East has also caused the under to cash a lot, with the under going 6-0-1 in Philly’s last 7 versus the NFC East teams and 5-1 in the G-men’s last 6 in the NFC East.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m expecting both teams to start out playing it safe, Philly because they can’t afford to turn the ball over anymore and New York because they’re on the road in hostile territory. The Giants won’t play as good as they did last week at Carolina, and the Eagles won’t play as bad as they did in Arizona, so I’m expecting something in the middle from both. I’m going to play it safe and go with the trend, taking the under in a 24-20 or 21-17 type of game. Take the under of 46.5.
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