By Charles Jay
The New York Giants haven’t had a lot of success lately, losing four games in a row. But for a while, things looked promising, as they had a 2-2 record after replacing Eli Manning with rookie Daniel Jones. Even though he has turned the ball over 13 times, you can’t necessarily fault Jones completely for this losing streak, any more than you could fault Manning for the team’s 35-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the season opener.
When you wager on the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest at BetAnySports, they have a prop called “reversal of fortune” in which you are, in effect, betting on whether one of the competitors uh, loses his lunch, so to speak. But please understand that when we talk about “reversal of fortune” for the Giants, it’s a whole different thing.
With their rookie quarterback running the offense, what has changed in the dynamic between these two teams? This is something that will be explored here, and then in full once the action gets underway at 8:15 PM ET at MetLife Stadium in the Jersey Meadowlands.
We’ll remind you that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you not only get reduced juice, which will supply you with better odds, you also get the opportunity to place wagers in real time with Sports Betting Ultra.
This is what the Monday Night Football numbers look like, as they are posted with reduced juice:
Dallas Cowboys -7 (+105)
New York Giants +7 (-115)
Over 48.5 points (-108)
Under 48.5 points (-102)
When you look at this game, one can see a few differences in terms of the landscape from when they met in the season opener, which resulted in a 35-17 Dallas victory which helped to seal the fate of Eli Manning.
And maybe a look back at what happened might be instructive. We have done it with the help of some of the advanced metrics compiled by Sharp Football Stats.
The perception is that Dallas rolled to a victory in a game where the Giants were completely dominated. Well, yes and no. When you examine the way things played out on offense, you might be a little surprised to see that the percentage of “successful” plays on the part of each team was about even – in fact, New York had a 56%-55% advantage. And the average first down rate was the same, as was, interestingly enough, the number of explosive plays for each team. The Giants racked up thirteen first downs ON first down.
Dallas exhibited more balance, as the Giants threw the ball a whopping 74% of the time. The problem experienced by Manning & Co. was that although they averaged 6.5 yards per pass attempt, it was only a little more than half what the Cowboys were averaging (12.7), behind a quarterback (Dak Prescott) who threw only seven incompletions and registered a perfect passer rating (158.3). And that even though had 89 total rushing yards, it was the idea that they were a threat to run it with Ezekiel Elliott, who had just ended his holdout, that prevented the New York defense from overplaying the pass. And that Giants defense was most definitely the real problem. Or at least one of them.
You couldn’t really complain about what the Giants were doing on the ground, as they averaged almost seven yards a carry and had 65% “success.” Saquon Barkley had 120 yards. But obviously they felt they had eventually gotten behind the eight ball to an extent that they had to chuck the run. It CAN work for them, however.
The Giants will be without wide receiver Sterling Shepard for this game. He was not able to get cleared through the concussion protocol, and while that is something that does not play to their advantage, it appears the guy who was able to exploit the Dallas secondary the first time around was the tight end, Evan Engram, who had eleven receptions for 116 yards. Barkley has 22 catches this season. They have to get him more involved in the passing game. And Jones has to get the ball out quickly, as he doesn’t have a great pass-blocking group, although this Dallas pass rush has not been overly impressive (17 sacks, and only 3.5 from DeMarcus Lawrence).
Can the Giants possibly run the ball more often? Well, it is easy to preach that when you have someone like Barkley, but hard to stick to it. They have run the football less than 35% of the time. Only three teams have run it with less frequency – Miami, Atlanta and Cincinnati – and what they all have in common is that the average deficit they have faced is among the top five (or bottom five, if you will) in the NFL. So they have been in the position where they’ve had to throw.
One of the big differences between these teams in the first meeting was the way they performed in the red zone. The Giants simply didn’t stop Dallas, while at the same time gaining an average of just 2.4 yards per play when they were inside the Cowboys’ 20.
Have they improved? Well, they are 18th in the league when it comes to converting red zone opportunities, so while they aren’t the worst, they are not formidable there either. And one thing I found to be interesting is that there is a 4.5-to-1 ratio of touchdowns to field goals on the part of the Giants, and that is by far the most pronounced difference in the NFL. And it has led me to take a stab at a prop here, for total points by kicker Aldrick Rosas, who would probably have to boot two field goals to reach the total of seven (-170 for the under). That is, unless the Giants just went off on a touchdown stampede.
Keep in mind that when we explore the stats from the first meeting, that is before Jones became the starting QB. It would seem kind of a strange question as to whether he is better for this team at this time than Manning, because conventional wisdom is that since he was going to inherit the job anyway, it might as well have started early this year. We can only say that Jones, who has 13 turnovers (7 INT’s and six fumbles) threw four touchdown passes last week against Detroit, and that they have a lot of faith in him in the building.
I guess if you were to push me to one side or another here, I would have to give the edge to Dallas, which is -7 at BetAnySports but 6.5 in the WagerWAR odds (at -110). The so-called “sharp” money bought the game at +7 and moved it a half-point in many places. At BAS, they kept it at seven but changed the price tag (+105 with reduced juice). With the Giants allowing 70% completions and 8.5 yards a pass, I don’t know what they are going to do to slow down Dallas.
At the same time, the Giants probably have enough openings to get some offense going here, especially if they can run the ball and not get far behind early. In other words, they will score enough for us to see this game go OVER the total. And that is my main play as we continue with WagerWAR, which is powered by the great folks at PPHVIP.
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