Giants-Falcons MNF Betting Preview: Which Struggling Team Is Undervalued?
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Julio Jones, Saquon Barkley
Betting odds: New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons
- Spread: Falcons -3.5
- Over/Under: 53
- Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN
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Betting market: Most of the action had been on the Falcons early in the week, as they moved from -3.5 to as high as -6 at some books. But a reverse line move on the Giants came in on Thursday morning, dropping the line back down.
Trends to know: Matt Ryan has dominated prime time. He’s 19-9 ATS, making him the second-most profitable prime-time quarterback for bettors since he was drafted in 2008. (Russell Wilson has been the best QB in this spot.)
Ryan is 12-4 ATS at home in prime time, covering the last five of such games
Eli Manning has now been listed as an underdog in 13 consecutive games (including Monday). No other quarterback has been listed as an underdog more than 10 times over that span. — Evan Abrams
Tony Corrente will be the head official on Monday night. The under is 90-68 (57%) in games he’s officiated, making him the most profitable referee to the under in the Bet Labs database.
Penalties could explain the success of under bets in Corrente’s games. According to Pro Football Reference, Corrente’s crews have called penalties with fewer yards per game than the average crew in five of the last six seasons. — John Ewing
Biggest mismatch: Falcons pass offense vs. Giants secondary
The Falcons haven’t managed to limit opposing offenses this season, but Ryan & Co. have largely held up their end of the bargain. Their ninth-ranked scoring offense heading into Week 7 has made a living off big plays — Ryan has racked up 23 completions of 20-plus yards and leads all quarterbacks in air yards.
Meanwhile, the Giants are one of five defenses to have allowed at least 25 completions of 20-plus yards. One of the reasons why? New York doesn’t have a cornerback graded among Pro Football Focus’ top 30 defensive backs this season. — Ian Hartitz
Which team is healthier? Giants
The Giants will be without wide receiver Cody Latimer (hamstring, injured reserve) for the foreseeable future, but the good news is that they’re expected to welcome back starting tight end Evan Engram (knee).
Left tackle Nate Solder (neck), receiver Russell Shepard (neck) and defensive end Olivier Vernon (ribs) are the Giants’ only other question marks.
Meanwhile, the Falcons’ injury-riddled defense will welcome back run-stuffing defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (ankle). Wide receivers Mohamed Sanu (hip) and Calvin Ridley (ankle) will also suit up after previous concern while kicker Matt Bryant (hamstring) is out.
DFS edge: Saquon Barkley leads all running backs on DraftKings with a 25.6-point median projection. He’s hard to overlook in a matchup against a Falcons defense that can’t stop the run — the fourth-worst unit per PFF — or stop pass-catching running backs.
Barkley possesses 22% of the Giants’ target share, which should set up well against a defense allowing 8.83 receptions and 70.83 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs. — Justin Bailey
Prop to watch: Julio Jones to score touchdown (+110)
Five different Falcons have combined to catch 14 touchdowns through six weeks. That list does not include Jones, who has yet to find pay dirt in 2018.
I think that drought — which amazingly extends over his past 11 regular-season games — ends on Monday.
Jones has 708 receiving yards this season, which is the most of any wide receiver through six games without a receiving touchdown since the 1970 merger. The Alabama graduate loves the prime-time stage, especially at home. He has at least five receptions and 95 receiving yards in each of his last six home night games with four total touchdowns.
I think Ryan will look for Jones early and often against the Giants’ struggling pass defense. Jones will likely line up across cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who has allowed an NFL-high five receiving touchdowns in coverage this season. Jenkins has also given up the third-most receptions and receiving yards.
Jones is primed for a big night. — Abrams
Bet to watch: Falcons -3.5
The Falcons’ pass defense has been bad (29th in Football Outsiders’ pass DVOA), but three of Atlanta’s four losses have been by one score. The Falcons have also scored at least 36 points in two of those losses.
I think Atlanta makes it two straight wins at home against a Giants defense that’s been equally woeful against the pass (27th in DVOA) but not nearly as good on offense.
One measure of how teams stack up is common opponents: The Falcons lost to the Eagles by six points, the Giants lost to Philadelphia by 21; the Falcons beat the Panthers by seven, the Giants lost by two; the Falcons lost to the Saints by six, the Giants lost by 15.
That’s a +33 point differential in favor of the Falcons against common opponents with the Giants. — Chris Raybon
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.