Giants-Panthers Betting Preview: Can Anyone Contain Christian McCaffrey?

Giants-Panthers Betting Preview: Can Anyone Contain Christian McCaffrey? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey

Betting odds: New York Giants at Carolina Panthers

  • Spread: Panthers -6.5
  • Over/Under: 43.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: Not every sportsbook is in agreement on this one, as the line sits at 6.5 or 7, depending on where you bet. The line opened at 6.5, went down to 6, then up to 7 for two days, then back down to 6.5 on Wednesday night.

The Giants are getting approximately 30% of the bets and 50% of the dollars as of writing (see live data here). The line move from +7 to +6.5 clearly shows that some larger bets have come in on them. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Teams coming off a bye have been historically profitable. Since 2003, NFL teams with 14 or more days between games have gone 231-198-12 (54%) against the spread, according to our Bet Labs data. (The Panthers were on a bye in Week 4.)

Surprisingly, Cam Newton is only 2-4 ATS following a bye in his career. John Ewing

Newton has been money — on the moneyline — in this spot throughout his career.

When favored by more than a field goal with Newton under center, the Panthers are 28-6 straight up but only 17-16-1 ATS, including 18-3 SU when facing an opponent under .500.

On the moneyline, Newton is the fourth-most profitable quarterback since his debut in 2011. Against the spread, he’s right in the middle of the pack, profiting bettors a little more than a full unit. Evan Abrams

If you are looking for a small edge with Newton at home, he’s a career 60% winner ATS at home, but that increases to 63.6% in the first half.

He’s the most-profitable QB against the first-half spread at home in his career. — Abrams

Matchup to watch: Giants vs. Panthers in the trenches

As always with the Giants, it comes down to the offensive line play — which directly impacts a fading Eli Manning more than ever. While some thought the G Men addressed some of their issues with the offseason addition of Nate Solder, the right side of the line has been a disaster.

Not only is Manning on pace to be sacked 60 times in 2018, but the offensive line ranks 31st in run blocking according to Football Outsiders. The Panthers rank first.

On the other side of the ball, the Giants defense is tied for the fewest sacks in the league with five. Getting Olivier Vernon back will help some, but the rest of the unit needs to step up; it doesn’t matter what kind of talent you have in the secondary if you can’t get pressure on the quarterback. Stuckey

Metrics that matter: Punters are people, too! And Michael Palardy, who just signed a three-year extension, has been flipping field position beautifully with his boot this season. The Panthers punter has only allowed 25 total punt return yards so far.

His leg could be huge against a Giants offense struggling to move the ball. Stuckey

Biggest mismatch: Giants linebackers vs. Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey

Alec Ogletree, Ray-Ray Armstrong and B.J. Goodson all have below-average pass-coverage grades from Pro Football Focus, which could be detrimental against an elite pass-catching running back like McCaffrey, who leads the Panthers with 27.5% of their target share.

Overall, the three linebackers have been targeted 41 times and have given up 32 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns while making just one interception. Justin Bailey

Speaking of linebackers, the Giants’ run defense has struggled all season, allowing the seventh-most yards per rush (4.8) in the NFL.

That spells doom against an elite Panthers rushing offense that leads the league with 166 yards per game and ranks third with a stellar 5.5 yards per rush. Stuckey

Which team is healthier? Panthers

The Panthers won’t have tight end Greg Olsen (foot) for another week, but right guard Trai Turner and wide receiver Curtis Samuel are tentatively expected to return.

The Giants are also without their starting tight end, as Evan Engram (knee) isn’t expected to play until Week 6 at the earliest. It remains to be seen whether cornerback Eli Apple (groin) and Vernon (ankle) will return, but wide receiver Sterling Shepard’s back injury at least appears to be minor.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: McCaffrey owns one of the highest floors among all positions. His 22.7 touches per game rank third among running backs this season. On top of his significant cut of the Panthers’ target share, he also has 32% of their red-zone opportunities.

CMC should thrive against the Giants’ porous run defense. He boasts the fourth-highest median projections in FantasyLabs’ Player Models, and his +3.45 Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings is the second-best mark. Bailey

Bet to watch: Panthers -6.5

The Panthers have the best rushing attack in the NFL, including what Newton can do with this legs.

On quarterback-designed runs and on plays he keeps the ball on a read, he’s averaging 5.76 yards per attempt. The Giants defense is awful against the run, and even worse against what Cam does best, allowing 14 (!!!) yards per attempt on these types of runs. Yikes. The Panthers will run all over the Giants.

Add in the Giants offense — which is blah and can’t manage any explosive plays in the passing game — and I love the Panthers in this spot. Geoff Schwartz

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.