- Win Over/Under: 7 (-140/+120)
- Make NFC Playoffs: +280 (26%)
- Win NFC East: +500 (17%)
- Win NFC Championship: +1500 (6%)
- Win Super Bowl: +3000 (3.2%)
The Action Network’s Projected Wins: 6.62 (23rd)
Sharp bettors are loving them some New York Giants, and it’s not hard see why.
Over the past two years, new head coach Pat Shurmur helped Sam Bradford set the all-time record for completion percentage and Case Keenum finish second in ESPN’s Total QBR en route to the NFC Championship Game, while all Ben McAdoo managed to do was sport more godawful hairstyles and suspend more cornerbacks than the number of times he switched up the team’s offensive formation.
The offense adds Saquon Barkley, the best running back prospect in a decade, to a nasty skill-position corps of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. Former Patriot Nate Solder is also a huge upgrade at left tackle over Ereck Flowers (whose name just so happens to share the last four letters of the word “wreck”).
The defense gets coordinator James Bettcher, whose units finished among the top four in Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average in all three seasons under his watch. It also has a high-level pass-rusher in Olivier Vernon, run-stuffer in Damon “Snacks” Harrison, cornerback in Janoris Jenkins and safety in Landon Collins.
So the real question is: Is Eli Manning washed?
Considering that Eli has led the Giants to one winning season over the past five years but threw for 800 yards and six touchdowns in two games against the Super Bowl Champion Eagles in 2017, the most likely answer is: Not anymore washed than he’s been for a while.
Drafting Barkley at No. 2 overall was a bet on Eli being able to give the Giants another couple of years and, by relation, that drafting a player at an allegedly devalued position could be a viable win-now solution. History says it is.
All 10 teams to pick a running back in the top five since 2000 improved by an average of 5.0 wins the next season:
While more than half of those teams improved by at least five wins — which is what the Giants would need to reach their total — the value doesn’t seem to be there at 7 the way it did when it opened at 6.5.
There are a number of on-field issues: Flowers is still a projected starter, No. 2 corner Eli Apple is more like Eli Gateway and the linebackers have an uncanny ability to morph every opposing tight end into Rob Gronkowski.
The total also has major juice on the over, and despite finishing in last place, the Giants face one of the league’s toughest schedules.
They are a trendy longshot Super Bowl pick, but most of the value has been bet out of that, too, with payouts being sliced by half or more since open.
I’d look at the playoffs and division odds for value instead.
No team has won the NFC East in back-to-back years since 2003-2004, and if the Eagles suffer from regression, it’s hard to argue that the Giants are in much worse of a position to capitalize on that than the Cowboys or Redskins would be — especially since New York might have gone from having the worst coach in the division to the second-best. – Chris Raybon
Raybon’s Bets: Win NFC East, Make NFC Playoffs
A Case for Over 7 Wins
The Giants were a playoff team two seasons ago before they were decimated by injuries and submarined by awful coaching.
With Beckham, Engram, Shepherd and Co. already on board — and Solder and Barkley joining them — the offense should be much improved. The defense also adds Alec Ogletree, who should be solid at linebacker.
This team would really have to fall apart not to win eight games under Shurmur. — BlackJack Fletcher
BlackJack’s Bet: Over 7 Wins
New York Giants 2018 Schedule
- Games Favored: 3
- Avg. Spread: +2.8
- Strength of Schedule: 28th (1 = Easiest, 32 = Hardest)
Survivor Pool 101
- Use the Giants: Week 8 vs. WAS, Week 11 vs. TB
- Use Giants’ opponents: Week 12 @ PHI
Fantasy Football Outlook
- Top Picks: RB Saquon Barkley, WR Odell Beckham Jr.
- Sleeper: WR Sterling Shepard
Best of “I’ll Take That Bet” on ESPN+
“We have noticeable support on the Giants to win the division and to win the Super Bowl. We moved them from 80-1 to 30-1 to win the title, and we’re still getting money on the 30-1. Just like last year, there’s a lot of support on the over for New York, and we moved them from 6.5 to 7.”
— Westgate bookmaker Jeff Sherman to The Action Network’s Michael Leboff
Odell Beckham Over/Under 7.5 Touchdowns? (-125/+105)
This might be a better line if it was only for touchdowns on which Odell doesn’t get flagged for an unsportsmanlike celebration penalty, but he’s recorded 9.5 touchdowns per season even when you include his injury-shortened 2017 campaign (in which he still scored three times in four games).
Sean Koerner’s projections have Beckham at 8.7 touchdowns. — Chris Raybon
The Bet: Over 7.5 touchdowns
Eli + OBJ = Stacked DFS Lineup
You down with OBJ? Manning definitely is.
According to the FantasyLabs NFL Trends tool, the 37-year-old quarterback has averaged an additional five DraftKings points per game (and the offense has averaged an additional 5.8 points) with Beckham on the field since 2014.
In fact, Eli-Beckham is one of the best stacks in the league: According to the FantasyLabs Correlations Dashboard, the Giants’ 0.62 positive correlation between quarterback and No. 1 wide receiver over the past four years far surpasses the league-average mark of 0.45. — Ian Hartitz