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Commanders vs Giants Picks and Sunday Night Football Betting Predictions

Commanders vs Giants Picks and Sunday Night Football Betting Predictions article feature image
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Pictured: Daniel Jones. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Giants vs Commanders Odds

Sunday, Dec. 18
8:20 p.m. ET
NBC
Giants Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+4.5
-110
40.5
-105o / -115u
+176
Commanders Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-4.5
-110
40.5
-105o / -115u
-210
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

These teams just played in Week 13, with New York covering the 2.5-point spread at home in a 20-20 tie. The under (40.5) was preserved after Giants kicker Graham Gano missed a game-winning field goal as time expired in overtime.

The rematch is set to take place at FedEx Field, but the last time Washington covered at home against the Giants, its team name was still the Redskins.

Giants vs. Commanders Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Giants and Commanders match up statistically:

Giants vs. Commanders DVOA Breakdown
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 14 9
Pass DVOA 10 14
Rush DVOA 14 4
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 27 29
Pass DVOA 29 26
Rush DVOA 25 31

It took a while, but I think we’ve finally reached the point where the market is overvaluing Taylor Heinicke and the Commanders — and, once again, undervaluing the Giants.

If the line closes -4 or higher, it would represent the largest spread of the season for the Commanders as a favorite. Mind you, this is against a Giants team they failed to cover against in their last game while needing a late touchdown just to force overtime before getting bailed out by Gano’s first and only missed field goal from 50-plus yards in six tries.


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Heinicke has led the Commanders to a 5-1-1 record (5-2 ATS) in his seven starts, but there are a plethora of signs that point to him being unable to sustain this level of play over the long term.

For one, Heinicke holds the dubious honor of being tied with Zach Wilson for the league lead in rate of turnover-worthy throws (5.7%), yet he has thrown only five interceptions on 212 pass attempts (2.4%). That’s still not a great interception rate, but it could be a lot worse, and these things tend to revert strongly to the mean.

Heinicke has also benefitted from the lowest drop rate in the league at 0.8%. While that is a testament to the Commanders’ pass-catchers, it’s also highly unsustainable.

For context, consider that every one of the 38 other quarterbacks with at least 110 pass attempts have endured a drop rate of at least triple that. Despite this, Heinicke has managed to post a lower completion rate (61.8%) and touchdown rate (4.2%) than Carson Wentz (62.1%, 4.3%) while ranking 27th in QBR, only five spots ahead of Wentz.

To be sure, Heinicke undoubtedly has an intangible edge on Wentz as far as  being well-liked, providing a “spark” and that sort of thing, but the fact remains the perceived difference between Heinicke and his predecessor — who went 2-4 SU and ATS — is far greater than the actual difference.

I bring up Wentz only because I think the difference in perception between he and Heinicke is a big reason why this number is so big, but obviously the even more relevant comparison is Heinicke versus Daniel Jones. I think Jones gets the edge, especially when getting points.

Consider that Jones has led the Giants to 0.009 EPA per play (17th) and 0.061 EPA per dropback (16th), both of which are superior to the Washington offense with Heinicke, which is averaging -0.009 EPA per play and 0.051 EPA per dropback (21st), per RBsDM.com.

In the first matchup, it was Jones who had a better passer rating (104.3 to 101.2) and added another dimension on the ground (12 carries, 71 yards vs. 2 carries, 6 yards for Heinicke).

Washington has a talent edge on defense, but the Giants coaching staff is excellent at masking their deficiencies, to the point where both units end up achieving similar results in key areas.

Per Pro Football Reference, the Giants are fifth in pressure rate (24.0%), seventh in third-down conversion rate allowed (36.5%) and fifth in red-zone conversion rate allowed (51.0%), while the Commanders are fourth in pressure (24.7%) and third on third downs (33.1%), though they are closer to league-average in the red zone (54.8%, 14th). 

Betting Picks

The recent timing of the Commanders’ luck-aided hot streak, compared to that of the Giants’, which came earlier on, has distorted the perception enough for me to show value on New York.

The Giants are 7-2 ATS as underdogs this season (with five outright wins) and covered two weeks ago against the Commanders. Additionally, both home field and the bye tend to be overvalued. Per our Action Labs data, road dogs of +4 or more have gone 22-7 (76%) ATS at FedEx Field since 2004, while divisional home favorites off a bye are just 31-38-2 (45%) ATS since 2003.

History suggests we should get a great effort from a Giants squad itching to bounce back from getting blown out last week. Dogs coming off a loss of 20 or more points have gone 107-69-3 (61%) ATS since 2017.

As much success as Heinicke has had against the spread, he’s 0-2 ATS when going head-to-head with Jones, who has led the Giants to a 14-5 ATS mark in his career as a road underdog, including 5-1 ATS against NFC East opponents.

And when the Giants have been a road dogs by fewer than eight points with Jones at the helm, they are an absurd 11-1 ATS, covering by an average of 3.6 points per game.

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