Sep 272013

New York Giants (0-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

The Giants are an NFL worst -9 in turnovers, while the Chiefs are an NFL best +9 in turnovers. Therefore, the Chiefs should dominate the turnover battle and win this game right? Well, that’s not necessarily true. Turnover margin tends to be very inconsistent on a week to week (and year to year) basis. For example, teams who win the turnover battle by 4 one week, on average, have a turnover margin of +0.0 the following week. Teams who lose the turnover battle by 4 one week, same thing, an average of+0.0 the following week.

Alex Smith has yet to throw an interception on 105 attempts this year, but that’s not going to continue. He simply hasn’t really been tested and, as a result, hasn’t had to make a lot of high risk throws. He’s attempted just 18 of 105 passes more than 10 yards through the air and just 4 more than 20 yards through the air. He also hasn’t completed a single pass outside the hash marks longer than 10 yards downfield all season.

Eli Manning, meanwhile, has thrown an interception on 7.0% of his pass attempts, which also won’t continue. This is a guy who has thrown an interception on 3.3% of his 4571 career pass attempts. This stretch is just a fluke and a lot of the interceptions haven’t been his fault. The Giants are also unlikely to continue recovering just 22.2% of fumbles all season, while the Chiefs are also unlikely to recover just 85.7% of fumbles all season. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Giants won the turnover battle in this one. As a result, I feel the Giants are undervalued, while the Chiefs are overvalued.

The Giants are also in a good spot as road dogs coming off of a road loss, a situation teams are 89-54 ATS in since 2008. Teams recover in this situation about 65% of the time historically, regardless of what year you use to cut off your sample size. They’re also coming off of a blowout loss, losing 38-0 in Carolina last week. Teams are 43-22 ATS since 2002 off of a 35+ point loss. Teams tend to be undervalued, overlooked, and embarrassed in that situation. That’s very likely the case here. The Giants are 0-3 here and their season is pretty much over if they lose, while the Chiefs, who are 3-0, could overlook them.

The Giants have also historically been a better road team than home team, going 50-31 ATS on the road since 2004, the start of the Tom Coughlin/Eli Manning era. They are especially good as road dogs, going 32-18 ATS in that situation in the aforementioned time frame. This team has always thrived when overlooked and when nobody believes in them and I think that’s definitely the case this week. They’re especially good as road dogs early in the season, going 17-7 ATS as road dogs before week 10 since 2004.

They’re generally a better team in the first half of the season anyway. Since 2004, the same season as Eli Manning became the starter, the Giants are 53-22 in the first 8 games of the season and 30-42 in the second 8 games of the season. Clearly that hasn’t been the case here so far this season, but I think it’s still worth noting. The Giants starting a season 0-4 would be pretty ridiculous considering their history. It’s not my primary reason for taking them here, but it works well with everything else I’ve mentioned.

We’re not getting a ton of line value here, with the Chiefs only as 4.5 point favorites, but I think the odds makers are keeping the line intentionally low as a kind of trap line, and the majority of the action is on the Chiefs. That just reinforces my belief that the Giants are the right side and fortunately this line has passed the critical numbers of 3 and 4. That’s important because 29% of NFL games are decided by 4 points or less. That’s a pretty good cushion with the Giants in case they can’t win. As long as this line is 4.5 points or higher, it’s my Pick of the Week.

New York Giants 24 Kansas City Chiefs 17 Upset Pick +175

Pick against spread: NY Giants +4.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

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