New York Giants (5-7) at San Diego Chargers (5-7)
The Chargers are in an incredibly tough situation this week because they have to face the Broncos a few days after this one in Denver on Thursday Night Football. That is undoubtedly the biggest game of their season. They’ll obviously not want to overlook the Giants here as they are in the midst of a playoff race, but it might be unavoidable. It’s going to be very, very hard for them to get up for a non-conference opponent they see every 4 years with that game up next.
The Chargers will almost definitely be double digit underdogs in Denver next week. The early line has them has 11 point underdogs and a few weeks ago they were underdogs of a touchdown at home against the Broncos (and failed to cover). Teams generally really struggle before being double digit underdogs because they get caught looking forward to such a big game. Teams are 34-71 ATS before being double digit underdogs since 2010.
The fact that this game is on Thursday Night Football doesn’t help matters. Favorites generally struggle before a Thursday game because they get caught looking forward, going 28-52 ATS in that situation since 2008, including 12-28 ATS before a divisional Thursday game. This is a near impossible situation for the Chargers to succeed in. I personally believe the Chargers are a better team than the Giants. The Chargers rank 12th in the NFL in rate of moving the chains differential, moving them at an 82% rate, as opposed to 80% for their opponents. The Giants, meanwhile, rank 27th, moving them at a 69% rate, as opposed to 73% for their opponents.
However, it’s not always about that. We’re getting more than a field goal here, which makes me more willing to take the Giants in spite of my personal opinions about these two teams. The Giants have been playing better football of late as their turnover problem has predictably corrected itself. They’ve won 5 of their last 6 and came close to beating Dallas. Granted none of those teams were very good, but it’s hard to argue the Chargers are significantly better. The Giants are also a dominant road team and have been since the beginning of the Tom Coughlin era in 2004. They are 34-19 ATS as road dogs in that time period. This is my Pick of the Week.
New York Giants 27 San Diego Chargers 20 Upset Pick +150
Pick against spread: NY Giants +3.5
Confidence: Pick of the Week