Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) at New York Giants (6-2)
Last week, the Giants won in Dallas in the exact type of game they normally win. They are now 18-7 ATS as road favorites under Tom Coughlin. On the road in general, they are 50-25 ATS under Tom Coughlin, as opposed to 34-38 ATS at home. As home favorites of more than 3, which they are this week, they are 18-26 ATS under Tom Coughlin. This is the exact type of game they normally have trouble with.
This is also the exact time of year they struggle. The Giants are now 53-19 in the first half of the season under Tom Coughlin, but they are also just 27-37 in the 2nd half of the season. Looking at their schedule, we could see something similar happen. This week, after a tough game with the Steelers, they go to Cincinnati, host the Packers, go to Washington, host the Saints, go to Atlanta, go to Baltimore, and host the Eagles. As home favorite of more than 3 after week 8, Tom Coughlin is 5-15 ATS.
Meanwhile, we’re also getting line value with the Steelers. The rate of sustaining drives differential method suggests this line should be New York -4.5, while the points per play differential method suggests this line should be Pittsburgh -1.5. If we average those out, we get New York -1.5, so we’re getting 2 points of line value with the Steelers. We’re also getting the Steelers in a good spot. Dogs before being favorites are 86-49 ATS since 2011. They host Kansas City next week.
Given all this, you might think I’m going to take the Steelers. Well, it was going to, until I found out that because of the hurricane, the Steelers will not be able to stay in a hotel in the North Jersey area before the game, which means they’ll have to fly in Sunday Morning to play this afternoon game. That puts them at a huge disadvantage in terms of game prep for a team that already has had its share of struggles on the road over the past couple years (not as much as dogs). They’re also pretty banged up as Troy Polamalu is out once again and Ryan Clark looks like he’ll join him. I don’t love the Giants or anything, but I can’t take the Steelers.
Public lean: Pittsburgh (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if NY Giants covers)
Sharps lean: PIT 14 NYG 4
Final update: The sharps like Pittsburgh and I get it, but I can’t take the Steelers given that they have to travel on game day. I don’t like the Giants much either, but they’re the pick here, gun to my head. Also, some good news on the injury front for the Giants. Kenny Phillips is expected to return this week. Stevie Brown played very well in his absence, but because Antrel Rolle moves to corner on passing downs, 3 safeties usually get significant action for them on a weekly basis, so having Phillips back, with Brown playing well, is a good thing. Also for Pittsburgh, Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall are both expected to miss this week, meaning Isaac Redman will get the start at running back. They’ve played well in their last few weeks because they’ve run the ball well, but when they haven’t this year, they’ve typically lost.
New York Giants 26 Pittsburgh Steelers 20
Pick against spread: NY Giants -3.5 (-110) 1 unit