New York Giants (4-7) at Washington Redskins (3-8)
I’m torn on this one. On one hand, this line seems pretty off at first glance. The Giants aren’t significantly better than the Redskins, which is what this line would suggest, as the Giants are favored in Washington. The Redskins were favored by 1.5 points last week in the early line, so the line has essentially shifted 3 points in a week as a result of the Redskins’ very public blowout loss to the 49ers at home. The Redskins didn’t look good, but they still might be a better team than the Giants.
They are moving the chains at a 75% rate, as opposed to 78% for their opponents, a differential that is 22nd in the NFL. The Giants, on the other hand, are moving the chains at a 68% rate, as opposed to 73% for their opponent, which ranks 28th. This suggests the Redskins should be favored by 4.5 points. Even if the Giants are a better team than the Redskins, it’s hard to make the argument that they’re 4.5 points better, which is what them being favored by 1.5 points on the road suggests. Football Outsiders backs this up as the Giants are just 26th in DVOA, while the Redskins are 29th. That’s pretty even.
The Redskins didn’t play well against the 49ers last week, but the 49ers are a very good team, especially off of a loss. They’ve been blowing out sub-.500 teams all season, beating them by about an average of 20.3 points per game, which is about what the Redskins lost by. There’s not a ton of shame in that. That loss also puts them in a good spot as home underdogs are 65-45 ATS since 2002 off of a loss as home underdogs. The Giants are also in a bad spot going on the road off of 3 straight home games as favorites. Teams are 26-41 ATS in that spot since 1989, including 18-31 ATS as road favorites. The Giants aren’t used to being away from home.
On the other hand, the Redskins seem to be self-destructing a little bit. On the season, they might be the better team than the Giants, but maybe not right now. They seem to be getting worse by the week, while the Giants have solved a lot of their turnover issues and are getting key players healthy. The Giants might not be 4.5 points better than the Redskins either way, but consider that NFC East teams usually are much better on the road than at home.
The NFC East is 43-75 ATS at home, as opposed to 67-54 ATS on the road. As a result, the home team in divisional matchups is just 17-27 ATS over that time frame and 26-44 ATS if you expand the sample size back to 2008. The Giants in particular are 52-32 ATS on the road since Tom Coughlin took over in 2004. Winning on the road, especially against still a small line, might not be that big of a deal.
While the Redskins are in a good spot as home underdogs off a loss as home underdogs, they’re also in a bad spot as home underdogs before being home underdogs as the Chiefs come to town next week. Teams are 67-91 ATS in that spot since 2002. Since 1989, teams are 8-16 ATS as home underdogs before being home underdogs after a loss as home underdogs, so that trend would seem to nullify the previous trend and then some.
There is also a trend that benefits the Giants as teams are 47-31 ATS as road favorites off of a loss by 1-3 points as home favorites. The Giants lost by 3 to the Cowboys last week, in another example of NFC East road supremacy. The Giants might just continue that this week, against a small line. Gun to my head, I’m taking the Redskins and fading the heavy public lean on the Giants, but I’m not confident at all.
Washington Redskins 23 New York Giants 20 Upset Pick +100
Pick against spread: Washington +1.5