New York Giants (4-3) at New Orleans Saints (3-4)
The Saints were only 2 point favorites in this one last week, but, after their upset victory in Indianapolis, this line moved to 3.5, significant, considering 1 in 6 games is decided by a field goal. Typically, I like to go against these line movements because I think they’re based on week-to-week overreactions, but, this week, I’m not so sure. The Saints have a worse record than the Giants, but they rank 16th in rate of moving the chains differential, while the Giants rank 23rd, so we might still be getting line value with the Saints. The Giants have been overly reliant on a +10 turnover margin, which is tough to count on every week. For example, they beat the Cowboys by a touchdown last week because they won the turnover battle by 4, which increases a team’s chances of winning to 95.5%. However, teams that win the turnover battle by 4, on average have a +0.0 turnover margin the following week. They’ll probably have to find a different way to win in this one and they might not find one.
Then again, the Saints aren’t very good so it might not take much to beat them. None of that is enough to take the Saints with any sort of confidence. The Saints are also pretty banged up, missing linebackers David Hawthorne and Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Keenan Lewis, well paid veteran starters. However, this is true of the Giants too, as they’re missing cornerback Prince Amukamara, wide receiver Victor Cruz, and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Both teams have struggled with injuries all season though, so there really isn’t any sort of tiebreaker here.
This is the closest game of the week for me, as there isn’t a clear better side at all. The line’s a little off in New Orleans’ favor, but not measurably. Both teams are banged up. They also have similarly easy games on deck, as the Saints host the Titans and the Giants go to Tampa Bay. New Orleans has enjoyed a great homefield advantage in recent years, going 35-17 ATS since 2008, excluding the season Sean Payton wasn’t on the sideline. However, the Giants have enjoyed equally impressive success against the spread on the road in recent years, going 59-39 ATS on the road in the Eli Manning/Tom Coughlin era (since 2004). I’m going with the Giants because the Saints are just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 home games, but this one is as tight as it gets. I like that I get field goal protection with the Giants. If this line shifts significantly, I’d probably have a different pick. I’m expecting a field goal game.
New Orleans Saints 27 New York Giants 24
Pick against the spread: NY Giants +3.5