New York Giants (4-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
The Buccaneers have not had much homefield advantage over the past few years. Since 2009, they are 15-36 at home, getting outscored by an average of 6.10 points per game, as opposed to 17-33 on the road, getting outscored by an average of 6.12 points per game. On top of that, the Buccaneers are just 16-34 ATS at home over that time period. On the other side, the Giants typically travel well in the Eli Manning/Tom Coughlin era (2004), going 60-39 ATS on the road over that time period.
It also helps the Giants that they’re in their 2nd straight road game. Road favorites are 49-34 ATS off of a road loss in their 2nd of two road games. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 208-213 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.50 points per game, as opposed to 296-414 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 2.97 points per game.
The spread, 2.5 in favor of the visiting Giants, does seem to take that into account though, at least somewhat. The Buccaneers aren’t very good, ranking 30th in rate of moving the chains differential, but neither are the Giants, who rank 24th. The Buccaneers and the Giants rank last and 2nd to last respectively in rate of moving the chains allowed on the season, so this could definitely be a shootout that goes back and forth. I wish we were getting field goal protection with the Buccaneers, because about one in six games is decided by a field goal, but we’re not really getting much, if any, line value with the Giants, despite their road prowess and the Buccaneers’ home struggles. The public is also all over the Giants, which makes the Buccaneers a more attractive option, considering the public always loses money in the long run.
The Giants are getting defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul back this week, after he missed the first 8 games of the season, following an off-season firework accident. However, it’s unclear what he can give them in his first game back, as he adjusts to playing with a mangled hand, and the Giants still have a bunch of injuries, with middle linebacker Jon Beason, cornerback Prince Amukamara, and wide receiver Victor Cruz all still out. The Buccaneers have a fair amount of injuries as well, with wide receiver Vincent Jackson, defensive end Jacquies Smith, and safety Major Wright all out, but, like the Giants, they’ve dealt with injuries all season, so this is nothing new.
The Giants are also in an awful spot, hosting the Patriots next week, arguably the toughest game of their season. The early line has them as 6.5 point home underdogs in that one. Road favorites are 30-45 ATS since 2008 before being home underdogs. On top of that, teams are 41-80 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 4+, 21-52 ATS before being home underdogs of 6+, and 13-30 ATS before being home underdogs of 7+, over that same time period. Combining the two, road favorites are 10-27 ATS since 1989 before being home underdogs of 6+.
The Buccaneers, on the other hand, are in a good spot, off of an overtime win in Atlanta last week. Teams tend to carry over that momentum as teams are 57-41 ATS since 1989 off of a road overtime win as underdogs, including 29-17 ATS as underdogs. There’s enough here for me to put money on the Buccaneers. This will be an even higher confidence pick if the line moves to a field goal or more before game time, which it could. Don’t lock this one in until tomorrow morning.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 New York Giants 24 Upset Pick +125
Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay +2.5