Washington Mascots (1-4) at New York Giants (0-5)
These two teams have just one win between them but somehow this is a meaningful divisional game, in a division that is led by a 2-3 Cowboys team that just lost its starting quarterback for the season. Both of these teams are among the worst in the league, but this line suggests the Giants are the better team, favoring them by a full field goal at home, despite the fact that they won’t have any fans in attendance. I have been giving one point of home field advantage to teams without fans, so this line suggests the Giants are a couple points better than their nameless opponents.
I have that the other way around though. Not only does Washington rank higher in first down rate differential (-3.33% vs -5.53%), but they’re also in a better injury situation. While the Giants are still without their top offensive playmaker Saquon Barkley and now are without top edge defender Lorenzo Carter, the Mascots will get their top offensive lineman Brandon Scherff back from a 3-game absence, which will be a big boost to this offense. My calculated line is about even, with the Mascots actually slightly better than 50/50 to pull the straight up upset, so we’re getting great value with them at +3. About a quarter of games are decided by three points or less, so even if Washington can’t pull off the upset, they still have a good chance to cover or at least push.
Washington is also in a much better spot, as the Giants have to turn around and play another divisional game in four days on Thursday Night Football, when they head to Philadelphia for their week 7 matchup. Teams tend to be at a disadvantage before a short week, especially teams that are favored, as favorites cover at just a 44.3% rate before a short week historically. That rate drops further to 42.1% before divisional games and divisional home favorites in general have a horrible track record before being divisional road underdogs, covering just 34.9% of the time historically.
Washington’s mess of a quarterback situation will probably cause me to go elsewhere with my Pick of the Week, but I like Washington a lot this week regardless and this is one of several picks I am considering for my top play this week, which will be posted tomorrow. This line is dropping to 2.5 in some places because of heavy sharp action. Obviously getting the full field goal is definitely preferable, but if you can’t, I would still make a smaller bet at +2.5.
Washington Mascots 17 New York Giants 15 Upset Pick +130
Pick against the spread: Washington +3