New York Giants (3-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
The Buccaneers are coming off of a loss last week, which has typically been a great spot to bet on a Tom Brady led team, as he is 47-24 ATS off of a loss in his career. However, that drops to 10-13 ATS when Brady is favored by a touchdown or more and the Buccaneers are 11-point favorites in this one. We saw the Buccaneers not cover in a similar spot last week, favored by 9.5 points in Washington, after a loss in their previous game to the Saints, ultimately losing their second straight game in an unfocused performance.
I thought the Buccaneers would still be able to win big last week because they were coming off of a bye, a great spot for big road favorites, and facing a mediocre Washington team who had significant injury absences and previously had only beaten bad teams by one score, but the Buccaneers proved to be overvalued as big favorites. This week, I think that is even more the case, as the Buccaneers’ loss last week only pushed them down from 12.5-point favorites on the early line last week to 11-point favorites this week, against an underrated Giants team that looks to be a lot healthier coming out of their bye week.
The Giants are just 3-6, but three of their losses came by three points or fewer, while one of their big blowout losses came in Dallas in a game in which the Giants were tied with the Cowboys when quarterback Daniel Jones got hurt. The Giants’ point differential of -37 is better than their record suggests and, when you factor in their tough schedule, the Giants rank 19th, 11th, and 9th in offensive, defensive, and special teams efficiency. Their offense should be better going forward too, as they are getting much healthier on that side of the ball.
They are still without wide receiver Sterling Shepard, but wide receivers Kadarius Toney (1 game missed), Kenny Golladay (3 games), and Darius Slayton (3 games) all missed significant time and have since returned to be the starters, as has tight end Evan Engram (2 games), while feature back Saquon Barkley (4 games) and top offensive lineman Andrew Thomas (4 games) are also expected back this week. Quarterback Daniel Jones is an underrated player who should perform better with more talent around him, so the Giants could easily be an underrated team the rest of the way if they can stay healthy on offense, with complementary units on defense and special teams.
The Buccaneers, meanwhile, continue to have injury issues. They’ll get top tight end Rob Gronkowski back, but he remains a perpetual injury risk, while talented wide receiver Antonio Brown and top cornerback Carlton Davis remain out and will be joined by top defensive lineman Vita Vea, who will miss his first game of the season this year. The Buccaneers are still one of the more talented teams in the league and I am hesitant to bet against them with Tom Brady coming off of back-to-back losses, back at home where they have been better this season, but this game could still prove to be tougher than expected for the Buccaneers, even if they are ultimately likely to pull out the victory and avoid a third straight loss.
My calculated line has Tampa Bay favored by 9 points, so we’re getting line value with the Giants at +11, and I think there is something to the fact that Tom Brady has failed to cover in all seven night games he has played with the Buccaneers, as Brady is used to going to bed early and may get more tired than most would in a night game, as a result. There isn’t quite enough here with the Giants to bet on them, but it’s possible that changes depending on what I hear about certain injury situations and how close to 100% certain players are. If I decide to place a bet on the Giants, I will give an update.
Update: All of the expected active players are active for the Giants, including Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas, and none of expected to be limited in a significant way. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are confirmed to be without both Vita Vea and Antonio Brown, while tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to be limited in his first game back. This was all expected, but there was always a chance something went different. Despite that, this line has moved up to 11.5, so I like the Giants for a small wager. They would be 6-3 if not for a trio of losses by a field goal or less and, with a solid defense and special teams, they could have easily won all of those games with a better offense. They should have that this week, arguably as healthy on that side of the ball as they have been since the start of the season. The Buccaneers are not good enough with their current injuries to be favored by double digits against a decent Giants team, with my calculated line now at Tampa Bay -8, before even taking into account that Brady has struggled in night games recently.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 New York Giants 20
Pick against the spread: NY Giants +11.5