Betting Giants-Eagles on Thursday Night Football: Which team wants it less?

Thursday, 22 October 2020 14:07 EST

After a one-week absence, Thursday Night Football is back – albeit with another mediocre-looking divisional matchup of low-watt offenses. Though the game itself may not be particularly scintillating, the line sure is. So let’s look into betting on…

New York Giants +5 at Philadelphia Eagles

Right. NFLbets is advising that bettors take the New York Giants +5 at Philadelphia. Now admittedly, some fraction of the impetus behind this bet is Costanza Logic, i.e. always do the opposite; if every betting instinct you have is wrong, than the opposite would be right. NFLbets’ instinct on following the math has resulted in two oh-fers in the past three weeks, thus opposite time temporarily.

Here’s the other minus for the Giants: Offensive coordinator Jason Gerrett. As Dallas Cowboys head coach, Garrett was an incredibly lucrative 6-16 SU/4-18 ATS in all games in which his team had less than seven days to prepare. To his “credit”, Garrett wasn’t even calling plays for the last few years of his tenure for either of his coordinators but this nearly unbelievable career mark must reflect on Garrett somehow. Giants bettors will have to hope that Joe Judge knows what he’s doing on just his second short week as head coach – hey, he’s 1-0 ATS in the stat so far, right…?

(And if you find NFLbets unfair for judging Garrett as incompetent based on one demonstrative stat, well, there’s a reason his offense is statistically bottom-3 in points scored, total yards, passing TDs, passing yards, rushing TDs, rushing yards, first downs, etc.)

Nevertheless, the truth is that these New York Giants are all about the defense. In three games of six has the opposition scored over 19 against the G-men in 2020 and at Dallas in week 5, one Daniel Jones fumble was returned for a TD while another set the Cowboys up on the 17. Statistically, the NY D is average in most areas except getting past the offensive line: The Giants are top-10 in tackles for loss and QB sacks – good enough to go with an injury-riddled OL which has somehow allowed more sacks than even the Cincinnati Bengals.

Speaking (writing?) of injuries, the Eagles’ subtraction is the Giants’ addition. With RB Miles Sanders and TE Zach Ertz out, the Eagles offense loses nearly 33% of its total yardage thus far.

Finally, there’s Doug Pedersen’s career mark. NFLbets typically doesn’t like using statistics such as “record against the division” – There’s just too much movement of players, coaches and coordinators to render such statistics meaningless. However, the NFC East is worthy of exception because this division has been a hallmark of disastrous incompetence since Eli Manning was considered a viable quarterback. The situation has been akin to that of the AFC East since 2003, but without the Patriots.

These numbers say that Pedersen’s Eagles are a respectable (I guess) 18-11 SU against the NFC East since 2016 – but just 13-16 ATS against teams which know the Eagles best, including a 3-5 SU/ATS record against Garrett’s Cowboys.

All in all, this game feels like confirmation that the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles simply aren’t playoff contenders; the Giants ML of +200 looks really good right about now…