The NFL odds are in Peyton Manning’s favor when his Denver Broncos visit little brother Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to September 10 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
Missed it by that much. Thanks to a bizarre last-second victory by the New York Jets (+1.5 when I faded them) and a late comeback by the Houston Texans, I ended up slightly in the red after Week 1 of the 2013 NFL betting season. Oh well. That’s the way the prolate spheroid bounces. I’m happy with most of the logic behind most of my choices.
Chasing the Broncos
One of my unofficial NFL picks last week: the Baltimore Ravens, who were doing just fine in their season opener against the Denver Broncos (–7.5 at home) until they started knocking each other out of the game (Jacoby Jones, Michael Oher). Then Broncos QB Peyton Manning found his rhythm in the second half, eventually tying the NFL record for touchdown passes in a game with seven. Sweet baby corn. Final score: Denver 49, Baltimore 27.
If betting on the NFL in Week 2 is all about exploiting the overreactions from Week 1, Manning’s performance makes the Broncos potential fade candidates this Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS) when they travel to East Rutherford to take on the New York Giants. And the sharps have already gotten down to business, driving the NFL odds from Denver –5.5 at the open to Denver –4.5 as we go to press.
We’re talking big money here, too. While the NFL point spread for this matchup is shrinking, our early consensus reports show 63 percent of bettors throwing their weight behind the Broncos. All things being equal, that means the remaining 37-percenters are putting more money where their mouths are. Big money is sharp money, or so they say.
Meanwhile, back in Jersey, people are none too happy with the way the Giants (+3.5 away) lost 36-31 to their NFC East rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. Eli Manning had four TD passes of his own, but that wasn’t enough to overcome three interceptions and three Giant fumbles – two of those by RB David Wilson, who ended up riding the pine in the second half.
I love the idea of supporting New York teams in trying times. The local (and therefore national) media loves kicking them while they’re down, churning up that special blend of Old World pessimism and ire that sells papers and moves NFL betting lines. I also love it when people get too worked up over the performance of their running backs. That’s like complaining about the cup holders in your Cadillac.
It’s not that running isn’t important – especially now that read options are “invading” the NFL. But when it comes to the RB position, the difference in quality between the No. 1 and No. 2 players for each team is relatively small. According to ESPN’s Chad Millman, if the Minnesota Vikings had to replace Adrian Peterson with Toby Gerhart, it would cost the Vikings three points. Wilson didn’t even make Millman’s PSVAR list (Point Spread Value Above Replacement).
As it stands, the Giants were reportedly taking a look at ex-Giant Brandon Jacobs on Tuesday, along with Willis McGahee and a number of other free agents. This is partly due to Wilson’s poor performance, but also because of the loss of RB Andre Brown, who broke his leg in the last preseason game and is on temporary injured reserve. Da’Rel Scott is the current No. 2 behind Wilson on the Big Blue depth chart.
Again, these things matter, but not all that much. The more important takeaway from the Giants opener is that their passing game looks powerful, if erratic, and that happens to be the one area where Baltimore’s offense falls short. Denver’s defense is more vulnerable now without LB Von Miller (suspended), although CB Champ Bailey (foot) is expected to make his season debut in Week 2. It’s always a bit of a gamble with Eli, but as a high-variance play, the Giants have value on the NFL lines – and maybe even more sports betting value later in the week.NFL Pick: Take the Giants +4.5 at Ladbrokes