A clash of NFC East rivals kicks off the season as Big Blue takes on the Cowboys. Week 1 NFL odds say the Cowboys are one of the biggest favorites but where is the betting value?
Can the Giants Hang?
The bad news is that without the likes of Jason Pierre Paul causing chaos and mayhem in opposition backfields the Giants will be at a disadvantage not only rushing the passer but also stopping the run. Granted the Cowboys no longer have DeMarco Murray in their backfield but their platoon of Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar has inspired enough confidence that any one of them could cruise north of 100 yards on the ground due to one of the most physical offensive lines boring holes for them.
Big Blue had their issues containing the run last season after ranking 30th in that category allowing 135 yards per game. Even if this run stop unit has improved they will be no match for this ferocious Dallas offensive line. The Giants fared better against the pass as they ranked in the middle of the pack last season but will have to contend with the Romo-to-Bryant connection that has scorched secondaries throughout the league over the past several years.
Perhaps the silver lining for New York is a decimated Dallas defense. The Cowboys will be without the services of Rolando McClain, Greg Hardy and Orlando Scandrick. McClain's absence was noticeable when he was injured last season while Hardy was plying his trade with Carolina. Hardy signed with the Cowboys in the offseason but will not be uniform against New York as he is serving a four-game suspension. Orlando Scandrick, the team's top cornerback, went down with a torn ACL and is lost for the season which will leave a gaping void in the secondary. That loss alone should make Eli Manning's job much easier and if Dallas cannot mount a serviceable pass rush it could very likely keep the Giants in this game.
So Who Wins?
This will be a case of which offense can exploit which defense the best. Both teams will have issues on defense to be sure but until we see them in real game action it is tough to evaluate how good, or bad, these first units are which is why we temper our enthusiasm for Week 1 games. Nevertheless it appears that Dallas should have a decided advantage offensively over the Giants. New York will be without Victor Cruz who is nursing a calf injury and will go with a running back by committee approach like the Cowboys. The biggest difference between the two teams is the offensive lines. Dallas has a premier unit while New York's is middling at best.
However, before I get carried away with a doom and gloom projection for the Giants here are a few important statistics you may want to analyze when considering your NFL picks in this one.
•Giants are 41-24 ATS on the road since 2006 as long as they are not favored by 3.5 or more.
• Eli Manning is 33-24 ATS as an underdog since 2007.
• The underdog is 54-25 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
• Cowboys are 12-22 ATS as home favorites in Cowboys Stadium (excluding Thanksgiving).
If you review SBR's NFL odds you will see that the Cowboys are favored by 6-6 ½ across the board. We also know this line has bumped from an opener of Dallas -5 due primarily because America's Team (are they still called that?) generates a lot of square play to begin with and the Giants had such a dismal season last year.
Furthermore this will be the final game of Week 1 Sunday and all the bettors who got crushed will be looking for a bailout. And we all know that when Joe Q. Public needs one game to get even he ain't lookin' to bet a road dog. The squares will pound Dallas even more but we will be on the other side watching the Giants keep this one closer than most anticipate.
NFL Pick: Giants +7 (-120) at YouWager