NFL Picks: Patriots to Break 12-Year Spell by Defeating Giants ATS

Jason Lake

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 2:59 PM GMT

The New England Patriots haven't covered against the New York Giants in well over a decade. That should have almost no effect on our football picks for Thursday's matchup.

How long has it been since the New England Patriots covered the spread against the New York Giants? Try 12 years. It's been nothing but heartbreak and frustration since then, including two upset losses at the Super Bowl. How can one team, especially one as not-elite as the Giants, have such a stranglehold on one of the greatest dynasties in sports?

Small sample size, of course. This isn't the Red Sox and the Yankees we're talking about here; New England and New York have only played each other four times since 2003. That's not including preseason games, though. These two teams have played in the Week 4 finale every year for 10 straight years, and they'll go at it again this Thursday night (7:30 p.m. ET) in Foxborough. Interestingly, as we go to press, this is the only game on Thursday's 16-game slate without any NFL odds attached. What gives?

 

The Brady Ultimatum
To be precise, the football odds for this matchup have yet to make their way online. Various establishments in Las Vegas have the Patriots favored by three points at home, up from 2.5 points in light trading. It seems a bit strange for a preseason game to be put on hold like that, especially when the starters aren't expected to play much, if at all. Then again, New England is in the unusual position of having to start its back-up QB in Week 1 of the regular season.

So what happens to Jimmy Garoppolo this Thursday? Does he play the entire game, as he did last year when the Patriots lost 16-13 as 3-point road dogs? Or does he sit out the entire game to keep him fresh and unharmed for the following week? Apparently that's going to depend at least in part on whether Tom Brady's four-game suspension is overturned. You may have the news on that ruling by the time you read this, but the word on the street Monday was that there would be no deal. Either way, we're assuming for now that Garoppolo plays against the Giants.

 

White Chowder vs. Red Chowder
So how have the Patriots fared against the Giants these past 10 preseasons? Glad you asked: 3-7 SU and 3-5-2 ATS. That's all with the same two coaches who will be on the sidelines this week, Bill Belichick for New England and Tom Coughlin for New York. However, there's a distinct home/away split with these games. The Pats are 3-2 SU and ATS at home, compared to 0-5 SU and 0-3-2 ATS on the road.

We're going to ride that split all the way to Foxborough. The Giants have dropped two of their three preseason games this year, and there are a number of injuries at both ends of the field, although back-up QB Ryan Nassib has played quite well thus far. We'll see how the NFL odds shake out once they're released, but provided the Pats stick around at –3 or below, that's good enough for us.

Free NFL Pick: Take the Patriots –3