Giants-Falcons Preview & Pick: Yet another high-scoring game in Atlanta?
I’ll admit, I was apprehensive about my picks on Sunday. That’s what losses on Monday night and Thursday night will do to ya.
Fortunately, the Redskins came through as one-point home dogs (I had them as a one-point home favorite on Friday when my plays were posted) and my picks on Sunday went 2-1. Had Kevin White found a way to get into the end zone after catching a Hail Mary pass from Mitchell Trubisky in the Bears’ loss to the Patriots, perhaps I hit my second straight 3-0 Sunday. Then again, had the Panthers not rallied down 17 points in the second half in Philadelphia, I could have been 1-2 for the day and 1-4 for the week. Ah, gambling.
475 New York Giants at 476 Atlanta Falcons
- Spread: Falcons -4
- O/U: 52
- Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
The Falcons opened as four-point favorites, the line moved up to five at one point midweek, but then came back down to the current number of . The total, meanwhile, hit the board at 54 but dropped to 52.
As of this writing, 73 percent of the betting tickets and 72 percent of the money is on the Falcons. Most of the betting tickets (71 percent) and money (66 percent) is also on the over tonight.
Tight end Evan Engram is probable tonight after missing a couple of games with a knee injury and while Nate Solder (neck), Olivier Vernon (ribs), and Russell Shepard (neck) are all questionable, all should play tonight for the Giants.
The under is 9-1-1 in the last 11 meetings between these two teams and is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings in Atlanta. The road team is also 9-3 against the spread in the last 12 meetings between these two teams.
I lean Atlanta tonight but given how the Falcons nearly blew yet another big second-half lead last week versus the Bucs, I’m staying away from the spread. I just don’t trust the Falcons laying points, especially more than a field goal. They could be up, oh, I don’t know, 28-3 in the third quarter of the biggest game of their lives and find a way to lose. No, thanks.
That said, I love the over tonight. It’s “chalky” to take the over in a primetime game but as I’ve written at times this season, sometimes the most obvious play is also the right one. And the over makes too much sense tonight.
This Falcons defense is atrocious but it’s not because of coaching or a lack of talent. It’s atrocious because both of their starting safeties (Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal) are out for the season. Stud linebacker Deion Jones is also on injured reserve and their top interior pass-rusher, Grady Jarrett, has been dealing with an ankle injury the past two weeks.
It’s not that they’re underperforming, they’re out-manned. That’s an important distinction. If they were underperforming, there would be hope for a turnaround. That’s not the case with Dan Quinn’s defense. They’re simply down too many star players, which has led to Atlanta surrendering 417.2 yards per game and 6.4 yards per play. Both rank in the bottom 5 in the league.
We know what we’re getting out of Atlanta’s defense: Yards and points. We also know what we’re getting out of the Falcons offense, at least when they play at home: Yards and points. Outside of a dud performance Week 1 in Philadelphia, Matt Ryan has been outstanding. Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu are both playing tonight and while losing Devonta Freeman hurts, his absence hasn’t kept the Falcons from averaging 27.8 points per game this season.
The question tonight becomes: What will we get out of Eli Manning and this Giants offense? Playing behind a horrendous offensive line, Manning was terrible against the Eagles at home last weekend. The Giants are shuffling things along their offensive line for tonight’s game so perhaps improvement is coming on that front (hey, it can’t worse). Regardless, Saquon Barkley is a stud and Atlanta hasn’t generated much pressure this year. Eli had time a couple of weeks ago in Carolina and the Giants scored 30 points in a game for the first time since December in 2015. If he has time tonight, I expect a rebound for the embattled quarterback. This Falcons defense is a sieve to every opponent, not just the best offenses.
ATS Season Records
- Week 1: 5-0
- Week 2: 3-2
- Week 3: 4-1
- Week 4: 3-1-1
- Week 5: 3-2
- Week 6: 4-1
- Week 7: 0-1
- Overall: 23-8-1
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.