It’s Danny Dimes versus the GOAT. Yup, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones faces his toughest test as a pro, as the Giants travel to Foxboro to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots to open Week 6. The Giants are big 17-point road underdogs and it won’t help matters that Jones will be without his top offensive weapons for this one. From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, we break down the best ways to wager the odds for the NFL Thursday nighter.
NEW YORK GIANTS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-17, 41 @ BETAMERICA)
Tell us if you’ve heard this one before. The Patriots are undefeated. Not only are the defending Super Bowl champions undefeated, they may have one of their all around strongest teams to date, particularly on the defensive side of the ball where they rank first in the NFL defensive DVOA.
But this is a Tom Brady team, so you know the offense is going to be good as well. And it has been, ranking eighth in offensive DVOA. And Brady and the Pats have been getting off to good starts this season. New England leads the NFL in first quarter scoring at 9.2 per contest and have opened the scoring with a touchdown in four of their five games.
A Giants defense that ranks 30th in total defense probably won’t put up much resistance in this one.
Pick: First Score – Patriots TD (+125)
When big numbers are staring you in the face like this one, sometimes the first-half spread is the way go. Particularly when you have a team like the Pats. New England has a +13.6 first-half margin, and have only allowed 10 first half points all season long.
While Danny Dimes burst onto the scene with big games against Tampa Bay and Washington, those were not exactly tough defenses. Last week, Jones finally had to go up against a team that was competent on that side of the ball, and it didn’t go well. The Vikings defense held Jones to 21-38 passing for 182 yards with a touchdown and a pick in a 28-10 home loss. Minnesota was also to keep Jones in the pocket and didn’t allow him any room to run.
Take the Patriots to head into half with a double-digit lead.
Pick: Patriots -10 First Half Spread
Keep an eye on the weather forecast for this one, it could get a little slick. There is a fairly high percentage of precipitation all through the game and that could play right into the Patriots game plan. Bill Belichick is the master of making offenses uncomfortable and you can bet Jones will feel that way at some point in this one.
Not only will Jones have to deal with one of the best defenses in the league, but it will also be his first pro game dealing with a wet ball. And while the Danny Dimes love is high right now, he has already committed five turnovers in his first three games, and the Patriots lead the NFL in takeaways with 12, turning three of those turnovers into scores.
The matchup combined with the wet weather could lead to ample chances for the Pats opportunistic defense to run one back.
Pick: Special Team or Defensive TD Scored – Yes (+225)
FULL GAME TOTAL
Fun stat. The Patriots are third in the league in points per game at 31 per contest, but have only cashed one Over this season. That’s how good the defense has been. They are allowing less than seven points against per game and have only given up two offensive touchdowns all season. Belichick is known for taking away a team’s best weapon. And for the Giants, with star back Saquon Barkley and stud tight end Evan Engram on the shelf for this one, that would be Jones. It’s just really hard to envision where the Giants’ points are going to come from with Jones seemingly all by himself.
This is a really good number, but the Patriots should remain committed to the run in this one (even though their yards per carry isn’t the greatest) and that should shorten the game as well.
Pick: Under 41
FULL GAME SIDE
The Patriots have already been -14 or greater favorites three times this season, going 2-1 ATS in those games. They throttled Miami as 18-point faves, then took their foot off the gas against the Jets as 20.5-point chalk. And then, just last week covered fairly easily against Washington. So, it’s hard to know what to expect from them here.
But if there is one stat that could maybe sway the way you are leaning, it could be this. Belichick is 11-0 SU and 7-4 ATS when facing rookie quarterbacks at home since 2000. Mix in Jones’ turnover troubles and an opportunistic Pats defense and the home side is the one you should be if you feel inclined to take a side.
Pick: Patriots -17