Giants vs Eagles NFL betting picks and predictions: Philly to spoil Manning’s return on Monday Night Football

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Monday Night Football features a divisional battle as the Philadelphia Eagles host the New York Giants.

The Giants have lost eight games in a row but, for the first time since September 15, Eli Manning will start at quarterback.

The 16-year-veteran, and the only guy that can say he’s got Tom Brady’s number, was unceremoniously benched after Week 2 to give more reps to Giants first rounder Daniel Jones. After Jones won in his debut, Manning’s fate looked sealed but with the rookie injured, Eli returns to the field.

The Eagles are on a three game losing streak and are coming off an embarrassing defeat to the Dolphins. Despite sitting at 5-7 they still have a shot at making the playoffs because they play in the worst division in the NFL.

From the opening snap to final whistle we break down the odds and give you our best bets and predictions for this matchup between NFC East rivals.  **video

NEW YORK GIANTS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-9.5, 45)

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Eli might be everyone’s favorite pariah in New York (besides Adam Gase and James Dolan) but the Giants might actually be better with him slinging in the ball. Manning had an effective game against the Cowboys in Week 1 and although he struggled in Week 2 vs the Bills, it turns out that Buffalo is actually one of the best defenses in the league against the pass.

With Manning the G-Men averaged 6.4 yards per play (seventh in the league) and under Jones they’ve averaged just 4.7 yards per play…which is what the Bengals average.

The Eagles defense isn’t great in the opening quarter allowing 5.4 points per game (22nd in the league), and there is value in taking Eli and the Giants to get on the scoreboard first.

PICK: First team to score – New York Giants (+130)

FIRST HALF BET

These squads are two of the worst defenses in the league in the early going. The Giants defense allows a league-high 16.1 ppg in the first half while the Eagles surrender 13.4 ppg in the first 30 minutes.

With the 1H total set at just 22.5, hit the Over.

PICK: First Half Over 22.5

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Carson Wentz has struggled this season but is coming off a 310 passing yard performance against the Dolphins and this could be a get right spot for him. The Giants have a terrible pass defense, ranking 30th in the league in defensive passing DVOA according to Football Outsiders and they give up a whopping 312.8 passing yards per game on the road.

Wentz finally has close to a fully healthy offensive line and receiving corps and should be able to inflict some damage downfield against the Giants porous secondary. Take the Over on his passing yards.

PICK: Carson Wentz Over 254.5 passing yards

FULL GAME TOTAL

The Eagles offense has gone through some droughts this season, most noticably in losses against the Patriots, Cowboys and Seahawks. But the Patriots have one of the best defenses in the league and Philly’s offense struggled against Dallas and Seattle mostly due to sloppy play, turning the ball over a total of nine times in those two contests.

The Giants stop-unit doesn’t cause many turnovers (just 1.2 takeaways per game) or pressure opposing QBs (27th in the league in pressures). Expect Philly to put up some points against the G-Men.

On the other side of the ball, Manning should provide some veteran stability under center. Tight end Evan Engram is out with an injury but considering the amount of injuries that the Giants have dealt with this year, that’s far from the end of the world.

Saquon Barkley seems to be inching closer to 100 percent (his 83 rushing yards last week were the most he’s had since suffering an ankle injury in Week 3), rookie speedster Darius Slayton is improving each week and Golden Tate is finally healthy.

With the O/U set at a modest 45 the Giants playmakers should be able to do enough to push this total Over.

PICK: Over 45

FULL GAME SIDE

While Manning might be able to move the chains more consistently than Jones, the 38-year-old still isn’t going to set the world on fire with his check down throws. The Eagles rank a respectable 15th in defensive passing DVOA, and are one of the better teams against the run allowing just 69 rushing yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry to opposing running backs.

Wentz, Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz should be able to shred a Giants defense that gives up 404 yards and 30.8 points per game on the road. With a win the Eagles will tie the Cowboys for the best record in the NFC East, so expect them to be fired up and eager to put this one out of reach in front of their home crowd. Back the Eagles to win and cover.

PICK: Philadelphia -9.5

Longshots to consider when betting the Shoemaker Mile

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Monday’s Shoemaker Miles Stakes at Santa Anita Park is a great race for a number of reasons. For starters, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race that offers the winner a guaranteed spot in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The race also features last year’s Preakness Stakes winner, War of Will, making his season debut. Despite his triumphs on the dirt in 2019, War of Will started his career on the turf and his pedigree suggests that he’s very likely to be just as successful on the grass. That said, the Shoemaker Mile will be his first start off of a six-month break, and I’m going to try to take a swing or two with some horses who could upset the apple cart at longer odds.

Let’s start out with the horse on the rail, Without Parole. He won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes going a mile at Ascot back in 2018. His three other career wins have all came at this mile distance as well. Granted, he hasn’t won in six races since the St. James’s Palace but he did finish a fast-closing third two starts ago in a much tougher U.S. debut in the TVG Breeders’ Cup MileIrad Ortiz Jr. rode Without Parole in that race and he will reclaim the mount on him again on Monday.

Without Parole has only had one race this year and it was in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in which he finished second to last. However, he had several excuses right from the start of that race when he got squeezed coming out of the gate. He also raced in traffic throughout and got cut off several times in the stretch before Frankie Dettori — who had come from Europe to ride him at Gulfstream — finally just wrapped up on him. The Pegasus World Cup Turf also was a race that didn’t allow him to run on Lasix (furosemide) after he’d shown significant improvement racing on Lasix for the first time at the Breeders’ Cup.

Stream the 2020 Shoemaker Mile live here

How much of a factor might Lasix be for some horses? Well, let’s next look at the horse who finished last in the Pegasus World Cup Turf: Next Shares. In his following start (back on Lasix) in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes, Next Shares finished third (beaten just a neck) to River Boyne. Both Next Shares and River Boyne return in the Shoemaker Mile and I prefer the former as a pace play who has plenty of back-class. If you rewatch the Kilroe Mile, Next Shares covered a lot more ground than River Boyne. With a similar effort, Next Shares could certainly turn the tables.

The other thing to like about Next Shares is that his trainer, Richard Baltas, has entered speedster Neptune’s Storm in the Shoemaker Mile. That horse, along with Voodoo Song, should ensure a very brisk pace up front — they’ll also be kept honest by Blitzkrieg and War of Will, both of whom usually race on or near the lead. All of that speed adds up to good news for Next Shares. He’s a Grade 1 winner who has always done his best running when he’s had some pace to run into. The other two keys for him (like all stalking or closing-type runners) is clear running room late, and hopefully he’ll get that with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez taking the mount.

Lastly, we should take a look at True Valour. It’s hard to make much of an excuse for his flat finish in the Kilroe last out, but he’s truly performed better than what his results on paper might indicate. In the Thunder Road Stakes in February, he looked pretty keen early and it took him a few strides to settle down without throwing his head around and fighting his rider. Turning for home, it was clear that jockey Andrea Atzeni had plenty of horse under him but was just waiting for some running room. It ended up coming too late because River Boyne was in a better spot and had already taken command. True Valour did split horses nicely in the closing stages and was half a jump away from finishing second.

If you go back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, True Valour had excuses there, too. He was up on heels early and he again took a little bit of time to settle down into a comfortable stride. Then, turning for him, he was just waiting for running room but instead got stuck behind a wall of horses. True Valour ended up steadying pretty badly and lost all chance at that point. I’m a little worried about how headstrong he tends to be early in races, but there’s a scenario here that could have at least two horses battling for the lead early and opening up some daylight on the rest of the field. That means he’ll be less likely to be running up on anyone’s heels and it also ensures that he’ll have a nice setup. Whether he can navigate clear passage late in the race is a separate matter.

Longshot Selections

#1 Without Parole

#3 Next Shares

#2 True Valour

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

How to bet an exacta on a horse race

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Betting an exacta can present a challenge on several levels.

There is, of course, the primary need to analyze past performances and decide which horses are going to finish first and second.

Yet because of the inherently lower payoffs as opposed to what you’ll find in a Pick 3 or Pick 4, you’ll need to structure your wagers effectively in order to turn your selections into a profitable wager.

For starters, an exacta can be a simple wager. If you like two horses equally, you can just box them in the exacta and collect so long as they finish 1-2 in any order. If you like one of them a little more, you can then bet more on the one you prefer, say $10 on a 1-2 exacta and $5 on 2-1.

If you’re a little more uncertain, make sure you structure your bet around the size of the field and the probable payoffs.

If you like a longshot, the higher probable payoffs give you the cushion you need to wager on more combinations and still turn a nice profit.

But if you’re dealing with favorites or horses at relatively low odds, you have to wager more efficiently to preserve your profit.

In a field of six or less, you’re best to either focus on one horse or box two of them instead of boxing three or more horses because of the small payouts the bet will most likely generate.

In a field of seven, a wise strategy would be to box your top two choices and then, if you are worried about other horses, play them top and/or bottom other the other horses. For example, box 1-2, then bet 1-2 over 3-4 and 3-4 over 1-2. This way you are getting coverage on four horses without having to box them.

Once you get an eight-horse field, as long as there is not an overwhelming favorite, you can expand the number of horses you box since the payoffs will typically be higher, giving you a better opportunity to offset the inevitable array of losing tickets in a boxed wager.