Categories: NFL

Giants at Cowboys NFL Pick September 16

The Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins each managed to squeeze out wins in Week 1, while their NFC East rivals, the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, came up short. The Giants were beaten 20-15 at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the Cowboys were thwarted 16-8 in Carolina against the Panthers. Now, the scene will shift to Arlington, Texas, for Sunday Night Football, where the Cowboys will host the Giants with both teams looking to notch their first wins of 2018.

Both teams entered the season looking differently than they did at the end of 2017. The Giants did away with their entire coaching staff after last season’s disastrous campaign under Ben McAdoo. The team also drafted Penn State phenom Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall and inked Odell Beckham Jr. to a massive contract extension The Cowboys, on the other hand, parted ways with longtime stalwarts like Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Orlando Scandrick and a few others.

Both teams struggled offensively in their respective season openers. Dak Prescott completed 19 of his 29 attempts against Carolina, but he was also sacked 6 times and never found the end zone. Ezekiel Elliott did score, but he only got 15 carries total as the Panthers controlled the tempo of the game. No Dallas receiver other than Cole Beasley caught more than 3 passes, and the team mustered just 232 total yards. With Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick sidelined indefinitely, the vaunted Dallas offensive line will likely struggle more this season than it has over the last couple of years. The Cowboys didn’t have a single play that went for over 20 yards against the Panthers.

The Giants’ offense was a little better, and they put up decent numbers despite facing what may be the toughest defense in football in the Jaguars. Both Barkley and Beckham amassed more than 100 total yards from scrimmage, which was nearly as much as the entire Cowboys offense gained.

This rivalry comes with some interesting betting trends you may not have necessarily expected. New York had been dominating this head-to-head series before the Cowboys took both meetings last season. New York had covered the spread in 5 consecutive clashes heading into last year, a stretch that included 3 consecutive straight-up wins. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have gone just 3-8 against the spread in their last 11 home games against NFC East opponents. AT&T Stadium has not given the Cowboys much of a home field advantage since it opened about a decade ago.

As home favorites under Jason Garrett, Dallas is just 14-30 against the spread, which is brutal. Dallas is also 3-11 in games in which they have been favored at home by 3 points or less. As of this writing, the Cowboys are 3-point favorites against the Giants on Sunday night.

I think both the Cowboys and Giants are more advanced on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys could have one of the more underrated defensive units in football. There is all sorts of speed along the Dallas front-7, including guys like DeMarcus Lawrence along the line and Sean Lee policing the linebacking corps. Dallas picked up 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss against the Panthers last week.

The Giants will need to be more disciplined this week than they were against Jacksonville. New York turned it over twice, one of which led directly to a Jacksonville touchdown, and the team came up short in crucial moments despite having a number of opportunities to take the lead. Eli Manning has had a great history against the Cowboys, particularly at AT&T Stadium. In 27 career head-to-head meetings with the Cowboys during the regular season, Manning has a completion percentage over 61 percent and he has thrown 49 touchdowns compared to 28 interceptions. In his last 5 trips to Dallas combined, Eli has thrown 10 touchdown passes with 5 picks.

Run-Heavy Attacks

It sounds obvious, but expect both teams in this one to look to establish the ground game. Elliott and Barkley are a couple of the premier young running backs in the league, and both players are expected to be offensive focal points for their respective teams all season long. While Manning does have superior weaponry through the air than Prescott does, everything both clubs want to do offensively is almost entirely predicated on the ground game working effectively. Elliott does more of his damage between the tackles, while Barkley is a more explosive threat capable of getting around the corner on the outside.

Obviously, whichever team is able to better establish themselves via the ground game will have an advantage here. The Cowboys are going to go as Elliott goes all season long. He scuffled against Carolina, and the entire offense sputtered as a result. On the flip side, the Giants have a pretty clear advantage here as far as offensive firepower goes. Beckham is arguably the best receiver in football, while the Giants are hopeful that this is the year Sterling Shepard takes a leap forward, as well.

I’m just not buying what the Cowboys are selling at this point. Prescott has looked rather pedestrian under center over the last season-plus, while it’s going to take more time for him to get used to his new pass-catchers. Given the team’s long history of struggling at home, particularly against these Giants, I think this one is fairly clear.

I like the Giants as a road ‘dog here, and I think you go with the hard under on 42 1/2 points. I think the Giants are a strong betting value here in all formats. I like them to cover the 3-point spread, and I think they’re an awesome value at +120 on the moneyline to win the game outright. The under on 42 1/2 comes at -110 at BetOnline, which is also a solid value.

Taylor Smith

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Taylor Smith

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