Thursday Night Football Betting: Can the Giants Cover in Washington?
Our second Thursday Night Football contest features the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team, a clash of NFC East foes who lost in Week 1. This could be an interesting contest as both teams look to avoid a historically challenging 0-2 start.
Per NFL odds, Washington is a 3.5-point home favorite, and the total is just 40.5 points.
Let's dive into what we think could be some interesting betting angles for this contest.
What Should We Expect?
Our metrics aren't all that high on either offense, which shouldn't be surprising given that neither exactly set the scoreboard on fire in Week 1. Going by our nERD metric, this is two pretty bad teams overall -- Washington is 22nd while the Giants are 27th.
Let's break down the Washington attack, which is a bit in flux. Signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick left Week 1 with a hip injury, and he will be sidelined for a while. That turns the keys over to Taylor Heinicke, who has shown flashes of potential in a small sample but is certainly unproven with a whopping 589 passing yards to his name for his NFL career.
Antonio Gibson was pretty effective in Week 1 and will likely be the focal point tonight for WFT. He toted the rock 20 times for 90 yards, and he also caught 3 passes on a team-high 5 targets. In a close game, I'd expect him to be a heavy part of the gameplan against a Big Blue rushing defense that was shredded by the Denver Broncos last week (165 rushing yards).
On the flip side, the Giants' offense was a bit ugly in their opening affair. Superstar running back Saquon Barkley was clearly still working his way into form, and Daniel Jones turned in a meh outing against a solid Denver defense. His mark of 0.08 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back in the opener was below last year's league average of 0.11.
While Washington's defense didn't do that well against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, we know this is a stout unit. They ranked among the top defenses a year ago, per our numbers, and should find much more success tonight against Jones and company.
Bets to Consider
According to our numbers, there's not much value in the traditional betting markets.
Even with Washington rolling out a backup under center, our algorithm likes the home team to win, projecting WFT to win the contest 63.01% of the time. WFT is -178 on the moneyline, which implies win odds of 63.77%, so we think the moneyline price is spot on.
We project the final score to be 22.88-19.05, so the spread is pretty on point, as well.
There is a sliver of value on the total. We project the over to win out 55.0% of the time at a line of 40.5 points.
For legit betting value, Gibson's rushing props looks juicy. Currently, the line for his carries is set at 16.5, and his rushing prop is 70.5 yards. We project him to rack up 19.1 carries and 87.6 rushing yards.
Historical Betting Trends
-- The Giants have owned this series in recent memory, winning six of the last seven, including four in a row.
-- The under has hit in the Giants' last eight games.
-- In primetime, Washington stinks. They are 7-18 against the spread in their last 25 such games.