MNF: Buccaneers-Giants Betting Preview and Picks
MNF: Buccaneers-Giants Betting Preview and Picks
Playing himself into the MVP award shortlist, Tom Brady and the streaking 5-2 Tampa Bay Bucs come into MetLife Stadium as 12.5-point road favorites to take on a lowly Giants team who is still winless save for an uninspiring win against Washington.
Brady is Brady, and I don’t need to tell you about how good he is at football. His stats have been elite so far (18 touchdowns to just four interceptions so far with 1,900 passing yards to boot), and it’s worth mentioning that he’s starting to spread the ball around the field. Frustrated fantasy owners who spent high draft picks on wide receivers Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin didn’t expect to have wide receiver Scotty Miller lead the team in receiving yards halfway through the season, but Brady’s style has always been to spread the ball around.
Godwin might be out for the game, but you also may have heard recent news and wondered what year it was. Rob Gronkowski has found his form the last few weeks, and the team just signed wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown’s antics and moral qualities are a question, but his football abilities have never been in doubt; if he plays to even 80% of his abilities he showed in Pittsburgh, this offense will go from top-end to unstoppable.
The Bucs’ offensive line has taken a massive leap forward this year, as three of the five starting linemen were named to Pro Football Focus’s most improved list (in the offensive lineman category).
The Giants come off a long rest with extra time to prepare, but having a solid game against a leaky Eagles secondary is worlds different than facing what I believe is the best defense in the entire league. The Giants are likely to miss Devonta Freeman, who they signed after Saquon Barkley went down. They will have wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate back for a second game, but their best weapon, tight end Evan Engram, has been head-scratchingly used very sparingly this season by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
More concerning, the Giants’ best offensive lineman, guard Will Hernandez, has tested positive for COVID and will be missing this game. The Bucs defense has been the best in the league at limiting the run game, allowing a league-low 2.7 yards per carry to opposing running backs. And as I mention below, Shepard and Tate should be put in a vice-grip by the two ascendant cornerbacks playing for Tampa Bay. For a Giants team that hasn’t topped 16 points against a team with a defense that wasn’t the Cowboys or Eagles, I genuinely wonder how many times they’ll even get into the red zone.
The Buccaneers defense had the makings of a top-flight defense with excellent defensive coordinator Todd Bowles at the helm, but their coming-out party wasn’t until thoroughly locking down Aaron Rodgers two weeks ago to make the casual fan realize how dominant they are at all three levels.
The defensive line is stacked on the interior and exterior: pass rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett have both pressured quarterbacks with extreme consistency, while Ndamukong Suh has manned the interior with ease, and the team just acquired sturdy nose tackle, Steve McLendon, from the Jets. Their linebacker duo of Lavonte David and Devin White fly around the field in a way that is reminiscent of the Seahawks linebacker corps from 2012-2015. Their secondary has been led by two cornerbacks who are ascendant and have both played with remarkable poise for being so young: Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean have both manned outside wide receivers quite solidly. The Giants are going to have issues here.
The Giants defense is a work in progress. Cornerback James Bradberry brought over from Carolina by Giants GM Dave Gettleman has been a lone bright spot here. The team’s pass-rush was only slightly below average prior to this week, but they’ve lost Markus Golden (traded to Arizona), Lorenzo Carter, and Oshane Ximines (both on IR) for this game, so Brady will have all day to throw. I don’t really have much else to say here on the Giants’ defense; there’s not much one can.
Player Props and Bets
Ronald Jones over 61.5 rushing yards (-110)
The Giants’ aforementioned issues on the defensive line with players being unavailable, in addition to game script considerations likely meaning that the Bucs will be protecting a lead most of the second half. Further, Jones is averaging 72 rushing yards per game, giving me a good feeling that Jones should be comfortably over the 61.5 rushing yards, especially as Lesean McCoy and Keshawn Vaughn have been phased out for simply a backfield of Leonard Fournette and Jones. Jones has still been the lead dog in this backfield. I think the over 61.5 is a good bet here.
My betting analysis on the game? I believe the over 45 points is the play here as well as laying the 12.5 points with Buccaneers. I just fail to see how the Bucs can’t keep rolling here playing against a bottom-barrel Giants defense with no pass rush or coverage outside of Bradberry and adding in Antonio Brown to the mix catching passes from Brady. This game feels like it has blowout potential all over it. I think it ends up being a 35-13 type victory for the Bucs.