- A pair of NFC teams with losing records fight to hold onto their small slices of playoff hope.
New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons (-5.5)
Mon. 10/22, 8:15 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Giants-Falcons:
1. The Giants will have gone one day shy of a month without a victory when the team tries for its second win of the season in Atlanta on Monday night. New York's defense has been gashed for 100 points during its current three-game losing skid, during which it has fallen 33-18 to New Orleans, 33-31 at Carolina and 34-13 at home to Philadelphia last Thursday. This is a tough spot for the Giants to try to turn things around on that side of the football, as Atlanta has surpassed 30 points in all four of its 2018 home games. The Falcons are gaining an average of 440 yards per game at home and have not committed a turnover in any of the previous three games they have played in Atlanta. While the team hasn’t turned the ball over more than once in any game so far this season, the Giants enter this one with a turnover margin of minus-4 after having already notched three games this season with two or more giveaways. Underdogs of between 3.5 and 10 points are 5-16 against the spread since the start of the 2014 season when facing an opponent that is coming off four consecutive games of not turning the ball over more than once.
2. Not only does Monday's playing surface favor the speedy Falcons, but it has also hindered the Giants in the past two seasons. In games played on turf since the start of the 2017 campaign, New York is 3-11 against the spread while being outscored by an average margin of 13 points. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has been far more effective at home than on the road in his career, having gone 55-27 straight up while passing for an average of 266 yards per game with 140 touchdowns and 59 interceptions. This includes a near-perfect game the only time he's hosted the Giants, when he went 23-for-28 for 270 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 34-0 rout in 2012. Considering the Giants defense is tied with Oakland and New England for the fewest sacks in the league at seven, Ryan will likely be able to operate from a clean pocket throughout most of Monday night.
3. Giants quarterback Eli Manning is coming off a game in which he posted a season-low 66.1 passer rating with no touchdowns in 43 attempts in a blowout loss at home to the Eagles. He has now lost 17 of his 21 starts since the start of last season and has thrown an equal number of interceptions and touchdowns (seven) over his past eight games. The fact that Vegas is expecting a relatively high-scoring affair—the Bengals-Chiefs game is the only one on the Week 7 slate with a higher total than this one—doesn’t bode well for the Giants, as they’ve gone 1-9 straight up (2-7-1 against the spread) when playing in a game with an over/under between 51 and 58 points.
Pick: Atlanta -5.5
Confidence Level: Very High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)