THE NEW YORK GIANTS SUPER BOWL CHANCES

In the wake of the New York Giants’ 21-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday on Monday Night Football, Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham proclaimed his team was on their way to the Super Bowl. Las Vegas is a little more skeptical—the Giants’ are a 35-1 shot to win it all. Who’s right, Odell or the oddsmakers?

Beckham’s comments were standard fare for a flamboyant receiver, but he does have a leg to stand on. A simple glance at the standings show New York sitting at 6-3, trailing only Dallas and Seattle among NFC teams. The defense ranks 11th in the league overall and they’re particularly good against the run.

The front four, with Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul on the edge and Damon Harrison anchoring the middle has won their battles at the line of scrimmage. The secondary is even better. A look at the film shows Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins playing at extremely high levels, with Andrew Adams and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie delivering consistent performance. You can make a good argument that this is the most balanced group of defensive backs in the league.

We also know that while Eli Manning has his faults, playing in January and February isn’t one of them. Eli has an 8-3 record as a starter in the playoffs, keyed by those magical Super Bowl runs of 2007 and 2011. They were also profitable for savvy NFL bettors—the Giants were an underdog in seven of those eleven games.

But if New York is a longshot to win the Super Bowl, it’s also with good reason. Eli might have been money in some postseasons going back a decade, but in the world of today, at age 35, he’s a below-average quarterback. He’s 18th among NFL quarterbacks in completion percentage, 17th in completion percentage and age hasn’t robbed him of his ability to make mistakes at an alarmingly high level. Eli’s throw 10 interceptions already and is near the bottom fo the league.

If you prefer other metrics, Eli is 17th in QBR an 21st in passer rating. His 15 touchdown passes are respectable, but in the context of these other numbers that just means he’s a better quarterback for Fantasy League players than at actually helping the Giants win games and cover spreads. The running game is even worse. New York ranks 29th in the league in yards-per-attempt and Rashad Jennings’ 255 yards somehow manage to lead the team at this point in the season.

It’s not surprising the Giants’ rank 24th in the league in points scored. The offensive line is a mess and while Beckham is backing up his talk with good play on the field, this team really needs Victor Cruz to get healthy.

So with the good and bad all put on the table, do you like the 35-1 price. My final judgment on this is for clients, but I’ll grant that it’s attractive, if simply for this reason—the Packers & Cardinals are shorter prices at 25-1 and neither team would make the playoffs if the season ended today. The Falcons are 18-1 and Matt Ryan lacks Eli’s postseason pedigree. Seattle is 8-1 and the Seahawks have their own offensive line problems to contend with. Dallas is 5-1, but playing with rookies at quarterback and running back.

The price is fair, but are the Giants’ good enough to make it worthwhile? That’s what have NFL bettors have to decide.

22
Sep

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