Thursday, September 25, 2014

Don't Count on the Skins Covering Thursday Night

The 1-2 Giants head into FedExField Thursday to take on their bitter NFC East rival, the 1-2 Redskins. The winner gets back to .500 and vaults themselves into an NFC East race that seems to be clinched with 9 wins every year. The Eagles, currently in the division lead at 3-0, make a tough trip to San Francisco Sunday afternoon, so this is a big opportunity for New York or Washington to turn their slow start around. Onto the action:

In Vegas, the line opened at Redskins (-5), but has since been bet down to (-3.5). This tells us that the sharps are expecting a pretty close game. In 2013, home teams were just 7-9-1 against the spread on Thursday Nights, so it's not exactly clear cut.  The standard bettor would tell you that all three home favorites have easily covered in Thursday night action. The Seahawks, Ravens, and Falcons all won by double-digits in weeks 1-3, limiting their opponents to a combined 36 points. Alas, there is a reason why the standard bettor generally loses - eventually. A three week sample size isn't enough for us to lock and load so let's go a bit deeper. 

Over their last 12 meetings, New York has won nine times, including a sweep last season. In addition, Tom Coughlin's Giants have covered 14 of 20 times as road underdogs since 2011. Last season alone, the Giants won outright in two out of their three road contests in the division. Against the entire league, New York posts a 39-19 ATS record on the road since 2006, as long as they're not favored by 3.5 points or more. Tonight of course, they're the underdog. In the Eli Manning era as a whole, New York has gone 30-19 as an underdog, regardless of where the game is played. The numbers are overwhelming.

How have the Skins fared? Well, they haven't won a divisional game since 2012. Those games weren't close either, as Washington only covered once against NFC foes in 2013. If this is not enough context for you, then how about a 5-11 ATS record as home favorites over the past six seasons? We get the hype behind Kirk Cousins, and he very well might fit this pocket-passing offense better than RGIII did, but that doesn't necessarily make them a safe bet.

We know that the on-field play will be a battle, and could go in a few different directions with so many weapons on the field. However, New York may be better equipped for a war. Washington has 17 of 53 players on their roster listed on the injury report this week. As for their big guns, OLB Brian Orakpo, their most talented defensive player, will have a cast on his hand for tonight's game. Their most dynamic skill player, former Eagle DeSean Jackson, played through a shoulder injury in Week 3, and will be forced to do so again. One big hit on the wrong side, and we could see him shy away from contact. Look for the big Giant corners to test that shoulder early with as much contact as they can get away with.

Of course, there are no locks in divisional games, especially the NFC East. Still, if you're banking on the Thursday Night Football home dominance to continue forever, you may be upset on Friday morning. Agree? Disagree? Come join us on SnapCall for the game. Coverage starts at 8:20 PM ET

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