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“The job is not finished.”
The quote came from Kobe Bryant during the 2009 NBA Finals. The Lakers held a 2-0 lead on the Orlando Magic, and Bryant was asked why he seemed dissatisfied with the two wins, and he replied, stone-faced, “The job is not finished.”
New York Giants coach Brian Daboll played that Kobe clip for his team at practice. The Giants are now embarking on the second half of the season with a 6-2 record that has made them one of the NFL’s biggest surprises. They opened as 7-point favorites against the team with the NFL’s worst record, and the line has since dropped to 4 1/2.
Well, the Giants victories have come by 1, 3, 5, 8, 4 and 6 points, with each and every one of them marked by a strong second-half full of adjustments made by Daboll and his staff. The Giants win consistently, but do not win big, and trend bettors are using that recent history to pound down the line against the team visiting from Texas.
1-6-1 is not a great record, but three of Houston’s losses have come by a touchdown or less. The Texans do have one of the NFL’s best rookies, running back Dameon Pierce, along with ex-Bills defensive lineman Jerry Hughes, who had two sacks, two quarterback hits, and two tackles for losses last week. That was against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles in a 29-17 loss that was a four-point game entering the fourth quarter.
4 wins in a row against the Texans #TBT
— New York Giants (@Giants) November 10, 2022
Where Are The Best Wagers?
Saquon Barkley is playing for a contract and has been steady but unspectacular throughout the season. His 779 rushing yards rank third in the NFL. This week, he will go up against a Texans defense that ranks last in the NFL by a wide margin in defending against the run.
Barkley has rushed for 100 or more yards only three times all season, and his high of 164 came in the season opener against Tennessee. His over/under of 92 1/2 is as high as it has been all season. That’s despite the fact that he is coming off his worst offensive game of the year against Seattle. In that game, he rushed 20 times for a season-low 53 yards and caught three passes for a season-low 9 yards.
The Texans allow 180.6 yards per game on the ground, and the team ranked above them at No. 31 is the Detroit Lions at 148.8 yards per game. That is a nearly 32-yard differential between the worst rushing defense and the second-worst rushing defense, so one would assume the Giants will attack with a bunch of rushes — not only by Barkley, but also Daniel Jones, whose over/under rushing yardage line is 34 1/2, a number he has eclipsed four times.
Giants bettors must expect that Daboll will run the ball until the Texans show him he should not be running the ball, likely to the side of the field where Hughes is not lined up.
Two sacks in two plays for @Iam_jerryhughes. He’s still got it! #WeAreTexans#PHIvsHOU on Prime Video
Also available on NFL+ https://t.co/eUDwChPddF pic.twitter.com/vkjbGrCNpm
— NFL (@NFL) November 4, 2022
What Are The Sportsbooks Seeing?
The over/under line opened at 38 1/2 and was the lowest on the board for this week’s games, but has since moved to 41. BetMGM has taken an astonishing 88% of over/under handle on the “over.” You almost never see 88%. But this week, it is trending harder than the shade being thrown at Elon Musk.
BetMGM has seen handle percentages of 88 for the “under” on Vikings-Bills due to the uncertainty surrounding Josh Allen that we told you about yesterday in our column highlighting sharp play on the Jets to win the AFC East. That’s along with 84% on Broncos-Titans under, 89% on Saints-Steelers under, 84% on Broncos-Titans under, and 87% on Packers-Cowboys under.
“The public has been smashing the Seahawks all week; it will be one of the most popular sides of the board this Sunday morning in Germany against the Buccaneers,” said Seamus Magee, sports trader at BetMGM. “The public is not riding with Russell Wilson and the Broncos as tickets and handle are favoring the Titans. The Colts and their newly appointed head coach also are getting no love as Las Vegas might be our biggest liability this week. The public has backed the Cowboys but sharps are supporting the Packers. Vikings and Bills is seeing massive sharp action while mystery surrounds MVP candidate Josh Allen’s status for Sunday.”
The Giants are tied for the NFL lead with a 6-2-0 against the spread record, and they have gone over only twice in eight games: By a half-point in Week 3 at Dallas, and by 7 points against the Packers in London. The Texans have gone over in four of their past six, which is big reason why that Giants’ “over” wager is so popular.
Because they are coming off a bye week, the Giants should be refreshed … although they did lose one of their best defenders when safety Xavier McKinney, who is among the team leaders in tackles with 38, injured his hand while on vacation during the bye week.
Texans quarterback Davis Mills, despite having thrown 8 interceptions, will undoubtedly try to pick on whoever replaces McKinney in the Giants’ defensive backfield. The Giants have not returned an interception for a touchdown yet this season, and they also sit on zero for special teams TDs. If you believe they are due, BetMGM is offering +500 on the Giants’ special teams/defense to score a TD in a Giants’ win, along with +1400 for New York’s first TD to come from special teams or defense.
Giants doubters can get the Texans’ defense/special team to score a TD and the Texans win at +1800 at BetMGM.
Need this Sunday. #TBT pic.twitter.com/vrrN6eTMcD
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) November 11, 2022
An NFL-Wide Oddity Worth Mentioning
No NFL player has returned a punt for a touchdown this season, and there has been only one kickoff return for a touchdown, done by Baltimore’s Devin Duverney in Week 3 on the opening kickoff against Miami.
So one of those two is due somewhere around the NFL this weekend, and if you want to wager that it’ll happen for one of the Giants, it would probably be unwise to wager on Richie James. That’s after he fumbled two punt returns two weeks ago against Seattle. Running back Gary Brightwell handles kickoff return duties and may pull double duty on special teams this weekend, and he is +3300 at BetMGM to score the first TD for the Giants.
In terms of flyer wagers, that may be one for you. The second-year running back out of Arizona has only four rushes this season, one of which was for a touchdown.
Also overdue is a 2-or-more touchdown game from Barkley, who has not had one of those since 2019. BetRivers is the only New York book offering a line of Barkley to score twice, and that line is only +360. But as noted above, he is playing for a contract, and at some point in his career he will score three touchdowns in a game. If it happens against the Texans, BetRivers has that option on the board at +1400.
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