2020 Team Betting Previews: Giants

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2020 Team Betting Previews: Giants

The Giants saw the end of an era in 2019 with two-time Super Bowl-winning QB Eli Manning retiring after 16 years. New York failed to send Manning off in grand fashion as the Giants finished with a 4-12 record, and they turned to his replacement Daniel Jones after just two games — Eli would start two more games at the end of the season, which included a victory in his final start. The organization also fired Pat Shurmur after just two seasons as the Giants matched a franchise-worst nine-game losing streak last year, which was originally set in 1976.

The Giants finished with a 7-9 against-the-spread record after trading away Odell Beckham in the off-season, and they cashed -700 odds for missing the playoffs. New York finished with a 10-6 mark toward over totals after allowing the third-most points per game (28.2) and scoring the 19th-most points per game (21.3). They finished with a rough 2-5 record in one-score games, and they got blown out quite a bit with a 1-6 mark in games decided by three scores or more.

New York’s 2020 win total (6) rose by half a win from last season despite finishing with the fourth-worst record. The Giants fell below their 2019 win total with their 11th loss of the season to the Eagles in week 14. New York has +340 odds to end their three-year playoff drought, which would be just its second postseason berth in the last nine years. Entering the season, I have the Giants power rated as the 28th-best team in the NFL (+7000 to win Super Bowl LV), as the 14th-best team in the NFC (+3000 to win the conference), and as the third-best team in the NFC East (+900).

2020 Schedule

WeekOpponent (spread if available)Time
1Pittsburgh Steelers (+3.5)7:15 (Mon)
2@Chicago Bears (-5)1
3San Francisco 49ers (+5.5)1
4@Los Angeles Rams (+6.5)4:05
5@Dallas Cowboys (+7.5)4:25
6Washington Football (-4)1
7@Philadelphia Eagles (+7.5)8:20 (Thurs)
8Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5)8:15 (Mon)
9@Washington Football (+1)1
10Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)1
11BYEBYE
12@Cincinnati Bengals (+1)1
13@Seattle Seahawks (+7.5)4:05
14Arizona Cardinals (-1.5)1
15Cleveland Browns (+1.5)1
16@Baltimore Ravens (+10.5)1
17Dallas Cowboys1

Key Off-season Moves

Additions

James Bradberry (CB)

Blake Martinez (LB)

Andrew Thomas (OT)

Cameron Fleming (OT)

Xavier McKinney (S)

Kyler Fackrell (LB)

Dion Lewis (RB)

Colt McCoy (QB)

Levine Toilolo (TE)

Departures

Nate Solder (OT, opted out)

Eli Manning (QB, retired)

Cody Latimer (WR, Was)

Alec Ogletree (LB, FA)

2020 Season Odds

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Team FuturesOdds
Season Win Total (O/U)6 (-125/+103)
NFC East+1000
Playoffs (Y/N)+370/-500
NFC Championship+3000
Super Bowl+7000

Reasons to Bet Over the Season Win Total

The 2019 Giants played like a team that was being led by a rookie quarterback and a quarterback that was set to retire at the conclusion of the season. Daniel Jones pulled out a comeback victory over the Buccaneers in his first NFL start, but the Giants went just 1-5 in their other one-score games last season. New York also finished dead last in the league with a -17 turnover differential thanks in large part to Jones averaging a dreadful 1.77 turnovers per game as a rookie. The Giants should have more success in close games if they can clean up their ugly turnover differential this season.

One of new OC Jason Garrett’s top tasks will be to help Jones clean up his mistakes, and it won’t hurt that Jones should have a much better cast around him. The Giants did take a blow with Nate Solder deciding to opt-out this season, but fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas and free-agent signee Cameron Fleming should be an overall upgrade for their tackle spots. The Giants also never actually had Jones, Saquon Barkley, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram all on the field together last season. New York has the potential to hang with most other offenses in the league if Jones can clean up his mistakes with a full cast in the fold this season.

The Giants should do a better job of turning the rock over, as well. New DC Patrick Graham blitzed at the seventh-highest rate with the Dolphins last season, and his undermanned defense incrementally improved over the course of last season. The Giants added some defensive reinforcements, especially in their secondary by signing CB James Bradberry and drafting S Xavier McKinney. The Giants run defense should hold up well this season with the likes Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence leading the charge up front, but Bradberry and McKinney need to make immediate impacts after the Giants allowed 7.6 YPA (fourth-most) and 264.1 passing yards per game (fifth-most).

There isn’t a whole lot to like about the Giants’ schedule this season outside of their two divisional matchups against Washington and a cross-conference showdown with the Bengals. They have just five games total against teams lined to finish under .500 with matchups against the Bears and the Cardinals also on their schedule.

Reasons to Bet Under the Season Win Total

The Giants are on their third head coach in five years after Pat Shurmur lasted just two seasons (2018-19). Ben McAdoo made it just one-plus season (2016-17) after the Giants fired him with four games to go in his second campaign. New York is looking to regain stability at the top after Tom Coughlin guided the franchise for 12 seasons (2014-15), which included two Super Bowl victories. New York turned to a relative unknown in Joe Judge to run the franchise after the Panthers outbid the Giants for Matt Rhule — Carolina gave Rhule a seven-year, $62 million contract.

Judge, at 38 years old, is in a tough spot as a first-time head coach as he tries to implement his schemes and he tries to run his first preseason camp during the most difficult of off-seasons. The Giants did bring in longtime Cowboys HC Jason Garrett to run the offense. He’ll help Judge with his transition from being a Patriots special teams coordinator to holding one of the league’s highest-profile head coaching positions.

Judge has earned a reputation for being an intense, detail-oriented coach who will get on his players for mistakes. Daniel Jones and the entire Giants offense have a lot of mistakes to clean up from last season after they turned the ball over 33 times (third-most), 23 of which Jones was responsible for (69.7%). New York forced the fifth-fewest turnovers on defense last season (16) so they need to dramatically flip their league-worst -17 turnover differential from last season.

The Giants will be hard-pressed to get to seven wins this season because of their difficult schedule. New York has the second-toughest schedule and the toughest slate in the NFC East based on 2020 win totals (per Sharp Football). The Giants are favored in just four of their 15 games that currently have lines, and they’d likely be underdogs if their Week 17 home game against the Cowboys was also lined.

The Giants face just two teams (@Chi, Was x2) with win totals sitting below eight and a half wins in the first 10 weeks of the season. New York also has three short-rest road games this season against the Bears in Week 2 (after MNF), the Eagles in Week 3 (TNF), and Washington in Week 9 (after MNF). The Giants and the rest of the NFC East drew tough matchups with their crossover games with the AFC North and NFC West. New York will also be underdogs against the Bears and the Buccaneers in their extra NFC games.

Notable Player Props

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Daniel Jones: passing yards (3800.5), most passing yards (+3000), passing TDs (25.5), MVP (+6600)

Fantasy Points Projections: passing yards (4025), passing TDs (26)

  • Best-case Scenario: Jones becomes a more consistent quarterback and he cuts back on his turnovers in his second season after flashing huge upside in several games as a rookie.

  • Worst-case Scenario: Jones once again struggles with consistency and ball-security issues and his receiving corps can’t manage to stay on the field as one unit.

Saquon Barkley: rushing yards (1200.5), most rushing yards (+900), OPOY (+2500)

Fantasy Points Projections: rushing yards (1215)

  • Best-case Scenario: The #4 overall pick Andrew Thomas solidifies the Giants’ offensive line, and Barkley runs wild on healthy legs after playing through a high ankle injury last season.
  • Worst-case Scenario: The Giants O-line struggles again with OT Nate Solder opting out for the season, and New York’s offense fails to take off under new OC Jason Garrett.

Darius Slayton: receiving yards (750.5)

Fantasy Points Projections: receiving yards (845)

  • Best-case Scenario: Slayton is the next X receiver in Jason Garrett’s Air Coryell offense to explode for a big season with the Giants taking vertical shots off their power-rushing attack.
  • Worst-case Scenario: Slayton doesn’t see enough targets to maintain his momentum off a strong rookie year with Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram actually staying on the field.

Sterling Shepard: receiving yards (775.5)

Fantasy Points Projections: receiving yards (695)

  • Best-case Scenario: A healthy Shepard goes back to being the #1 receiver after he averaged 8.3 targets per game last season with 6+ targets in each of his 10 games.
  • Worst-case Scenario: Shepard struggles to separate from the rest of these receivers once again, and he also has issues staying on the field after two injury-riddled campaigns in his last three seasons.

Golden Tate: receiving yards (725.5)

Fantasy Points Projections: receiving yards (745)

  • Best-case Scenario: Tate brings consistency to an offense with so many unreliable weapons, and Tate becomes Daniel Jones’s security blanket in the middle of the field.
  • Worst-case Scenario: Tate continues to play second fiddle to Sterling Shepard when they’re both on the field together after recording 15 fewer catches in their six games together last season.

Evan Engram: receiving yards (700.5)

Fantasy Points Projections: receiving yards (730)

  • Best-case Scenario: Engram’s body actually cooperates with him this season and he lives up to his elite fantasy TE potential that he’s teased us with at times in his career.
  • Worst-case Scenario: Engram spends too much time in the trainer’s room instead of the field after missing 29.2% of his games in the first four years of his career.

Best Bets and Leans

I’m likely going to fade the Giants early in the season since I see them dealing with some growing pains right out of the gates. They have a first-time head coach and a young QB learning his second offense in as many NFL seasons, and they’ll be learning on the fly against an absolutely treacherous opening schedule. The Giants face just two teams (@Chi, Was x2) with win totals sitting below eight and a half wins in the first 10 weeks of the season.

I may be fading the Giants early this season, but I could see this team improving as the season goes along as their familiarity with the new coaching staff ramps up and as their schedule eases up in the back half of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants are money losers against the spread early in the year, and money winners later in the season once the calendar flips to November. The problem is I think the Giants will dig themselves too big of a hole to climb out of when it comes to their win total. I’m betting New York to finish under six and a half wins this season.

I’ll also be looking to bet Giants games over their totals this season unless Jason Garrett takes the air out of the football like he previously did in Dallas until last season when Kellen Moore took over the offense and the Cowboys finished second in plays per second at 25.54 seconds (per Football Outsiders). The Giants finished 10-6 toward over totals last season, and I see this offense scoring their fair share of points and this defense allowing plenty after giving up the third-most points per game (28.2) last season.

Best Bets: New York Giants under six and a half wins (-125, FoxBet). Risk one and a half units to win 1.2 units.

Leans: None of note.

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.