NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers
In this writer's humble opinion, the games matching the marquee teams each week aren't always the most interesting ones. For example, the two best matchups on paper this week if you go by the caliber of the franchises would be Patriots at Broncos and Cowboys at Falcons. But it gets tiring previewing New England and Dallas every other week - and there will be plenty of time for that going forward, including likely the playoffs.
No, in my mind clearly the most intriguing game of Week 10 is the New York Giants at the San Francisco 49ers, the NFC's Toilet Bowl of 2017 and probably the worst matchup we will see record-wise overall because the 49ers and Browns don't play.
Needless to say, this has squat to do with the playoffs as these clubs are going to finish last in their respective divisions, which at least means they get a last-place schedule in 2018. It definitely will have big-time draft implications as the Niners (0-9) would currently pick first in 2018, Cleveland (0-8) second and the Giants (1-7) third. The loser Sunday could be a big winner.
I also believe this game could determine whether Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese will return next year for the Giants - if their fate hasn't already been decided. Oh, and maybe Eli Manning's future too.
Giants at 49ers Betting Story Lines
If the Giants weren't such a stable organization without a history of canning coaches midseason, I'd be totally shocked that McAdoo wasn't fired last Sunday night following his team's embarrassing 51-17 home loss to the Rams. You really can't be losing like that regardless, but definitely not coming out of your bye week as New York was (to be fair, so was L.A.). That game showed how much good coaching can change things as L.A.'s Sean McVay looks like the next Bill Walsh at just 31 and McAdoo a giant dufus. It was the most points allowed by the Giants at home since the end of the 1964 season.
Oh, it gets better. The Giants allowed Robert Woods to go nearly untouched on a 52-yard TD screen pass when the Rams were on third-and-33. New York had three turnovers and a punt blocked. About the only bright spot was Manning becoming the seventh NFL QB to reach 50,000 career yards. Eli has been a big talking point this week as McAdoo wouldn't rule out benching the two-time Super Bowl winner if things don't improve. Manning hasn't missed a start since 2004 and is signed through 2019.
The Giants can't really cut him loose this offseason for cap reasons (well, it would be tough - you hear some rumblings of a potential trade to the Jaguars, whose front office is now being run by former Giants coach Tom Coughlin) but easily could before '19. Bovada hasn't released its weekly specials yet, but I'm sure there will be one on Eli's future. It might be prudent to see what the Giants have in 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb at some point - and help determine whether to select a QB high next year. New York could also use a running back in the worst way, so Saquon Barkley surely would be consideration too. The last time the Giants had a Top 5 pick was in 2004 when they got Manning (but actually drafted Philip Rivers).
San Francisco likely has its QB of the future with last week's stunning trade for Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo even though he can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Just don't expect to see Jimmy G this Sunday. The Niners are treating him with kid gloves and have a complex offensive system. They want him fluent in that - and the offensive line in full health -- before taking the field.
As of now, Kyle Shanahan is starting rookie C.J. Beathard this week again and replacing him only in the event of an injury. The team doesn't have a third QB on the roster, so if Beathard were to get hurt then Garoppolo would have to play. One report was that the team was hoping to sign Garoppolo to a long-term deal before he saw the field. Then again, I'm sure Jimmy G's agent wants him to hit the market or at least land the franchise tag. As for Beathard, he's completing just 50.9 percent of his passes with two scores, four picks and a rating of 62.7. The team has scored exactly 10 points in three straight games and ranks 29th in scoring at 15.9 ppg. The receiving group is terrible in the wake of Pierre Garcon's season-ending injury.
Giants at 49ers Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes this game is a pick'em with a total of 42 . New York is a slight -120 moneyline favorite. On the alternate lines, the Giants are -1 (-110) and -1.5 (-105). New York is 3-5 against the spread (3-1 on road) and 4-4 "over/under" (2-2 on road). San Francisco is 4-5 ATS (1-3 at home) and 4-5 O/U (2-2 at home).
The Giants are 5-0 ATS in their past five road games vs. teams with a losing home record. They are 5-2-1 ATS in their past eight after an ATS loss. The 49ers are 7-16 ATS in their past 23 vs. teams with a losing record. They are 2-9 ATS in their past 11 at home. The under is 7-2 in the Giants' past nine following an ATS loss. It's 13-4 in San Francisco's previous 17 in November.
Giants at 49ers Betting Prediction
New York has won three of the past four in this series, last 30-27 at home in Week 5 of the 2015 season. Manning had a huge game, completing 41 of 54 for 441 yards and three scores, including the winner to Larry Donnell from 12 yards out with 21 seconds to play. Colin Kaepernick was the 49ers' QB that day.
This is by far the Niners' best chance to avoid a winless season - maybe they can win Week 13 in Chicago or Week 17 at the Rams if L.A. has nothing to play for by then. I simply can't trust Beathard, though. If the Giants had benched Manning for Geno Smith or Webb, then maybe. Take New York and the under.
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