How do you handicap this? New Jersey sports bettors scratch their heads assessing the New York Giants, who take a 1-5 record and hospital-like injury report into Sunday’s home game against the 3-3 Carolina Panthers.
The line opened at Carolina -2.5 on Sunday night. Enough bettors jumped on the line to push it to -3 on Monday, but that’s where it stayed as of late Thursday.
NY Giants vs. Panthers odds at NJ sportsbooks
Why hasn’t the Giants-Panthers line moved?
Given the Giants’ injuries to key players like Saquon Barkley (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee), Kadarius Toney (ankle), and members of its offensive line, it seemed like that line could go higher.
Should it have?
No, according to Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings. He noted some intangibles, which are always hard to project onto a point spread, as examples of why the line is where it belonged Thursday night.
“I don’t think the Panthers are playing all that well,” Avello said of a team that has lost three straight, including a blown lead against the Philadelphia Eagles, after starting 3-0. “The Giants have been in a few games and it’s not like the Panthers are the Kansas City Chiefs.
“When [running back Christian] McCaffrey is not there, they are not the same team,” he added.
Avello considers the injured McCaffrey (hamstring) a two-to-three-point handicapping variable all by himself.
When the Giants got seven points against the New Orleans Saints in Week 4, Avello said they looked ready to give the Saints a tough game. Big Blue prevailed in overtime.
He can neither endorse nor rule out the Giants this week.
“There are reasons to look at the Giants here,” Avello indicated. “When you analyze them, they have covered the spread a couple of times, [against Washington in Week 2 and New Orleans in Week 4]. “With the exception of last week against the Rams [a 38-11 loss], they generally play pretty well at home.
“I don’t think the line should be more than it is, but this is a tough call, it really is.”
Tracking New York-Carolina betting at DraftKings
New Jersey bettors continued pounding Carolina to the tune of 85% at -3 through Thursday evening. If that line is nudged up to -3.5, Carolina betting would likely cool.
As of early Friday morning, the Panthers were a 2.5-point favorite.
The wagering difficulty Avello alluded to carries into the props. Both quarterbacks, Sam Darnold of Carolina and Daniel Jones of the Giants, had the exact same yardage prop, 233.5 yards at DraftKings. That almost never happens. Darnold’s line moved slightly by Friday morning. Both are -115.
Both are favored to throw less than two touchdowns.
The injuries to the Giants will make many of their players hard to find in the prop area.
What props are NJ sportsbooks offering?
Caesars Sportsbook customers will notice several possibilities for anytime scorer. Running back Chuba Hubbard of Carolina is +101 as an anytime scorer. Darnold is +340 and Daniel Jones is +360.
Watch for props on D.J. Moore as a scoring threat and turnover totals for Jones and Darnold as kickoff draws closer. A defensive score is possible in this situation.
It’s tough to know whom New Jersey bettors can trust regarding individual wagering, besides Jones.
The return of Darnold, a former New York Jet, creates interest. Through three games, he looked reborn after being traded to the Panthers.
In the last three games, he’s looked like a Jet.
Darnold has thrown six interceptions over his last three games and has seen drastic dips in his completion percentage, yards, and passer rating.
This is, in some respects, a make-or-break game for him. Criticism is mounting for him in Carolina. A bad game here will encourage sentiment to bench him.
If the Giants rattle him into enough mistakes, they may cover that number.
With depleted personnel, this one may be too tough to call. But New Jersey bettors will try anyway.
Because of injuries, these may not be the real New York Giants. But this is real money and it is an NFL Sunday.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger