NFL Betting Preview: New Orleans Saints at New York Giants

New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
Sunday, December 9, 2012, 4:25 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, New Jersey
Opening Line: New York -4 1/2
Current Line: New York -5
Opening Total: 53 1/2
Current Total: 53
Opening Money Line: Giants -230 / Saints +190
Current Money Line: Giants -230 / Saints +190

Eli Manning and the Giants host the Saints in a key NFC match-up Sunday. The Giants are 5 point favorites.

The 5-7 New Orleans Saints travel to the 7-5 New York Giants in a crucial NFC battle. The Saints,  under interim coach Joe Vitt, have lost 2 straight games to the NFC’s top two teams the San Francisco 49ers 31-21 and Atlanta Falcons 23-13. The Saints are two games behind the 7-5 Seattle Seahawks for the last wild card spot in the NFC playoffs. The Saints are also behind four 6-6 teams in the NFC. New Orleans pretty much has to run the table to have any shot at the playoffs, and would still need some help. The Saints have home games left against Tampa Bay and Carolina, plus a road game at Dallas, in addition to the game against the Giants. New Orleans is 6-6 ATS and the total is 7-5 this season.

The Giants, under coach Tom Coughlin, lead the NFC East by a game over the 6-6 Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. The Giants have lost 3 of their last 4 games, including last Monday at the Redskins 17-16. The Giants have a tough schedule with this game and road games at Atlanta and Baltimore, before closing at home against Philadelphia. The Giants are 5-6-1 ATS and the total is 3-9 this season.

The Saints have won 3 straight games against the Giants including 49-24 last season in New Orleans. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is 4-0 in his career against the Giants with 1,055 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in those games.

The Saints are averaging 386.4 yards per game on offense, including 294.2 passing yards and 92.2 rushing yards. New Orleans is being outscored 27.2-26.8 this season. The Saints are in the top 10 in the league in total offense, passing, and scoring, but 27th in rushing. The Saints are -2 in turnovers. New Orleans has allowed 22 sacks and forced 25. The Saints are 73/163 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, the Saints are allowing 440.5 yards per game, including 286.7 passing yards and  153.8 rushing yards. The Saints are 28th or worse in all defensive categories, including dead last in total defense and against the rush. Saints’ opponents are 67/173 on third and fourth down conversions. The Saints have three defensive/special teams touchdowns.

Brees has completed 304 of 492 passes (61.8%) for 3,674 yards with 31 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He has been sacked 22 times but has a rushing touchdown. Brees has struggled the last two games with 7 interceptions. In the prior 8 games, he had only thrown 5 interceptions total. He had thrown a touchdown pass in an NFL record 54 straight games before the Atlanta loss, but that streak ended last Thursday night. In fact, Brees threw 5 interceptions, the most in his career in one game.

Running back Pierre Thomas has 89 carries, 425 yards, and a touchdown, along with 22 catches for 210 yards. Mark Ingram has 98 carries, 352 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 22 yards. Chris Ivory has 36 carries, 195 yards and 2 touchdowns. Darren Sproles returned from a broken hand two weeks ago. He has 26 carries for 117 yards along with 51 carries, 435 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also returns kicks and punts, and averages 29 yards per kick return. Receiver Marques Colston has 61 catches, 828 yards and 8 touchdowns. Lance Moore has 82 catches, 822 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Jimmy Graham has 59 catches, 654 yards and 8 touchdowns. Devery Henderson has 20 catches, 289 yards and a touchdown. Four offensive tackles and five defensive players are questionable or out Sunday.

The Giants are averaging 371.2 yards per game on offense, including 256.3 passing and 114.8 rushing yards. New York is outscoring teams 27-20 this season. The Giants are in the top 15 in the league in all offensive categories. The Giants are +14 in turnovers. New York has forced 30 sacks and allowed 15 this season. New York is 67/160 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, the Giants are allowing 366.9 yards per game including 245.2 passing yards and 121.8 rushing yards. New York opponents are 63/156 on third and fourth conversions. The Giants have 2 defensive touchdowns this season.

Eli Manning has completed 60.7% of his passes for 3,170 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has been sacked 14 times. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw has 185 carries, 836 yards, and 5 touchdowns, along with 21 catches for 196 yards. He has been battling nagging injuries all season and is probable with an ankle injury. Andre Brown had 73 carries, 385 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 12 catches for 86 yards. He is out for the season with a knee injury. David Wilson has 28 carries, 111 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Victor Cruz has 68 catches, 883 yards and 8 touchdowns. Hakeem Nicks has 46 catches, 585 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a knee injury. Tight end Martellus Bennett has 44 catches, 537 yards and 4 touchdowns. Domenik Hixon has 26 catches for 380 yards. He is questionable with an ankle injury. Ramses Barden and Rueben Randle will also get some catches. Nine Giant defensive players are listed on the injury report.

The Saints are 5-0 ATS in December, 5-1 in Week 14, 14-4 on fieldturf, 9-3 against teams with winning records, 5-2 after scoring 15 points or less, 12-5 in NFC games, 20-9 after a straight up loss, 11-5 after passing for more than 250 yards, 13-6 after gaining more than 350 yards, and 15-7 overall. New Orleans is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 against the Giants, but 1-4 in road games in the series.

The Giants are 4-0-1 ATS after passing for more than 250 yards, 5-2 after a straight up loss, after failing to cover, and in Sunday games after playing on Monday night the previous week, 1-3-1 after allowing more than 350 yards, 1-4 after gaining more than 350 yards, 3-13 at home against teams with losing road records, and 1-6 against teams with losing records. The home team and favorite is 7-1 ATS in this series recently. The under is 5-0-1 in the last 6 games in New Jersey in this series.

The key for the Giants is to get pressure on Brees. If they do that then they have a good chance of winning. Brees has little choice but to pass 40 or 50 times per game because the Saints have virtually no running game. The Saints also have the worst defense in the NFL. The Giants aren’t much better, but they do force a lot of turnovers. I think the Giants win a close shootout.

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