Monday Night Football Betting Preview: Odds, trends, picks for Buccaneers-Giants

In what should be another doozy of a prime-time matchup, the Buccaneers (5-2) travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the Giants (1-6) on Monday Night Football. The Bucs are overwhelming road favorites at -13 (-690), and the over/under has settled at 45. If an upset occurs this evening, it will be on the spread, not on the moneyline. BetQL’s NFL Best Bet Model has the Bucs winning outright, putting a three-star rating on Tampa Bay on the moneyline up to -753.

You can visit BetQL.com 24/7 for all updated lines, odds, spreads, and expert picks for this and every NFL game of the 2020 season. But for now, keep reading to see BetQL’s full betting preview and predictions for this Monday Night showdown between teams on opposite sides of the NFC standings.

Buccaneers-Giants Betting Preview

Buccaneers Outlook

The Bucs would be in sole possession of first place in the NFC South with a win tonight. Head coach Bruce Arians’ squad has played exceptionally well since its tough Week 1 loss to the Saints. In the six games since, they have gone 5-1 and outscored their opponents 199-108. Their only loss since the opener was a 20-19 defeat on a Thursday night in Chicago, in which Brady committed an out-of-character mental error while running the two-minute offense late in the game. The future Hall-of-Famer confused the downs, thinking he had one play left, when in fact he had just turned the ball over on downs.

Since that blunder, Brady has been focused and on point. He and the Bucs embarrassed Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 38-10 at home two weeks ago and dismantled the Raiders 45-20 in Las Vegas in Week 7. The veteran signal-caller has thrown for six touchdowns in the past two weeks (with no interceptions), and he tied his season-high with 369 passing yards against the Raiders.

Brady has spread the ball around to all sorts of different receivers, something he has done well in the most successful NFL seasons of his 20-year career. Last week, he completed 33-of-45 passes and hit a total of nine different teammates throughout the game. Having Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II in the backfield has helped Brady keep defenses honest and avoid dust-ups caused by Tampa’s inconsistent offensive line. Jones has averaged 4.6 yards per carry on the season and found the end zone four times. Fournette has averaged 4.9 yards, scored twice, and caught 13-of-15 targets. Together, they have averaged 106.9 rushing yards per game.

As if its barrage of offensive weapons doesn’t pose enough of a threat to opponents, Tampa Bay’s expertly assembled defense has also been fantastic this season. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ unit ranks first in rushing yards allowed, first downs allowed, and average yards per defensive possession. The Bucs surrender the third-fewest total yards and rank seventh in both passing and rushing touchdowns allowed.

“Stacked” seems to be the only word to describe this defense. It features an intimidating trio of linebackers in second-year stud Devin White, veteran Lavonte David, and 2019 sacks leader Shaquil Barrett. These guys gobble the run, aide in the passing game, and explode into the pocket. They have combined for 103 solo tackles and 8.5 sacks on the season. In front of them are veteran defensive end and former Giant Jason Pierre-Paul (5.5 sacks), former All-Pro Ndamukong Suh (3), and veteran William Gholston (11 QB hits). Behind them is an underrated secondary that gets better each game. Cornerback Carlton Davis has three interceptions and an NFL-leading 11 passes defensed, and rookie free safety Antoine Winfield Jr. has been a surprise revelation for Bowles, making big plays all over the field each game.

Giants Outlook

With a gaping hole left by Saquon Barkley’s early-season knee injury and a receiving corps no stranger to the injury report, the Giants have asked second-year quarterback Daniel Jones to make mountains out of mole hills. Often, the best play New York can muster up is a designed QB run, as evidenced by Jones’ 80-yard scamper (and eventual tumble) against the Eagles in defeat last week. With 296 yards on the ground this season, Jones leads the team in rushing by 124 yards. The Giants’ next-leading rusher, veteran back Devonta Freeman, will miss tonight’s game with an ankle injury. Wayne Gallman will likely handle the bulk of the carries for New York, and Dion Lewis will handle the pass-catching duties out of the Giants backfield.

Perhaps by virtue of health and opportunity, second-year receiver Darius Slayton has easily led the Giants in receiving this season with 429 yards, 15.9 yards per catch, and three touchdowns. Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard have occasionally flashed their playmaking abilities since their respective returns, and they have combined to catch 34-of-44 targets, but Jones often fails to elude pressure long enough to spot them when they find separation. Tight end Evan Engram has been a major disappointment, dropping a handful of passes and averaging just 31.9 receiving yards per game and 5.1 yards per target.

Long story short, the Giants rank 31st in points, total yards, and first downs. They are 30th in passing yards and touchdown passes, 27th in rushing yards, and 28th in rushing TDs. They have nine total offensive touchdowns and 13 total turnovers.  

The Giants defense has at least provided brief moments of optimism for head coach Joe Judge. New York ranks eighth in yards allowed on the ground and fifth in rushing yards per attempt. Opponents score on 46.4 percent of their possessions against the Giants (10th-best), and they rank 13th in total yards allowed and 14th in points surrendered.

If the Giants offense could ever allow its defense to stay off the field, they would probably be enjoying much more success. Prized offseason acquisition Blake Martinez has remained one of the top linebackers in the league, gobbling up tackles at a monstrous rate. James Bradberry has shined at cornerback with three interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. On the whole, the team has 18 sacks and 48 QB hits, but when exhaustion hits or when their confidence lags due to the struggles on the other side of the ball, opponents start chipping away at them through the air.

Prediction

Brady has thrown for 15 touchdowns and only one interception in the past five weeks, and the Buccaneers only stumble in that timeframe came against a superb defense in Chicago. Absolutely nothing about the Giants should be seen as a threat to the three-time MVP. His focus and attention to details — even against inferior opponents — has helped make him arguably the greatest quarterback the game has ever seen. Even without the stellar Godwin (finger) this week, Brady has too many weapons and too elite of a defense behind him for the Giants to even sniff a W.

BetQL’s Best Bet Model does like the Giants to put up enough of a garbage-time fight to cover the plus-13 oddsmakers have given them at home. It puts a full five-star confidence rating on the underdogs to lose by 11 points or less. The model also puts three-star confidence on the Giants covering plus-7 at the half. But moneyline and over/under bettors should be comfortable backing Tampa Bay and the UNDER, with the model projecting the heavily-favored Bucs to win an implied final score of 27-16. It points out a key five-star trend: Over the course of his career, Bruce Arians is 19-1 against teams that have been outscored by at least six points per game on the season. Make it 20 for the veteran Arians, as his star-studded cast cruises to a relatively easy Monday Night victory. 

You can find all updated lines, odds, spreads, and NFL picks at BetQL!

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