The New York Giants (3-2) capped off an emotional week by defeating the San Francisco 49ers 30-27 on Sunday Night Football. Here are some closing thoughts on the game and my take on a Week 6 tilt against Philadelphia.


Eli Manning threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns, but was lucky that two of his errant passes hit the turf instead of being intercepted by San Francisco defenders. Manning, who has made a career out of leading game winning drives, ‘dink and dunked’ his way down the field, steeping up Larry Donnell’s spectacular, game-winning touchdown grab. While it’s easy to credit (and somewhat blame) Manning for game outcomes, his offensive line, namely his tackles, did not play well. Rookie Ereck Flowers and sixth-year vet, Marshall Newhouse, allowed 16 pressures as San Francisco defenders routinely ran into the backfield. Credit outside linebacker, Aaron Lynch, who is one of the emerging playmakyers in the NFL. Lynch beat Newhouse throughout the game and hit Manning four times and applied eight pressures.

What’s Next?: New York heads down to I-95 to face Philadelphia next week on Monday Night Football. Flowers and Newhouse will likely have a tough time against Philadelphia’s talented pass rush, which is led by Fletcher Cox. Manning is taking a lot of hits, so Flowers and Newhouse will need to perform much better.


On the other side of the ball, many were expecting the defense to ‘tee off’ on Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, however, was pretty solid since the Giants failed to generate a pass rush. Damontre Moore was able to register two sacks, including one key sack late in the fourth quarter, but was pretty quiet for the majority of the game. Credit offensive tackle, Joe Staley for keeping Moore at bay. Kerry Wynn was adequate, but this defense really misses Jason Pierre-Paul and Robert Ayers.

What’s Next?: Things will not get easier in Week 6 as Moore and Wynn will battle with an offensive line that is led by perennial All-Pros, Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. Putting pressure on Sam Bradford and creating turnovers will be the key to the game.

Quarter-Poll Thoughts: 

At the ‘Quarter-Poll’ of the 2015 season, the Giants feel like a ‘sneaky’ team in the sense that they aren’t getting much publicity. The Giants have had a fourth quarter lead in all of their games and could very well be 5-0. Instead, the Giants have a small one game lead in the NFC East. Personnel-wise, the Giants’ offensive skill positions are Top-5 in the NFL. The offensive line, sans Flowers and Newhouse, has performed well. On defense, the Giants desperately needs generate a consistent pass rush. A resurgent, aggressive pass rush would have helped the Giants seal victories against Dallas and Atlanta. It’s fairly clear that the top two teams in the NFL are the Patriots and Packers, but the Giants can rise up the ranks by correcting its issues on the edge.

Tonight will be a pivot moment in Matt Harvey’s career. Billed as New York’s ace, Harvey will take the ball at Citi Field in a pivotal Game 3. Harvey, who is no stranger to the spotlight, will have a chance to move New York one step closer to the National League Championship Series. Harvey loves the spotlight; his whole persona is built upon seizing the big moment. In some ways, tonight’s game is reminiscent of the New York Yankees’ run in the late 1990s. Granted, the Mets have not won a World Series title since 1986, but Game 3 has a ‘big game feel’ to it. Big games require big performances and fans are used to seeing New York athletes rise to the occasion. Andy Pettitte made a career of pitching in (and winning) big playoff games. Pettitte, who has arguably the best resume in playoff history (42 starts, 263 innings, 19 wins, five World Series rings), brought intensity and determination to the mound. Pettitte, however, found a way to harness that intensity as he methodically worked through opposing lineups. Harvey has elite ‘stuff’, but can he harness his emotions and deliver an elite performance? There’s a lot of bad blood between these two teams after Chase Utley’s controversial slide in Game 2. As a side note, Utley, who is appealing his suspension, is 6-for-18 with one home run against Harvey.

The Mets, alike the late 1990s Yankees, are the only show in town. Football is on the back burner and the Mets are front and center in the minds and hearts of New York sports fans. The onus is on Matt Harvey to deliver an elite performance. Given his make-up, mentality, and propensity for the spotlight, expect Matt Harvey to deliver a big performance tonight.

Regular season win totals have been released for each NFL team. Over the next month, we’ll preview each division and provide a ‘best bet’. Today, we’ll focus on the NFC North division.

It took all 17 weeks to decide, but the Green Bay Packers (12-4) once again reigned supreme atop the NFC North division. Green Bay’s NFC North foes Detroit (11-5),  Minnesota (7-9), and Chicago (5-11) will look to improve in 2015 in hopes of catching Green Bay. As we enter the 2015 season, things have remained ‘status quo’ for Green Bay. Green Bay has retained the majority of its roster from last season that lost a heart-breaker in the NFC Championship. With some extra motivation, Green Bay is one of the Super Bowl favorites this season. Minnesota has Adrian Peterson back in the fold, which should take pressure off Teddy Bridgewater as he enters his second season. Detroit lost some of its key defensive players, but Calvin Johnson is healthy and ready to go after a disappointing 2014 campaign. Chicago is in a state of transition and fans never know what to expect with Jay Cutler in fold. 

According to 5Dimes, season win totals for each of the NFC East teams is presented below:

  • Green Bay: 11 wins (o -140, u +110);
  • Detroit: 8.5 wins (o +120, u -140);
  • Minnesota: 7 wins (o +125, u -145); and
  • Chicago: 7 wins (o +130, u -150).

To me, one bet stand out in this division when you consider making live football bets at Minnesota won seven games last without Adrian Peterson and with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Having a motivated Peterson in the fold will help this offense improve. In addition, Minnesota continued to use draft capital on the defensive side of the ball, which should help Mike Zimmer build this defense into one of the best in the NFL. Overall, Minnesota’s non-divisional schedule is not too difficult with its toughest games occurring at Denver and at Arizona. I feel really good about Minnesota this season, so I’ll take the over. 

Best Bet: Minnesota OVER 7 wins

Regular season win totals have been released for each NFL team. Over the next month, we’ll preview each division and provide a ‘best bet’. Today, we’ll focus on the NFC East division.

Last season, the Dallas Cowboys went 12-4 en-route to their first division championship since 2009. Dallas’ NFC East foes Philadelphia (10-6), New York Giants (6-10), and Washington (4-12) all missed the playoffs. As we enter the 2015 season, several key players have switched teams and changed the landscape of the division. Last year’s rushing champion, DeMarco Murray, left Dallas and signed with Philadelphia. Murray will replace LeSean McCoy, a player that Philadelphia jettisoned to the Buffalo Bills. Philadelphia is hoping that rookie wide receiver, Nelson Agholor can replace the production of Jeremy Maclin, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Philadelphia traded last year’s starting quarterback, Nick Foles to St. Louis for the oft-injured, Sam Bradford. New York and Washington have not made moves during the off-season, but Washington head coach, Jay Gruden is clearly on the hot season after last season’s disappointing showing. 

According to 5Dimes, season win totals for each of the NFC East teams is presented below:

  • Dallas: 9.5 wins (o -140, u +120);
  • New York: 8.5 wins (o +120, u -140);
  • Philadelphia: 9.5 wins (o +125, u -145); and
  • Washington: 6.5 wins (o +130, u -150).

Philadelphia has the sixth highest win total on the board, but one thing separates Philadelphia from the other top contenders; quarterback play. While other top contenders have Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning, etc. leading their team, fans aren’t sure who will play quarterback for Philadelphia. Bradford is penciled in as the starting quarterback, but due to numerous injuries, hasn’t played 16 games since 2012 and can’t be trusted. Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are also on the roster, but neither player could pilot this team to a 10-win season. I don’t think any of these players are what Chip Kelly wants as a quarterback.  Murray was the NFL’s top running back last year, but there are numerous red flags after his 400+ carry campaign. Philadelphia has not replaced DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin yet, either. The personnel turnover plus Kelly’s lackluster 3-10 records against top teams makes Philadelphia an easy fade candidate. There are too many question marks surrounding this team, which makes this an easy decision. 

Best Bet: Philadelphia UNDER 9.5 wins


Sportsbooks have begun offering prop bets for numerous NFL categories. Today, we will focus on pass catchers. Last season, Antonio Brown (1,698 yards) led the league in receiving yards. As the catalyst of Pittsburgh’s offense, Brown set career highs in yards, catches (129), and touchdowns (13). Top receivers need strong quarterback play to buoy their totals, so it’s no surprise that Ben Roethlisberger led the league in passing yards last season. We profiled passing yardage leader odds on Sunday and the odds makers think Ben will be among the league leaders again. This bodes well for Brown’s chances of once again leading the league in receiving yards. The list below highlights the current odds among the receivers with the best odds.

  • Brown (+500);
  • Jones (+600);
  • Thomas (+700);
  • Beckham Jr (+750);
  • Johnson (+800);
  • Nelson (+800);
  • Bryant (+800);
  • Green (+1200);
  • Hilton (+1600);
  • Hopkins (+1800).

There’s not a ton of value here, but if I had to pick one, I’d take Calvin Johnson. It may seem surprising to some, but Calvin Johnson has become overlooked. Marred by injuries last season, Johnson saw 128 targets over 13 games and still managed to amass 1,077 yards. His 2014 campaign was arguably his most disappointing since his rookie season in 2008. Johnson’s 2012 and 2013 campaigns were ridiculous and Johnson averaged 180 targets, 104 catches, 1,700 yards, and eight touchdowns. At +800, Johnson offers some value to lead the league in receiving yards. As a second pick, I like Julio Jones due the change in offensive coordinator. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan tends to favor his top wide receiver and that tendency should make Jones a strong bet to be among the league leaders in targets. Jones does have some injury concerns, but outside of Roddy White, there isn’t much competition for targets. 

The Picks:

  • Johnson (+800); and
  • Jones (+650).

The New York Jets have not exactly been dominant in the last few years. At times, the defense has been solid, but the offense has been atrocious. If the Jets are going to contend in a competitive AFC East division, their offense must improve. Of course, they also need the defense to play a very high level. As we prepare for the 2015 NFL season, fans will ask themselves, just how good is this defense?

New York actually struggled a bit in 2014 on defense, at least from a fantasy football money leagues perspective. The defense was unable to create turnovers and that really limited them all season long. However, adding Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to the secondary will certainly help create turnovers and put more pressure on opposing offenses. Revis and Cromartie are excellent play makers and they will be able to anchor the last line of defense.

As far as the front seven is concerned, things are shaping up nicely. Fans are excited about their young trio of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams. Many see Williams as the most ready rookie in the entire NFL, so that will be interesting to monitor. The talent is certainly there for them to be a Top-10 team on defense, but the coaching staff must be on the same page. Consider that done, as Todd Bowles has already set the tone and has begun changing the team’s culture. All of the important defensive statistics  should increase, with the exception of the sack total. The Jets were already pretty good at getting to the quarterback, so they should be able to keep that up in 2015.

Finding a quarterback and getting the offense in order should be the main focus for the New York Jets in training camp. The defense is already well ahead of the offense, but they obviously need both if they want any shot at putting fear in their opponents.

Sportsbooks have begun offering prop bets for numerous NFL categories. Picking the league leader in rushing yardage is normally a difficult task due to numerous variables associated with the running back position. Last season, DeMarco Murray (1,845 yards) shook off the injury bug to easily led the league in rushing yardage. Murray left Dallas during free agency to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles. The current betting market believes that there will be a lot of competition among the game’s top rushers. Of note, five running backs currently has odds of 6-to-1. The list below highlights the running backs with the best odds to lead the league in rushing. 

  • Murray (+600);
  • Peterson (+600);
  • Foster (+600);
  • Charles (+600);
  • Lynch (+600);
  • Hill (+750);
  • Lacy (+850);
  • McCoy (+1000);
  • Anderson (+1500); and
  • Morris (+1600).

It’s very interesting to see that oddsmakers believe Adrian Peterson, who basically missed last season and is approaching 30-years-old, has the same odds as Murray. It would be wise to grab the odds on Peterson if you believe he’ll return with a vengeance despite his age. While any of the five favorites could lead the league in rushing, I’m going to focus on two players with lessor odds, but equal chances and are younger in age. My bold prediction for the 2015 NFL season is that Jeremy Hill will lead the league in rushing yardage. As a rookie, Hill averaged 5.1 yards per carry on just 221 carries. The Bengals have made it known that they want to run the ball behind their offensive line. Last season, Cincinnati’s offensive line ranked among the Top-1o units and added offensive linemen in the first and second rounds of the NFL Draft. The public loves to pile on Andy Dalton, but armed with skilled players at every position, Dalton has the ability to quietly lead one of the best offenses in football. The other player that warrants consideration is Eddie Lacy. Lacy rushed for 1,139 yards last season and benefits from playing with the best quarterback in football. Alike Hill, Lacy is another young running back (25) and does not have much trend on his tires. When in doubt, favor the younger running backs in good offenses.

The Picks:

  • Hill (+750); and
  • Lacy (+850).

Sportsbooks have begun offering prop bets for numerous NFL categories. While picking rushing and receiving leaders may be more fun, the NFL is a quarterback driven league and the league leader in passing yards will likely be a playoff participant. Last season, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger (4,762 yards) led the league in passing. Brees led the league for the third time in the last four years and currently has the third best odds (+750) to once again lead the league in passing. The list below highlights the current odds among the passers with the best odds.

  • Luck (+375);
  • Rodgers (+500);
  • Brees (+750);
  • Peyton (+750);
  • Ryan (+800);
  • Ben (+1000);
  • Stafford (+1000);
  • Eli (+2500);
  • Rivers (+2500); and
  • Brady (+2500).

It’s pretty easy to see why Luck has the best odds to lead the league in passing. Last season, Luck posted career highs in completions (380), completion percentage (61.7%), passing yards (4,761), and passing touchdowns (40). Indianapolis added pieces to help improve the offense around Luck, including stalwart running back, Frank Gore, and wide receiver, Andre Johnson. Despite their age, Gore and Johnson have been top-tier NFL talents for their entire careers. Adding Gore and subtracting Trent Richardson will provide a big boost to the offense, which should make things even easier for Luck. 

While Luck has the best odds to lead the league in passing, Brady and Rivers present the most value. There are rumblings that Brady’s suspension may be completely overturned and angry Tom may take his aggression out on the rest of the league. San Diego’s offense has gotten more dynamic with the additions of Melvin Gordon and Stevie Johnson. Don’t forget that Danny Woodhead will return for injury as well. San Diego may quietly have a Top-7 offense in football, which could vault Rivers among the league leaders in passing yards.

The Picks:

  • Brady (+2500); and
  • Rivers (+2500).

During the 2014 season, football was pretty forgettable for New York teams as the Jets and Giants combined for just ten wins. The Giants opted to keep its coaching staff in place while the Jets relieved Rex Ryan and his staff of its duties.  With Coughlin at the helm, Giants fans will always have Super Bowl aspirations while Jets fans will rely on a new coach to win its second Super Bowl in franchise history. Former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, will look to take the Jets back to the playoffs during the 2015 season. A first review of 2015 win totals, however, are not encouraging for either team. According to oddsmaker’s early 2015 win totals, the Giants are projected to win eight games while the Jets’ total is set at 6.5 wins. Learn more about NFL Football Odds where the over/under is one of the simplest bets of all.

Despite a pedestrian win total, fans are ready to cheer on a Giants team that has not made the playoffs since its last Super Bowl win (2011). Despite its playoff draught, New York found a new playmaker last season when Odell Beckham Jr. stepped up after Victor Cruz suffered a season-ending injury. Beckham Jr. will lead a talented bunch of playmakers that want to restore New York’s winning tradition. New York has four Super Bowl titles, including two recent Super Bowl wins in 2007 and 2011.

By virtue of a new head coach, general manager, and a strong draft class, the New York Jets look primed to compete in the AFC East. New York also signed several notable free agents, namely Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Despite these additions, New York has not had much recent success. New York has not won a Super Bowl since 1968 when Joe Namath guaranteed victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. New York has made 13 playoff appearances and won four division titles since its last Super Bowl title. New York is still seeking its first AFC Championship after falling short in 2010 and 2011. The race for the AFC East title should be very competitive this season. Tom Brady has been suspended for four games, which creates some opportunity for his AFC East foes. Even though the Jets won’t play New England during Brady’s suspension, one or two early losses by New England may shape the AFC East race.  

New York is accustomed to cheering on winning teams. The Giants have a strong, winning tradition while the Jets were close to Super Bowl berths during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Both teams haven’t had success in recent years, but one strong season can turn the tide. Fans will fill MetLife Stadium each week to cheer their teams on as each team looks to return to the playoffs. A lack of star power isn’t an issue for either team. Executing and out-gaming its opponents each Sunday will be the difference between playing football and watching football come January and February.  Despite lackluster win totals, expect strong efforts from both the Jets and Giants during the 2015 NFL season!

New York Giants struggled last year and missed out on the playoffs after finishing the regular season with a disappointing 6-10 record. Big Blue were extremely unlucky with injuries – losing star wide receiver Victor Cruz and starting cornerback Prince Amukamara early in the campaign – and who knows where they would have finished with a healthy squad.

Many have argued that the Giants were the best team to finish with a losing record, and they will be looking to draft well and reach the postseason this time around. We take a look at Tom Coughlin’s Giants side and discuss their chances of winning the NFC East this year.



The return of Victor Cruz is huge

Cruz will be entering his fifth season in the NFL and will be raring to go after spending the majority of last season on the sidelines. The undrafted wide receiver, who spent his college days at Massachusetts, should free up the phenomenal Odell Beckham Jr on the opposite side of the pitch and the two are likely to provide Eli Manning with a deadly attacking threat.

The Giants drafted Beckham Jr in the first round last year, but he missed the first six matches of the season after picking up an injury in preseason. He finished an impressive rookie campaign with 91 receptions for a staggering 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in as many matches. Beckham also produced arguably the greatest catch ever against the Dallas Cowboys, which prompted him to receive vast media attention and helped him to announce his arrival to the NFL.

They must strengthen at running back

Although these two wide receivers give Eli Manning viable ‘down the field’ options, they will still need a strong running game if they are to reach the playoffs. The Giants lost David Wilson – who was forced to retire after sustaining a serious neck injury – and Rashad Jennings continues to blow hot and cold.

They did acquire former New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen in the offseason, but they still require an ‘every down’ power back that can help take the pressure off Eli Manning. The Giants are fairly solid defensively, but are likely to strengthen in the upcoming NFL draft. They may instead opt to focus primarily on a new running back and reinforcements for the offensive line.


The Giants have a genuine chance of winning the NFC East this year if they bolster their defensive unit and the offensive stars stay healthy. The remaining teams in the division – Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins – have arguably got ‘weaker’ in free agency, and the Giants will be looking to win as many divisional contests as they can in order to ensure that they reach the playoffs this campaign. If you would like to place a bet on the Giants winning the NFC East this year, or just on the NFL in general, Betfair are currently offering 40/1 on Big Blue to be crowned Super Bowl champions. Their supporters certainly think that they will, at least, win their division this year.