Why Daniel Jones won’t make Giants any more bettable

In the NFL, making occasional big plays doesn’t do much for offenses that can’t consistently move the chains and find the end zone.

Through two games of the 2019 season, the New York Giants provided a great example for stat handicappers and bettors. Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley and company looked fine in the stat book. On the scoreboard, not so much. That’s a big reason why Manning has been benched in favor of new starter Daniel Jones.

The G-Men are 0-2 against the spread thus far, missing the market by double digits both times despite competitive yardage differentials. Their offense hasn’t been able to drive the field. Their soft defense allowed opponents to be very efficient.

  • The Giants (+7) were outgained only 494-470 in their season-opening loss at Dallas. That would normally suggest a fairly close game. But, the Giants lost third-down conversions 60 percent to 16 percent (6-of-10 to 2-of-11), while allowing the Cowboys to score on long touchdown drives of 75, 93, 83, 75 and 89 yards in a 35-17 blowout.

The Giants’ offense moved in fits and starts. That’s not uncommon for Manning, or a great rushing threat like Barkley. Long-time bettors will recall the Detroit Lions had trouble maximizing the scoreboard impact of Barry Sanders’ yardage.

  • The Giants (+1) were outgained only 388-370 by the Bills this past Sunday. Instead of losing by a couple of points, the Giants lost by a couple of touchdowns, 28-14. The less-dynamic Buffalo offense won third-down conversions only 36 percent to 25 percent, but did finish off long TD drives of 75, 70, 98 and 75 yards.

Before Manning’s benching, the Giants had been outgained by only 42 total yards. But they were getting badly outclassed at converting third downs, 48 percent to 22 percent, and had scored just four touchdowns compared to nine for their opponents.

We should mention the turnover category is also in play here. The Giants’ offense turned the ball over four times, while the defense didn’t have a single takeaway.

Bettors hoping to beat both the pro and college game should devote handicapping energy to yardage efficiency on both sides of the ball.

  • Bet on offenses that can move the ball consistently with low-risk strategies on the way to the end zone. Bet against offenses that struggle to move the chains and play clean. Try to log total yardage, yards-per-play, third-down stats, and turnover counts for your teams of interest.
  • Bet on defenses that can get stops on third downs or force high-impact turnovers. Bet against passive defenses that look more like spectators than tacklers. Look at those same stats in each game from the defensive perspective.

Giants fans and backers should pay close attention to whether or not Jones can move the ball and find the end zone, beginning this Sunday at Tampa Bay. Study smart so you can Bet Smart through the season.

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