New York Giants @ Philidelphia Eagles
Start-time: Friday 23 December, 01:25 GMT
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Somehow the New York Giants with two weeks left on the calendar are still mathematically in the race to be the #1 seed in the NFC. That statistic alone is enough to make you sit up and rub your eyes vigorously.
They are 8-1 in their last nine games but haven't beaten anybody by more than two scores, that includes the hapless Browns. They keep it close and find different ways to win. They are still the only team to beat Dallas this season (and have done so both home and away) and held them to just seven points on Sunday Night a couple of weeks back.
Odell Beckham Jnr is making the big plays but apart from these, who else do you trust on offense? I don't trust Eli Manning not to throw a back-breaking pick. They have a serviceable-at-best running back tandem and Victor Cruz is dropping as many catches at Kevin Pietersen did in the 2005 Ashes series. This is where the D has repeatedly come to their rescue with an excellent pass rush in the form of Oliver Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul.
Over on the Eagles side, they have a young QB in Carson Wentz who is far from the finished product but if you were able to buy stock in players, you'd be draining your bank account to invest in him. He started his career with three games out of four with a passer rating above 100.0, but he hasn't had one since. The league is catching up to him but when you watch him, you still like what you see.
With Darren Sproles set to return after that sickening hit a fortnight ago, it gives Wentz that dangerous check down option. I've been a fan of Zach Ertz as a big playmaker all season long and wouldn't pick too many tight ends ahead of him in a fantasy draft.
The Eagles have nothing to lose and will be desperate to play spoiler. The Giants will want to keep rolling. What is that I smell on the breeze? I think I smell upset...
As usual I'm spending a point a piece on a player from each team in this market. I'm going for Sproles for the Eagles at 11/1 and Sterling Shepard at 12/1 for the G Men. He seems to be a favourite target of Eli in the Red Zone.
The line has been set at 41.5pts, which is fine. In a rare move though, I am taking the unders at Evens despite my pathological hate of taking the unders. It just feels wrong to root for no scoring but I do really like the Giants defense and dislike Eli Manning nearly as much. I think it'll be a low-scoring one score game.
The Spread & Straight-up Pick
The spread is set at New York -2.5pts which is about right. The Giants at home would be favoured by 5.5 but on the road in a hostile atmosphere, it deserves to be less than a field goal. I hinted earlier that I'm taking the upset. This is because I think the Giants are due a loss and this will be Philly's last big game of the season.
So I'm taking the 2.5 but I'd also happily take them straight up which is currently trading at 2.245/4 on the Exchange.
3pt Back Philidelphia to win straight up at 2.245/4 on the Exchange
3pt Back under 41.5 total points at 2.001/1 on the Exchange
3pt Back over 86.5 receiving yards for Odell Beckham Jnr. at 5/6 on the Sportsbook
3pt Back over 55.5 receiving for Zach Ertz at 5/6 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Sterling Shepard to score the first TD at 12/1 in the First Touchdown scorer market on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Zach Ertz to score the first TD at 11/1 in the First Touchdown scorer market on the Sportsbook