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NFL Football Playoff Betting – Giants vs. Buccaneers
The Giants and Bucs beat a total of three teams that had winning records, so it’s almost fitting that they meet in the Wildcard matchup of the NFC on Sunday afternoon. The Giants nearly shocked the world in Week 17 by taking the Patriots to the limit. Do they have anything left in the tank against the Bucs, who have rested nearly all of their starters for the past three weeks?
New York Offense vs. Tampa Bay Defense
Believe it or not but Tampa’s defense ranks third in the league, allowing only 16.9 points and 278.4 total yards against. Gaines Adams, the defensive-end taken fourth overall in the 2007 NFL Draft has exploded in the second-half of the season and the secondary is beginning to play with the fierce turnover mindset that brought them a bevy of success in the past.
The Giants average 197.1 passing yards per game through the air, and Eli Manning looked incredible last week against the Patriots. But he has yet to win a playoff game in his career and his play over the course of this season has been uninspiring at best. The Bucs allow only 170.3 passing yards per game. Derrick Brooks and Cato June practically live in Eli Manning’s favorite target zone for passes and take away any threats underneath in the Tampa-2.
Brandon Jacobs will be a tough matchup for the Bucs because of his size and his ability to break yards after initial contact. The Giants average 134.4 rushing yards on the ground, and the Bucs small front-seven allows 107.9 rush yards per game. However, Jacobs will have to contend with a stiff line-backing corps in June-Brooks-Ruud that rarely misses tackles and can contain him up the middle.
In short, it will be tough for the Giants to move the ball against a defense that contains the pass so well and forces teams to run the ball. Eli Manning has been prone to mistakes in high-pressure situations, and Ronde Barber and company must be licking their chops at the chance for a sweet pick-six.
Tampa Bay Offense vs. New York Defense
Many experts are calling for Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan to decimate a younger offensive line in Tampa and get to Jeff Garcia. What a lot of these experts are underestimating is Garcia’s good instincts, and his habit of running forward when he feels pressure around the edges.
Garcia has led a steady offense, and is coming off of three weeks of rest. Some of the Bucs betting backers may be concerned over rust, but Garcia is a veteran and proved last year he can be effective in the playoffs. The Bucs average 209.8 passing yards per game, and nobody in the Giants secondary can keep up with Joey Galloway, especially with Sam Madison looking questionable for the game. The Giants give up 207.3 passing yards per game.
Earnest Graham will have to prove if he’s worth some big money by producing in this matchup. He averages a solid 4.0 yards per carry and is a gifted between the tackles runner who displays excellent field vision and burst. The Giants rush defense gives up 97.7 rushing yards, but will miss a big-hitting line-backer in Kawika Mitchell who is likely to miss the game. That means that Graham could break out for a solid game.
Like Garcia, Graham rarely turns the bowl over. He has lost only one all season, and Garcia has only given away four picks. That kind of ball-hogging offensive play will steer these pirates to a solid amount of points on the scoreboard.
NFL Betting Trends
-NYG are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games
-NYG are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games
-Total has gone UNDER in 6 of the NYG’s last 7 road games
-Tampa Bay is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 home games
-Tampa Bay is 7-3 in its last 10 games when playing NYG
Tampa is a very strong home team, and has enjoyed a bevy of success against the NFC this season. The Giants have been riddled by injuries along its defense, and that will break open gaps for Graham and scoring chances for Garcia, who is familiar with playing the Giants from his stint with the Eagles last season. But Eli Manning simply can’t be counted on by the betting community until he shows flashes of consistency, or the ability to win a big game.
New York Giants (10-6) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)
Sunday, January 6th — Raymond James Stadium, Tampa — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Tampa Bay -1 (39.5)
NFL Playoff Free Pick: NYG 13 Tampa Bay 27
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