Here's my analysis on the Redskins/Giants game...all of my picks are free at www.blackboxsports.net ... I might post my Denver play later as well, but it's up on the site if you're interested. Good luck to all the gamblohrs in here!
The Giants have put up quite a few points this season, but have had a relatively easy schedule thus far, at least in terms of defenses they’ve played. In fact, the highest ranked defense they’ve played recently was the Patriots (7th), who held them to 26 pts. That said, the Redskins don’t qualify as having a good, or even average defense themselves, as they currently rank 31st in our Power Rankings, with a pitiful power rating of 20 (out of a 100). They can’t stop the run at all, allowing 4.8 YPC this season (t-2nd last), and also have a hard time against the pass, allowing 7.7 YPA this season. They also can’t get to the QB, and are allowing a 109 QBR and a whopping 6.4 YPP (yards per play) over the last 6 weeks….they’re just pitiful. While the Giants probably won’t be able to take advantage on the ground, Eli and company will certainly take advantage aerially.
On the other side, the Redskins do have some hope. The Giants rank in the middle of the pack at stopping the run, which will be important in this game as the Redskins try to control the clock with Matt Jones and Alfred Morris. If they can keep Cousins in manageable down and distances, I like their chances of putting up a ton of points themselves. The Giants D, despite being ranked 23rd in our Power Rankings, are allowing 6.6 YPP over the last 6 weeks (worse than the Redskins) and, despite JPP playing a lot better than expected off an amputated finger, still struggle to get any pressure on the QB (I’m not buying the Patriots game – Brady has been under duress all season).
This game is shaping up to be a back and forth affair, so I like taking the home team with the free FG. I also like the situational angles here, as the Redskins are coming off a blow-out defeat to the Panthers, while the Giants are coming off a very tight loss to the undefeated Pats, and are also off a bye, which explains why this spread is moving in the direction of the Giants. The whole point of the Model is to cut thru all the noise, public bias, media hype and other crap that can move a line, so I’m not surprised it’s saying the Redskins are undervalued right now. The standard method for recommending units likes the Skins for 2 units (see above in the Statistical Model section), and so does the new method. I’m sticking with 2 units on the Redskins.
LINE MOVEMENT: This line has dropped to 2.5, indicating the professional bettors are all over the Redskins. I still like the skins for 2 units, even at 2.5, but I'm going to hold out and see if 3 pops back up again. We're not risking much by doing this, since the worst case scenario is the line moves down to 2, which isn't a big deal.
OVER-UNDER: I don't normally play over-unders, but for whatever reason I'm trying it this week for a few games. This total doesn't make sense to me - 47? Both teams can put up 30+, and a 28-24 final would actually be on the low side to me. I'm going with 1 unit on the Over.
FINAL BET: This line has dropped to +2..I'm locking this in for 2 units.
INJURY UPDATES: I don't normally post all the injuries, but considering a lot of people are scared to take the Redskins, I decided to give an update. The Giants have 2 key injuries on their Offensive Line - G Justin Pugh and C Weston Richburg (who is having a stellar season). Center is so important, so the latter is really going to hurt.
The best thing Marshall has looking ahead to this season is its talented backcourt. Damier Pitts and DeAndre Kane combined to average more than 31 points, eight assists and eight boards per game last season. Pitts continued to add to his stellar career with the Herd while Kane earned Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors. A lot will be asked of that duo and if they can improve upon their less-than-stellar three-point percentages from a year ago, it will certainly help the team as a whole.
Many Marshall fans are eagerly awaiting the debut of wing Justin Coleman who sat out last season due to academic reasons. Combined with Pitts and Kane, Coleman will provide second-year head coach Tom Herrion with another scorer on the wing capable of averaging double figures on a nightly basis.
There is also solid depth on the wing with seniors Shaquille Johnson and Dego Pena in the fold. Both players spent part of last season in the starting five. Freshman Davince Boykins will likely be the odd man out in the rotation. Chris Martin (no, not Coldplay's lead singer) could see minutes at the point although Pitts and Kane are both capable of running the show.
The frontcourt lacks the experience of the backcourt as they lose three seniors and deal with the transfer of another big. Starting center Nigel Spikes will certainly have an increased role and need to become a more dominant presence inside. Like Coleman, 6-9 J.P. Kambola sat out last season due to academic reasons but should provide a boost and compete for a starting spot.
USF transfer Eladio Espinosa is back after missing all but 10 games last season due to injury and is the only other frontcourt returner for the Herd. Herrion also landed a pair of top-20 JUCO transfers in Robert Goff and Dennis Tinnon. They will compete for minutes along with 7-2 Marquette transfer Yous Mbao and freshman Jamir Hanner (if he qualifies academically.)
Herrion must incorporate a bunch of new faces with a talented returning core. If the pieces all blend together, Marshall could be a Conference USA sleeper.
Player to Watch: Justin Coleman, G/F
The former Louisville commit was a consensus top-50 recruit in the Class of 2010. When he failed to qualify academically for the Cards, he ended up at Marshall but still had to sit last season while he figured out his school situation. It is rare for a middle-tier C-USA school to land a player with Coleman's ability and potential. How quickly he is able to make an impact for the Herd could be the difference between them once again finishing in the middle of the conference pack or possibly competing with Memphis for the league title.