NFL New York Giants (1-3) vs. Carolina Panthers (2-1)
NFL Football Sunday October 7th, 2018
Line and Odds: Carolina Panthers (-6.5) Over/Under (43.5)
NFL Eliminator Challenge Week 5 Pick
Week 5 of NFL action kicked off Thursday night with a one-sided affair as the New England Patriots put a beatdown on the Indianapolis Colts. If you were savvy enough to have the Pats in your survival pool, we’ll see you next week. For the rest of the grinders out there, let’s take a look at our options for CoverTheSpread365’s week 5 NFL eliminator picks.
While contrarian picks like home underdogs are great for picking against the spread, home favorites are typically going to be our best bets for picking straight-up winners in an elimination contest. There’s simply no reason to take a road team when every week there are so many options for NFL home chalk. Analysis has shown that home teams are about 60% straight up over a pretty significant sample size, one of the safest bets in a league known for its unpredictability week to week.
The teams I’m considering and the favorite for each game are in bold. Home teams are listed first with the point spreads to the side of each matchup:
Looking at the board this week, the New Orleans Saints, L.A. Chargers, and Carolina Panthers all come into Sunday as about touchdown favorites at home. I would feel comfortable taking any of these teams in an eliminator challenge. However, the New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers stands out as an opportunity to bank on a team on the rise while fading a team mired in mediocrity.
2-4 ATS in the last 6 games
4-17 SU in the last 21 games
2-4 ATS in the last 6 games on the road
1-5 SU in the last 6 games on the road
9-4 ATS in the last 13 games
9-4 SU in the last 13 games
6-1 ATS in the last 7 games at home
5-0 SU in the last 5 games at home
2-5 ATS in the last 7 games when playing NY Giants
Eliminator Week 5 NFL Pick: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have the best rushing attack in the league, anchored by Cam Newton (unsurprisingly) and sophomore running back Christian McCaffrey (somewhat surprisingly). Combined, these two are averaging a sterling 5.5 yards per carry through three games. The Panthers’ run game has also shown a unique ability to wear down opposing defenses in the second half of ballgames. This offense is far from one-dimensional, however, as McCaffrey has also been productive as a receiver and is on pace to haul in over 100 receptions this year. The Panthers ground game is tough for any opponent, but run defense has been a particular area of weakness for the Giants. The G-Men rank 29th in the league in opposing rushing yards per game, and are allowing over 120 yards per game on on the ground. Things don’t look much better from a pass-rushing perspective, as the Giants are tied for last in the league with only five sacks over four games.
The New York Giants are in the midst of the kind of slump we’re more used to seeing from perennial bottom-feeders like the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders. New York has followed up a mediocre 3-13 2017 campaign with another poor start at 1-3. I’m a little shocked to see an Eli Manning led team put up a 4-16 record in their last twenty games, but here we are. Unfortunately for Eli, the Giants problems go far beyond their questionable play on the D-line. The Giants offense is significantly below average by advanced statistical measures.
Unfortunately, things don’t look much better from a traditional scouting point of view, as New York is averaging a mediocre 18 points per game, putting them in the same category as offensively-challenged squads Buffalo and Arizona. Despite the hype surrounding electric rookie running back Saquon Barkley, the Giants offense has been far from balanced. Eli has been chucking the ball up almost 40 times a game on average this year. This plays right into Carolina’s hands, as their quarterback-hungry defense should be licking their chops every time Eli drops back to pass. The Panthers finished third in sacks in 2017, slamming quarterbacks into the turf 50 times. Their dynamic defensive front has picked right back up in 2018 with the Panthers averaging over three sacks a game this season. The reeling Giants face a nightmare matchup on both sides of the ball, and I simply can’t see them competing this week in Charlotte.
The Pick: Carolina Panthers