Houston @ N.Y. Giants
Houston +4½ +101 over N.Y. Giants

Posted at 10:15 AM EST odds are subject to change.

Pinnacle +4½ +101 BET365 +4½ -105 SportsInteraction +4½ -102  888Sport +4½ -105

Houston +4½ over N.Y. Giants

1:00 PM EST. The New York Football Giants have put in their best half-season of football in a decade. At 6-2, Big Blue is right in the thick of it in an NFC East that also hosts the 8-0 Eagles and the 6-2 Cowboys. It’s a great story, with first year head coach Brian Daboll getting all the love from the New York media. When you make it in The Big Apple (or the swamps of Jersey), you can make it anywhere. Right? Right?!

We don’t want to discourage the Giants faithful from canceling their parade plans, but there are some red flags here. First, unlike the Eagles or Cowboys, whose records are backed up by solid analytics, the Giants' reputation as a potential condenser is being held together by scotch tape and an old piece of Juicy Fruit. Not surprisingly, you’ll find Dallas and Philly in the top five of team DVOA at Football Outsiders. You’ll find other solid squads at the top of that list, too. Buffalo, Baltimore, Seattle, Kansas City. You get the picture. To find the G-Men we have to go way, way, way down the list to the 19th position. That’s concerning and a clear sign that the Giants might not be as good as their record shows.

For some perspective, here are some of the teams you’ll find ahead of Big Blue. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville. Nobody is crowing about those clubs or planning a parade for them. To their credit, the Giants have played a top-10 strength of schedule, but their estimated win total is just 3.9. That's two full wins lower than their current posted total.

The Giants are coming off their bye, but don’t sleep on their 27-13 downing up in Seattle to close out October. That was a well deserved rude awakening from a top-ranked team. Four of the Giants' six wins have come by a touchdown or less and they have been outgained in five of their seven games. Big Blue’s stock is about to crash like its FTX.

The Texans are just 1-6-1, but coach Lovie Smith is building something in Houston. What his team lacks in raw talent it makes up for by playing tough, disciplined football. The Texans are the eighth most disciplined team in the league, committing just 5.4 penalties per game. They also do not turn the ball over as much as you might expect a one win team would. The Texans have just nine giveaways and are a +2 in turnover differential on the season, which suggests that what you see is what you get. That’s a good thing, as Houston is another one of those clubs that have been tough luck losers all season. The Texans have lost four games by seven points or less. Houston might be at the bottom of the standings, but dregs it is not.

While we're on the topic of discipline, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how Giants safety Xavier McKinney spent his off week. McKinney is arguably the best defender in the secondary, but rather than rest, recuperate and reflect on a strong first half, the second year pro decided to go for an ATV ride where he injured his hand. McKinney is expected to miss WEEKS with the injury, leaving the Giants scrambling to scheme around his idiocy. McKinney is the leader on the back end, but now safety Julian Love is expected to relay the plays to the D. Surely nothing will be lost in translation. When asked about the selfishness of his star safety, Daboll could only muster a shrug of the shoulders and an “aw shucks”. If that level of insubordination is an isolated incident, so be it, but if it’s a peek into how “good guy” Daboll is running this motley crew, it’s going to be a long second half, as the Giants fade from contention.

Our Pick

Houston +4½ +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)

Tampa Bay +5 -101 over Philadelphia
Carolina +4½ -103 over Seattle
Detroit -3 -113 over Atlanta
Denver +215 over Miami
Dallas/Arizona under 43½ -110
Cleveland -3½ +100 over Tennessee
Green Bay -1 -110 over New Orleans
Chicago +12½ -110 over Kansas City
Pittsburgh +2½ +112 over Las Vegas
Early leans & analysis Wk 3 over