Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 09:30 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Las Vegas -1½ -110 over N.Y. Giants
4:25 PM EST. Raiders owner Mark Davis cleaned house this week. Coach Josh McDaniels, general manager, offensive coordinator - all are gone. Even Jimmy Garoppolo, the transfer QB who had his glory days backing up Tom Brady and followed it by solid years as the Niners' thrower, is officially benched. Former Super Bowl winning New York Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce has taken the reins as Vegas' interim HC and already the players are responding. Superstar WR and locker room leader Devante Adams told the media, "I'm already ready to run through a wall for that man." WR Hunter Renfrow chimed in, too, saying, "We finally don't have to walk on eggshells anymore." Sounds like everyone in the Raiders' organization is better off without McDaniels and his staff. Color us unsurprised.
This is not an intangible we take lightly. The Raiders have talent. Defensive end Maxx Crosby leads the NFL in QB pressures. Devante Adams and Josh Jacobs were league-leaders in past seasons. Las Vegas' offensive line has some formidable parts, particularly LT Kolton Miller. Along with Crosby, their defense has veterans like Marcus Peters, and their young talent has fought hard and kept the Raiders in games despite their offense averaging a measly 16 ppg.
Josh McDaniels just wasn't the guy, and it's pretty clear he should never lead a football team again. Underqualified dorks like McDaniels and Brandon Staley get head-coaching gigs because they gain prowess in a specific area, but that doesn't make them leaders of men. Mike McDaniels and Bill Belichik are rare examples that can be both. In the hard-hitting, unabashedly brutal sport of pro-football, with super athletes and legitimate physical monsters, most teams need a fiery coach to motivate the boys for war, akin to a military commander. Antonio Pierce already seems to be that guy. And even if it shows for just one game, that's enough for this bettor.
The Raiders were dominated by the Lions on Monday Night football. In Week 9 they head back home with a renewed sense of energy, and they've been given a convenient opponent. The Giants are coming off another game they should have won, par for the course for New York fans, but things could go from bad to worse. Tyrod Taylor played well for Big Blue in three starts. The Giants really could have won all three games - they outplayed the Bills and Jets in Weeks 6 and 8 - but instead they're 2-6 and any hope of another playoff run in year two of Brian Daboll's tenure is already looking bleak. Even worse, Daniel Jones is returning.
Jones has been abysmal since "earning" a new contract with the G-men this offseason. Giants' management probably likes Jones because he has an Eli Manning-like disposition. He's quiet, hard-working, focused, and he's not afraid of the big-moment. Unfortunately he's not very good in the big moment, nor is he nearly as accurate. Jones has thrown 2 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and only 177 passing yards per game. When he's the starter, he often looks confused, unwilling to pull the trigger on coverage that requires expertly precise throws, and he rarely throws the ball downfield.
Needless to say, the pressure is on Jones. A cadre of talented QBs are entering the 2024 draft and although New York gave Jones a new contract, that could all change if things continue to go awry. When Jones was the starter, his clumsy pocket movement and inability to change protection before the snap are a big reason why the Giants were one of the most sacked teams in the league. Coached by a former NYG linebacker, I imagine Maxx Crosby and the Raiders' defense won't let Jones breathe in this contest.
The Giants' defense has played better, but they're still not a seasoned group that we trust. The fact that they traded away DT Leonard Williams might be a sign of the Giants' first experimental modality. That's not a team we like to wager our money on.
The Raiders will be fired up for this game. I don't care if it's Aidan O'Connell or my grandmother throwing the football for the home-team, the spot doesn't get much better for a hungry and rejuvenated Vegas squad. Against a hyper-flawed team like the Giants, who might start giving up on their season when the going gets tough, we'll support the new-look black and silver.
Las Vegas -1½ -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)