The Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants are set to square off in Wild Card betting action this week at MetLife Stadium. But before you make your NFL picks for the big game on Saturday, check out some of the great NFL betting trends that we have for the duel!
Atlanta Falcons Notes: Atlanta is coming into the playoffs on a high note, as it was able to beat the snot out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move up into the No. 5 seed in the postseason instead of the No. 6 seed, which avoided a third meeting this year with the New Orleans Saints. The good news for the Falcons is that they don’t have the play the Saints. The bad news is that the Giants, in spite of their 9-7 record, have an impressive resume and are still the rightful favorites in this game. Atlanta is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight games as road underdogs of a field goal or less, but it is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games against teams with winning home records on the road. The Falcons are only 1-4 ATS in their last five playoff games, including going 0-2 SU and ATS with QB Matt Ryan calling the shots.
The real difference maker for the Falcons this year has been WR Julio Jones. We know that Atlanta didn’t post the same type of record this year as it did a season ago, but we also know that it isn’t because of the offense. This unit is as scary as it has ever been, and when it is clicking, there isn’t a facet of the game that it doesn’t excel at. Jones has become the deep threat that was really needed in this offense, and when he is at the top of his game, the field is incredibly vertical and tough to defend. WR Roddy White can still do it all, and TE Tony Gonzalez still dominates the middle of the field like few other tight ends can. Plus, RB Michael Turner is a man who will carry the ball and carry it a ton, and he can really wear a defense down.
Injuries really aren’t a big time problem for the Falcons right now. LB Mike Peterson and DB Kelvin Hayden were both recently put on IR, but aside from that, the only injury of real note is the knee injury that has DB Brent Grimes listed as probable. For the most part, this is a complete team.
New York Giants Notes: It has been quite the interesting year for the Giants to say the least. They have won a ton of games from behind this year, and they have challenged the best and brightest in the league. They took down the New England Patriots on the road, and they were able to beat the Dallas Cowboys twice. However, they also lost by double digits at home to the Seattle Seahawks and were beaten twice by the Washington Redskins. It truly is difficult to put a beat on this team. The Giants were really dead in the water a few weeks ago against the Cowboys, down a dozen with a few minutes to play. Had that game been lost, New York would have probably been finished. QB Eli Manning and the gang are at their best when their backs are against the wall though, and that’s a great sign for this team going into the playoffs. The G-Men are 5-1 ATS in their last six playoff games, and they have covered four in a row against teams with winning records, but they are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games as home favorites and are just 1-4-1 ATS in their last six as favorites overall.
The argument could be made that the emergence of WR Victor Cruz is the only reason why this team is in the playoffs. In a season in which injuries just ravished the team, Cruz was one of the only constants in the lineup with Manning, who took every single snap under center this year. Cruz started off this season fourth on the New York depth chart, and he ended the year with the third most receiving yards in the league. Sure, WRs Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham probably have more talent and are still probably the preferred target of Manning, but when push has come to shove, Cruz has more fourth quarter receiving yards than any other player in football, and that could be crucial down the stretch in this game.
Both DEs Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck have been battling nagging injuries for the majority of the season and both are considered probable for this game. DB Corey Webster has a hamstring injury that could keep him up in the air, while TE Jake Ballard, who surprisingly had over 600 receiving yards this year, has a knee injury that has cost him the last two weeks. He is questionable for Sunday’s game. Aside from that though, it is great news that both of RB Brandon Jacobs and RB Ahmad Bradshaw are healthy for a change, as the two missed basically eight full games between them this year, leading to the Giants being ranked dead last in the league in rushing.
Head To Head: The road team had actually won every single meeting between these two teams from 1988 through 2007 before the Giants won in the Meadowlands in 2009 in OT. That being said, the guests have still gone a whopping 8-0 ATS in the last eight meetings between these rivals, a great sign for the Falcons come Sunday. The ‘total’ in this game has been dropping all week from 49 down as low as 46.5 at some sportsbooks, and that might be for good reason. Atlanta and New York have played to a 5-1-1 record for ‘under’ bettors in games in this series since 2000.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.