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.
As usual, the ACC will be represented with numerous prospects in this year's 2009 NBA Draft. Wake Forest's Jeff Teague emerged as a legitimate NBA-caliber player thanks to the Demon Deacons winning their first 16 games of 2008-09 and garnering national attention. Teague is a shoot-first point guard which isn't a discouraging trait considering his percentages this past season (49% FG, 44% 3-pt FG, 82% FT.)
Some reports have the Bucks interested in him with the 10th pick, but Teague more than likely falls into the late teens/early 20s. At the 2009 NBA Draft Combine, Teague discussed what he needs to work on the most to improve his NBA stock.
"Being a pure point guard, I'm a scoring point guard right now, just show them I can really run a team and get everybody involved," he said.
At the Combine, Teague's BFF, roommate and college teammate James Johnson's measurements stood out. It wasn't so much his height of 6-8, but more his 257-pound frame. That type of strength combined with his impressive athleticism is what allowed Johnson to be successful at Wake Forest. He was able to muscle weaker defenders down low while also using his ability to drive and finish. Johnson's range from deep leaves plenty of room for improvement, but he did develop a more consistent mid-range game as a sophomore.
"I can create my own jumper and I'm an inside/outside guy," Johnson told me when I asked him about his best-selling points.
If Johnson can become a bigger threat from downtown, he could play the three at the next level and be a difficult matchup for opposing defenders. As it stands now, his game is better suited to power forward, despite his lack of height. He's one of this draft's many wild cards - he could go as high as No. 11 to the Nets, but could also easily slip down to the early 20s.
On a side note, Johnson inadvertently validated my theory that every team's public relations department distributes a set of talking points and canned responses to each player, and trains them to recite these platitudes as responses to media queries.
I asked him if he and Teague "compare notes" at the end of the day meeting the media.
"You know how we had a tumble at the end of the season, after starting off great, so sometimes we get asked the same question. We compare, we talk a little bit, it's funny cuz they ask us the same questions, we laugh it off, because I tell him one thing, he tells them the same thing and we didn't even talk about it," Johnson said.
Like many Dukies, Gerald Henderson arrived in Durham with a lot of hype. But during his first two years as a Blue Devil, Henderson was known more for being the player who bloodied Tyler Hansbrough's nose in Chapel Hill than for his performance on the court. That all changed this past season when Henderson stepped his game up and emerged as a legitimate NBA prospect. So what kind of team might be a good fit for Henderson?
"I like fast pace, transition like the Phoenix Suns. I like their style of play, the way they get up and down the court," Henderson said at the NBA Draft Combine.
His athleticism is ideal for an NBA-two guard. He is very aggressive when attacking the basket and is a great finisher around the rim. What allowed Henderson to become a more valuable player his junior season was his mid-range game. He plays well off the ball, using screens well, but can also create space with an effective pull-up jumper. From three-point range, Henderson still has issues with his consistency, hitting just 34 percent of his attempts this past season.
Henderson also talked about who he looks up to in the Association.
"A guy I like to watch a lot is Brandon Roy. With his athleticism, his strength, his ability to get to the basket, maybe him the most," he said.
The other areas of his game help his value as he is a strong rebounder, good passer, and he plays hard on the defensive end. Henderson could hear his name called as high as No. 9 to the Raptors on Draft Day and likely doesn't fall below No. 16 to Chicago.
In yet another example of a public figure describing a coincidental circumstance, and mislabeling it ironic, Henderson spoke about his BFF Wayne Ellington.
"Wayne's my best friend, I played with him in high school together, he had a great career at Carolina and it's just ironic that we came out of high school the same year and we're going on to the next level the same year."
(Note: I want to congratulate ESPN's Steve Berthiaume who stated on the June 21 episode of Baseball Tonight: "In a manner of coincidence and not irony, Justin Verlander had the same home plate umpire in both of his career starts against the Brewers.")