2011 Season NFL Football Past Picks
January 22, 2012
New York at San Francisco
Sunday 01/22 06:30 PM Eastern
3 units on New York PICK () (risk 3 to return 3) RESULT: win
3 units on Game Total OVER PICK (risk 3 to return 3) RESULT: loss
Do you believe in Deja Vu? We called the upset win by the Giants last week and in that writeup, we talked about how this season looks a lot like the 2007-08 season for the Giants. Let's look at that again. There is an eery similarity going on with the G-men this season compared to their Super Bowl stunner year in the 2007-08 season. This season, the Giants were left for dead by many after losing to the Washington Redskins in week 15 by a score of 23-10. It was their fifth loss in six weeks as part of a big second-half meltdown. They haven't lost since. In 2007, New York suffered their last loss of the season - also in week 15, by a near-identical score of 22-10. In 2007 and again this year, they lost to an undefeated team late in the regular season by a score of 38-35 (NE in 2007 and GB this year). In both years, it inspired them to go on a great run, including a playoff upset win vs. the Packers in Lambeau. They started the 2007-08 season looking great at 6-2, but floundered in the second half of the season before week 16. They started this season also going 6-2, but floundered in the second half of the season before week 16. In 2007-08, the Giants won their last six games ATS and this year have won their last four ATS. Two more wins would duplicate 2007-08 in that regard too. Incredible similarities. Do we bet based on similarities? Of course not. We bet based on the value of the opportunity. The Giants are winning because they have resolved defensive issues and are playing great balanced offense and playing with confidence and a chip on their shoulder. This Giants defense allowed 188 points from week 10-15 (31 per game). But since then they have allowed just 73 points in their last five (14.6 points per game). Their offense has been fueled by Eli Manning, a rejuvinated Brandon Jacobs, and the suddenly unstoppable Hakeem Nicks. Nicks has caught 13 balls for 280 yards and four TDs in the two playoff games, and a pair of those were game-breakers at 66 and 72 yards. San Francisco has had a great year for sure if you look at their record. They are 14-3 and have held opponents to just 15.4 points per game on the year. But, let's look beneath the covers a bit. How good would this team's record be if they weren't the recipient of two extra free posessions per game? This team lead the NFL (by a long shot) in turnover margin at +1.9 per game. Some of that is skill but a lot of it is luck. And, when luck evens out, it can unmask problems that were covered up previously (see Green Bay last week). Consider last game vs. the Saints. The Niners were at home and received a gift of five turnovers from the Saints. Despite that advantage, they were 10 seconds and one dropped pass away from losing the game. Without those gifts from the Saints, this game is being played at the Super Dome with the 49ers players and coaches watching from their couches. Yet, there's little talk of that. Instead, the talk is all about how great this team is and how amazing Alex Smith has become. The Giants also won the turnover battle in their game last week but they were on the road and won by 17 points vs. a 15-1 team that was 8-0 at home, despite the refs trying to hand the game to the Packers. It was pretty clear that even if they didn't get the turnover advantage last week, New York was winning that game. In contrast, despite being +4 in turnovers in a home game, the 49ers needed a last second TD to pull out the win. The bottom line is this: turnovers are mostly random and can go either way. If San Francisco doesn't get the +2 they are accustomed to, I don't think they win this game. The Giants are a balanced team that is playing with a ton of confidence, facing a good team, but one that is overrated thanks to amazing luck. The Giants have it all going right now and are 7-0 ATS in their last seven road playoff games and 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 road games as a small underdog of 3 or less. Take the Giants. I also like the OVER in this game. The Niners won the game played earlier this season between these two teams right here in Candlestick 27-20. In that game by the way, the Giants outgained the Niners and had more first downs despite the absence of some key players: Ahmad Bradshaw, Justin Tuck and Michael Boley. The defenses were overmatched despite only 47 points scored. There were 10 scoring drives in the game, but the first six resulted in field goals which I don't expect to happen this time. These teams have combined to go 34-15-1 to the OVER in conference games, 22-10-1 for the Giants and 12-5 for the 49ers. The Giants have shown to be an offensively momentum-based team that has gone OVER in 10 of their last 13 after scoring 30+ points. Destiny awaits. Play on New York and the OVER. If you can, buy the +2.5 at -110 odds to +3 at -130 odds. If you can't buy the half point, play it at +2.5 (-110 odds).