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Sports betting winners and losers: Giants have been great to bettors, but can they win the NFC East?

Frank Schwab
·6 min read
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The New York Giants are 3-7. Two of their wins have come against Washington and the other came against the Philadelphia Eagles.

That’s the profile of your typical bad NFL football team. Yet, some bettors are very thankful for the Giants this season.

The Giants have been quietly great for bettors who caught on to them early in the season. New York might be the biggest NFL betting anomaly this season. Only the 10-0 Pittsburgh Steelers have a better record against the spread this season. The Giants are 7-3 against the spread. The Giants are the only team in the NFL with a perfect record against the spread on the road. They have covered all five times on the road.

There might be a weird disconnect. NFL fans who don’t bet or pay much attention to point spreads probably don’t think much of the Giants. Bettors might see a team that, in terms of the betting market, have been much better than expected. They’re just not getting straight-up wins. That might be changing though. New York has won three of five.

There might be one more way for bettors to take advantage of the Giants being sneaky good. It comes in the odds to win the NFC East.

The Giants are a half-game back of the Eagles, tied with the other three NFC East teams. Despite being competitive most weeks, leading the NFC East with three divisional wins and finally collecting some straight-up wins, the Giants have just the third-best odds to win the NFC East at BetMGM:

Eagles +150
Cowboys +250
Giants +300
Washington +450

Considering how bad the division has been this season, you can make an argument the Giants should be favorites. The Giants have the 20th toughest remaining schedule, according to Football Outsiders, which isn’t bad (Dallas and Washington both have easier remaining schedules, but the Eagles have the fifth toughest remaining slate).

The Giants should get a win this week. They face the Cincinnati Bengals in their first game since quarterback Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Giants are 5-point favorites. Considering six wins might be good enough to win this bad division, every one matters.

The Giants have been more competitive than casual fans likely realize. Their record against the spread reflects that. Maybe their legacy to bettors will be cashing a ticket as NFC East champs.

Daniel Jones and the Giants are still in the NFC East race. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
Daniel Jones and the Giants are still in the NFC East race. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

Here are the winners and losers from the past week in the sports betting world:

WINNERS

College basketball, saving our weeknights: Since the World Series ended, weeknights have been rather lonely for sports bettors.

There have been some MAC college football games and the normal Monday/Thursday NFL prime-time games, but it has been a weird November. We usually have NBA, NHL and college basketball regular-season games to keep us busy. We have had none of that yet this month.

That starts to change Wednesday. Finally, college basketball returns. We were robbed of March Madness by COVID-19 and despite a delay to the start of the season and many headlines about positive tests, there will be games on Wednesday. Many games.

There are more than 70 games on the schedule for Wednesday, as of Tuesday morning. There are no marquee matchups — UCLA at San Diego State might be the best game — but it will be nice for those who enjoy college hoops before March.

The house: Over the course of an NFL season, sportsbooks will find a way to turn a profit. Week 11 was a bloodbath for NFL bettors.

Week 11 finished with the Buccaneers, who were getting 66.4% of the money bet on “Monday Night Football” at BetMGM, failing to cover the spread as a favorite. They lost 27-24 to the Los Angeles Rams.

Name a Week 11 game and the house probably turned a profit on it. The Kansas City Chiefs failing to cover in their win over the Las Vegas Raiders was a huge outcome. Underdogs covered in seven of 12 Sunday games, which is usually bad for casual bettors, and two popular underdog plays among the public lost: The Packers blew a lead and lost to the Colts, and the Bengals failed to cover against Washington after losing quarterback Joe Burrow due to injury. The Broncos, Texans and Panthers were huge wins for the house.

Bettors will try to get back on track in Week 12, but they’ll have a much smaller bankroll to start with after a rough Week 11.

LOSERS

Those college football bad beats: If you were on any of the four brutal bad beats in the college football world last weekend, you already know.

My colleague Sam Cooper did a great job running them down, if you have the stomach to relive them. Cincinnati passing a touchdown when it should have scored was particularly tough to handle.

At least a crazy Abilene Christian-Virginia bad beat brought us perhaps the funniest clip in the history of Scott Van Pelt’s bad beats segment on ESPN (and that’s saying something). A weird throwback play by Virginia when it should have been running out the clock led to a safety and Abilene Christian getting the ball back, and they threw a pick-six on the final play of the game for the zaniest cover you’re going to find this season.

If you lived through those bad beats and still want to bet on college football this week, just know that it can’t get any worse. We hope.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals were a team bettors could trust. Like the Giants they have a bad straight-up record, but bettors knew they were good value with the spread. The Bengals, 2-7-1 straight up this season, were 6-3 against the spread before Sunday.

We all know what happened on Sunday. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, the first overall pick who was having a very nice season, suffered a brutal knee injury. He’s done for the season. Ryan Finley takes over and that’s a big downgrade.

Seeing Burrow carted off was a sad day for the Bengals, for the NFL as a whole and also for bettors who had been backing the Bengals all season. One of the secretly profitable teams in the league might not be such a good bet the rest of the season.

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