Submitted by Wayne Root on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 1:00 PM
You longtime readers know that I follow New York-based teams very closely in all sports. Even though I’ve lived in Las Vegas for a few decades now, I was born a true S.O.B. (son of a butcher!) in Mt. Vernon, New York. You can bet that it caught my eye when the New York Giants slide into the favorite position to win the NFC East at some Las Vegas locales this week.
What happened? It really wasn’t anything directly tied to the Giants. Ezekiel Elliot of the Dallas Cowboys was suspended without pay for the first six games of the coming season. Dallas had been slight favorites over the Giants in what’s expected to be a hotly contested division. Losing Elliott for six games (or, more realistically, four after an appeal) was enough to nudge New York to the top of the heap after the Cowboys fell below them.
Is this right? Are the Giants the best team in the NFC East? A lot of their fans think so. As do a lot of pundits. And, while I’m fully aware that the G-men beat the Cowboys twice during the regular season in 2016…I have to admit I’m not sold that Eli Manning and Company are suddenly a juggernaut that’s going to dominate the NFC.
Look, Dallas played way over their heads last year to go 13-3. They definitely had a playoff caliber team…but with stats for more like a 10-6 record…maybe 11-5 if you’re being charitable.
The Giants went 11-5…but were also lucky to do so. They only outgained their opponents by 5.2 to 5.1 on a per-play basis. They struggled to convert third down tries (36%, compared to 42% for Dallas). The defense was great at getting sacks and interceptions. But Eli Manning is getting old. He’s losing what made him dangerous during the best of times. If he gets hurt…you think Geno Smith is going to lead them to the playoffs? Odell Beckham is truly an amazing talent. Has everyone forgotten how frustrated he was last season?
This could be a great divisional race in 2017…but one where three teams are about 9-7 caliber (Dallas, NYG, and Philadelphia) and Washington is capable of getting there to make it a four-way race if Kirk Cousins plays smarter. But I can’t endorse the Giants as head and shoulders above the pack right now. Maybe they’ll change my mind in September. For now, I’ll say this:
*I’m not expecting much in the Preseason, as they looked awful last week vs. Pittsburgh. They’re definitely saving themselves for the regular season.
*I will look at the Giants in Week One of the regular season at Dallas if they’re getting at least a field goal. It’s +3.5 right now at most stores on the assumption Elliott will be out. New York does match up well with Dallas personnel wise…particularly with their defense having the ability to disrupt Dak Prescott. Even if I’m not on the Giants bandwagon to win their division…I could really love backing them as dogs on several occasions. And, that Week One spot at plus more than a field goal might even qualify as a PINNACLE if the Giants avoid injuries between now and then.
*I’m watching Philadelphia very closely because they look to have done the most to improve themselves in the offseason. And, young quarterback Carson Wentz has more improvement potential over last season than both Prescott and Manning. You know WAYNE ALLYN ROOT likes to zig when others are zagging. If everyone’s going to zig to the Giants, my New York roots be damned! I might just zag to the Eagles for real betting value more often early in the season.
What about the Jets? Don’t get me started on the Jets! I’ll talk about them some time soon. I will tell you that the best time to bet on a team in the NFL is often when the whole world thinks they’re going to be horrible. The problem with that right now is that the Jets could really be horrible as they tank a season to build for the future. Many professional wagerers lost a lot of money trying to value bet the Cleveland Browns last season. If the Jets are the new Browns, the same issue could be play.
Enough about the regular season. Time to think about the second full week of Preseason action. I definitely have something very special planned for my Root Trust clients this week. There’s at least one absolute mismatch involving team priorities that the market can’t possibly price right. We’ll be taking advantage of that and a few other likely blowouts.
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I’m the only man in the sports betting industry with a star on the “Walk of Fame” here in Las Vegas. That’s because I’ve made a fortune exploiting weaknesses in the betting lines. Those weaknesses are often connected to oddsmakers and the general public reacting incorrectly to sports headlines. There’s been a lot in the news lately. That means it’s time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!