Ah, the smell of New York Giants football is in the air. What that smell is depends on your expectations for the Giants this season.
In Week 1, the Giants go up against the hated Dallas Cowboys, winners of both 2022 head-to-head matchups and 11 of the last 12. Starting against Dallas at home is daunting, but it’s also the best way for the Giants to show the NFL that they’re for real. Vegas and most prognosticators believe that the 2022 Giants’ playoff run was a fluke; can Brian Daboll’s squad show them something different? Beating the Cowboys in front of a national audience would be a way to put the rest of the league on notice.
Of course, betting on the Giants’ game is different than just being a fan. You can root all you want for the team, but if you want to win money, don’t lay it all on the Giants; rather, put it where the data says it’s best.
A new season makes it far more difficult to make any sort of prediction about what will happen, but we’ll go with what we have from the 2022 data.
Darren Waller: Over 49.5 receiving yards (-115)
Daniel Jones played one drive in the preseason. So did Darren Waller. The result: three catches, 30 yards. Besides the matchup nightmare that Waller poses one-on-one, I believe Mike Kafka will scheme easy yards for Waller. It’s hard to see him going under 49.5 receiving yards, even if the Giants’ offense ends up struggling.
The Cowboys gave up 43.1 receiving yards per game to tight ends in 2022, but George Kittle, Dallas Goedert, and Evan Engram were among those who exceeded the 49.5 mark. I expect the same from Waller.
Daniel Jones: Over 212.5 passing yards (-115)
Including the playoffs, Jones averaged 202.3 passing yards per game in 2022. He went over 212 passing yards just five times in 18 games. One of them, though, was in Week 12 against Dallas when he had 228.
There are two ways Jones can end up with over 212.5 passing yards. One is if the Giants open up their passing offense. With more players having YAC ability, Jones won’t necessarily need to light up the scoreboard or sling the ball 30 yards downfield. With the 6.8 yards per attempt he averaged in 2022, he will get over 212.5 yards with 32 pass attempts. While he met or exceeded that mark only six times in 2022, increasing to the league average of 7.3 yards per attempt would require 29 pass attempts to get to 212.5 yards. I think Jones can do that with all the weapons he has.
The other is if the Giants are playing from behind. Jones went over 228 passing yards in the second Dallas matchup partially because the Giants trailed 28-13 with 8:53 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys allowed 228 passing yards per game in 2022. I think Jones will get to that, at least.
Isaiah Hodgins: Over 29.5 receiving yards (-115)
Including the playoffs, Hodgins averaged 45.9 receiving yards per game with the Giants in 2022. He went over 29.5 yards in eight of the 10 games he played (and a ninth one was 29 yards). Even with many mouths to feed, Hodgins has the most reliable hands on the Giants and seems to find a way to get open in the most important spots. I don’t necessarily think he’ll go off in this game, but 29.5 seems more than feasible, even with the strength of the Cowboys’ secondary.
Saquon Barkley: First Giants TD score (+275)
Barkley scored the first touchdown seven times in the Giants’ 19 games in 2022. The Giants also ran the ball 63.4% of the time inside the opponent’s five yardline. Even with all the receiving weapons, if there’s anyone who’s going to score the first touchdown for the Giants, it’s most likely to be Barkley.
The Cowboys gave up just 10 rushing touchdowns in 2022, the fourth-lowest mark in the NFL. Still, Barkley had two of them, and both were the Giants’ first touchdown of the game.
Jake Ferguson: Anytime TD scorer (+350)
In the Week 12 matchup, Cowboys tight ends scored three touchdowns: two receiving by Dalton Schultz, and one rushing by Peyton Hendershot. Schultz is gone, and Ferguson takes over at tight end. After recording three catches for 13 yards in the Week 3 game, Ferguson had three for 57 in the second one.
The Giants haven’t had much luck covering Cowboys tight ends over the years. Even with Isaiah Simmons to help, I think Ferguson will get into the end zone at some point.
Same game parlay: NY Giants moneyline + NY Giants over 21.5 total points + Saquon Barkley anytime TD + Darren Waller anytime TD (+1400)
If the Giants are going to beat the Cowboys, they likely need to score more than 21.5 points. Therefore, having picked the Giants to win, I’m going with over 21.5. I picked Barkley as the first touchdown scorer above, so that leaves only Waller; if Jones throws a touchdown pass, Waller is the most likely recipient.
This is the most reasonable parlay on the Giants’ side. The Giants winning and over 21.5 points with Barkley scoring two touchdowns is also a possibility (+400), but Barkley did so only once in 2022 (in the Wild Card playoff game against Minnesota).
Giants fans, what Giants-Cowboys bets have you put down at DraftKings this week? Do you agree or disagree with my picks?