American Football

Opening NFL odds Week 17 – Giants favored by 5.5 as they host imploding Colts


NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Colts have stopped fighting. Oddsmakers enter the week with a kind spread, with the Giants only 5.5-point favorites at home.

As of this writing, DraftKings Sportsbook is predicting the New York Giants to defeat the Indianapolis Colts at home by 5.5 points. Given Indy’s disastrous quarterback situation, it’s astonishing the spread isn’t wider.

Sunday, January 1st, marks a new year on the calendar. Unfortunately, Colts fans will have to wait longer to see something new. At this point, it doesn’t matter which quarterback on the roster trots onto the field; the offense is awful. Matt Ryan and Nick Foles are often statues in the pocket, or they don’t feel pressure coming when their years of experience should help keep them alive in those situations. Sam Ehlinger looked good in one game, got embarrassed by Bill Belichick and the best defense in the NFL in his second game, and has become an afterthought.

Running back Jonathan Taylor was supposed to be the fuel for the offensive engine, with the offensive line serving as an accelerator to give Taylor a chance to burn opponents. Instead, the line has been a major disappointment for nearly the entire season, and Taylor has now been placed into storage until 2023.

Michael Pittman Jr. can do damage against any opponent but doesn’t have anyone capable of delivering a ball consistently in a spot that gives him a chance to do damage after the catch. Similarly, Alec Pierce could turn into a legitimate deep threat, but every quarterback on the roster has a knock for lack of arm strength, amongst other issues that limit his potential. Parris Campbell has disappeared from the game plan after showing some positive signs early in the season and finally staying healthy.

Rookie Jelani Woods appears to be the best safety valve on the team at the moment. He gives even noodle-armed quarterbacks the ability to toss it up and let him get it. It’s not the glamorous game plan, but I suppose you do what you can with what you have.

On the other side of the ball, the Colts’ defense continues to carry the team – as best it can. The issue is that the offense is so bad that the defense is on the field a lot and faces opposing offenses which have no reason to limit their playbook. Truly, there isn’t a team in the NFL or an offensive coordinator the Colts will face or have faced for weeks who are worried about getting outscored. So there are few reasons to take big chances and plenty of reasons to take what Gus Bradley’s defense will willingly give opponents between the twenties.

The Giants have been one of the bigger surprise teams, more so early in the year. Running back Saquon Barkley has had a year more in line with performances earlier in his career. No weapon in New York’s offense is a bigger threat or more dynamic. Daniel Jones is still inconsistent, but he is mobile and gives the Giants plenty of options. He has a live arm and isn’t afraid to target his receivers and get a lot of players involved.

New York’s defense is nothing special. The pass defense is middle of the pack, statistically, and the run defense has been pretty bad for much of the season. It would be a great game to have Jonathan Taylor active – but that won’t happen. One thing has proven true this season: the Colts’ offense will make any defense look better than it has been. It’s hard to have any confidence that the Colts will take advantage, no matter the state of the opposing defense.

It’s early but at this point, betting on the Giants to cover the 5.5-point spread seems like a comfortable play. Keep an eye on player props and other betting options as the week progresses.

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