The Giants have a crucial Sunday Night Football matchup with the Browns on deck, and at this point, the game is essentially a must-win after Big Blue lost to the Cardinals this past Sunday. To commence the week, the Giants vs. Browns odds had the Giants as 3.5-point home underdogs. That spread, however, has since expanded.
As of Thursday, the Giants are 5.0-point underdogs and +185 on the moneyline while Cleveland is -215. The total is set at over-under 44.0.
The Giants are now in second place in the NFC East and a game back of the division lead. Their most recent loss was paired with a subsequent Washington win over the 49ers, and now the Football Team sit atop the division at 6-7.
Big Blue’s obvious strength is its defense and that unit will certainly need to step up against a talented Browns offense, especially considering the latest news involving quarterback Daniel Jones. On Wednesday, it was revealed Jones suffered an ankle sprain in the second quarter of the Arizona loss. Given that he’s already dealing with a hamstring strain, his status for Sunday is in doubt. Colt McCoy may thus need to start for the second time in three weeks.
Not fielding a healthy Jones would be a huge blow to a Giants team in desperate need of a win, and the latest injury news is likely what altered the spread.
Giants-Browns Spread Widens
At the start of the week, the Giants were 3.5-point underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook but are 5.0-point underdogs as of Thursday. As we suggested before, this change could have to do with the latest injury-related news on Jones.
Jones was listed as limited on Wednesday’s injury report, but per Jordan Raanan of ESPN, the second-year quarterback didn’t move all that great while McCoy saw a significant number of reps.
Daniel Jones didn’t move well during the open portion of Wednesday’s practice. Even backpedaling during stretching. After a throw or two you could see his leg jolt a bit. Clearly affected by double leg injuries.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) December 16, 2020
With McCoy under center, the Giants would almost certainly rely on the ground game, led by fourth-year running back Wayne Gallman. This was the case in the Week 13 win over Seattle, a matchup in which McCoy only threw for 105 yards while Gallman rushed for 135.
Starting right guard Kevin Zeitler was also limited in Wednesday’s practice due to a shoulder injury, so you could say that also may have made a contribution to the spread change.
The Giants are 8-5 against the spread this season while the Browns are 5-8.
The Browns have also failed to cover in each of their last six games in which they’ve entered as road favorites.
Bet the Giants +5.0 at DraftKings Sportsbook here.
Total Decreases Slightly
The total was previously set at over-under 45.5 but has since decreased to over-under 44.0. This also is probably because of the recent Jones news.
Again, the Giants would need to rely on the run game if McCoy is under center, and in a passing league such as the NFL, that’s not going to lead to many points. For what it’s worth, the Giants only scored 17 while implementing that exact gameplan against a weak Seahawks defense.
Thus, oddsmakers believe the total will be even lower than the original mark.
This Giants defense has additionally been strong for much of the year and is tied for ninth in the league with 22.4 points allowed per game, another factor that’s played into the oddsmakers’ decision in regard to the total.
The Giants have hit the over in three of their 13 games (3-9-1) while the Browns have hit the over in eight of their 13 games (8-5).
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Moneyline Shifts for Either Team
The Giants moneyline was originally +180 and is now +185. Even amid Jones’ leg injuries, oddsmakers still think there’s somewhat of a chance the Giants could emerge victorious in this game without him. I mean, it occurred against the Seahawks, didn’t it? The Giants defense carries the ability to step up and take the pressure off the offense, and will need to do so in a big way on Sunday (with or without Jones in the lineup).
However, the Browns moneyline has also shifted — it was originally -225 but is now -215.
They did indeed have numerous players listed as limited in Wednesday’s practice, including tackle Jack Conklin (knee), tight end Austin Hooper (neck), and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (toe).
The Giants have lost outright in 10 of their last 11 night games and are 0-3 in primetime this season.