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Revamped Defense Might Keep Giants in Contention in 2016

Odell Beckham Jr. New York Giants NFL

The NFC East could very well be one of the more wide open divisions in football in 2016. The Washington Redskins won the division last season with a record of 9-7 while the New York Giants finished third with a record of 6-10.

The Giants featured an above-average offense and a less-than-stellar defense in 2015 but they addressed the defensive side of the ball via some good moves in the free agent market.

Notables incoming are defensive end Olivier Vernon and cornerback Janoris Jenkins, not to mention the addition of defensive tackle Damon Harrison and linebackers Kelvin Sheppard and Keenan Robinson.

If this team is going to have success this season, however, the offensive line is going to have to improve leaps and bounds and early indications during the preseason are not exactly positive.

There are things to be excited about with this team and there are things to be concerned about. I wouldn’t rule out a playoff appearance but a deep run is probably not in the cards here.

Here’s a look at their odds for the upcoming season:

Super Bowl +2200

The Giants have won two Super Bowls in the last nine seasons – the only NFL franchise that can make that claim – but haven’t been to the postseason since 2011. Basically, a Super Bowl victory is a bit of a stretch as things stand currently, but considering how open the NFC East looks to be this season, a little sprinkle on this prop wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Eli and this offense have the chops to make some noise if the Giants do advance to the postseason and if those aforementioned offseason acquisitions come good on defense, this futures bet could look mighty good.

NFC East +250

As stated previously, this looks to be a very winnable division. The problem is that while it doesn’t feature any one clear favorite – as evidenced by the solid value up and down the board – it can realistically be won by anyone.

The Dallas Cowboys are the favorites at +175 with the Giants next up at +250. The East could come down to head-to-head meetings within the group and if that’s the case, the Giants must improve on their division-worst mark of 2-4 SU (3-3 ATS) last season.

Since their division win in 2011, the Giants finished second (9-7), third (7-9), third (6-10) and, predictably, third (6-10) since 2012 respectively. They lost six of their final seven football games after starting the campaign in the hunt last season, so hopefully their free agent maneuvering, as well as their really solid draft day, translate to a little bit more consistency.

OVER/UNDER Win Total 8

You’ve seen the win totals over the last handful of seasons with this team but this is a number the Giants could flirt with. Key here is the fact that their strength of schedule is tied for second-easiest in the league as their opponents registered a combined 118-138 record last season.

The Giants get to face the NFC and AFC North divisions this year so there looks to be a couple of gimmes (presumably) among that group of eight.

Eight feels like the right number and supporters of either the OVER or UNDER can make a strong case to back their cause.

Eli Manning to lead the NFL in Passing +1000

Eli finished sixth in the league with 4,436 yards passing in 2015, a mark that stands as the second highest of his career. The group of receivers in New York isn’t the best the league has to offer, but with a talent like Odell Beckham Jr. on the receiving end of Manning’s passes, the sky is the limit as far as QB stats are concerned.

Furthermore, the Giants will welcome back Victor Cruz, who hasn’t played since 2014, and drafted Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard in the second round of the draft so the group should be better than what was on display in 2015.

2016 New York Giants Futures Odds
Super Bowl+2200
NFC Championship+1000
NFC East+250
Win Total8

Odds as of August 28 at Bovada