- Jeff Gold, ESPN Insider
Wait, football again? Seems like it was just a few hours ago that I was watching referees award 11 yards for defensive holding. I complained about the Thursday night game concept when it was first announced as a full-season entity. It seemed like overkill. I figured I'd need more time to recover -- and handicap to achieve my typical mediocre results -- before the next week's games.
I was full of it. A total phony. Put an NFL game on every day of the week. Feed the fix.
Tonight's matchup is an intriguing one between the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers, who obviously boast one of the most exciting players in the league in Cam Newton.
Worth noting: On the NFL Network's Top 100 players of 2012 show, Eli Manning was ranked No. 31 overall, and Newton came in at No. 40. They were ranked fifth and sixth respectively among QBs.
The Giants have failed to cover in both of their games, while Carolina has split. Under/Over results for both teams are 1-1. The public money thus far has come in on the Giants with 57.1 percent according to Insider's PickCenter. With news coming out Wednesday afternoon that star receiver Hakeem Nicks won't be playing, the line has already shifted dramatically to Panthers minus-2.5 from its open of Giants minus-1. Nicks was the NFC's offensive player of the week last Sunday after a 10-reception, 199-yard performance. The public is typically very reactionary.
The Giants aren't only missing Nicks. Usual starters David Diehl (right tackle) and Ahmad Bradshaw (running back) are both out. Carolina's biggest questions are with running back Jonathan Stewart and linebacker Thomas Davis. Both are questionable.
Who should you take? I'll leave that to the experts. Below you'll find analysis of line movement from bookmaker Jay Kornegay of the Hilton Sports Book in Las Vegas and analysis from professional handicapper Dave Tuley.
Jeff Gold and two handicappers say despite their numerous injuries, the Giants are still a solid wager.