The New York Giants (0-1) play host to the St. Louis Rams (0-1) as the two injury-depleted squads clash together at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey tonight for the 2nd Monday Night Football showdown of the season. This match-up is especially interesting considering how many players will be absent on both sides, with notable injuries up and down both the Rams and Giants bench. The home team Giants will likely be without key personnel including defensive end Osi Umenyiora, and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, tight end Travis Beckum, while the Rams may not have the offensive production of running back Steven Jackson, wide out Danny Amendola, and could see a limited QB Sam Bradford tonight who has a badly bruised right index finger. Defensively the Rams are missing key cornerback Ron Bartell, and could also be hampered by a limited defensive back Bradley Fletcher, who has a sprained toe. All this leads us into a Monday Night Football match-up full of variables and uncertainties, but there’s no doubt that both teams will be up to the challenge of getting their first win on the biggest stage of NFL Football during the week.
St. Louis marches into East Rutherford looking for their first win there since there since the 2001 season. Having lost 4 straight times, there’s no doubt that Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, formerly the defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl-winning Giants, will want to change that streak into a positive for his new team. Coming off a tough 31-13 loss to the Eagles, the Rams have to find a way to produce some offense down field against New York, as without Steven Jackson in the backfield (who still hasn’t confirmed whether or not he’ll play, but hasn’t practiced this week), St. Louis will hedge its bet on Sam Bradford to be the difference maker in tonight’s game, who could have success against the injury-ravaged Giants secondary that gave up 300 yards passing and two TDs to Washington’s Rex Grossman last week. Expect the Rams to also put more work in the hands of running back Cadillac Williams, who filled in admirably last week for Steven Jackson gaining 91 yards on 19 carries.
New York on the other hand will look to Eli Manning to get back into form, after a rough first outing of the year which saw him without a passing TD for the first time in 9 road contests as the Giants lost 288-14 to the Washington Redskins. The running back tandem of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs were almost negligible in Week 1 as well, accumulating just 73 combined yards on 19 carries. Likely without Hakeem Nicks at wide receiver, the lone bright spot in Week 1 (7 catches for 122 yards), the Giants will have to get more out of their big running backs tonight at home, if they want to emerge victorious Monday night on the national stage.
Betting Lines for St. Louis at New York:
Bodog Sportsbook (<a href=”http://www.casinoreview.org/sports_betting/bodog.html”>read the review of Bodog Sportsbook</a>) has the New York Giants as 7 point favorites at home this evening, with -115 odds to cover that points spread. The Rams as 7 point underdogs (-105 odds) could have tough going against the Giants, especially if they are certain to be without Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola, their leading offensive contributors in the running and passing games respectively. Coming in at a huge -320 favorite to win on the money line, there’s little sense in wasting cash taking the Giants straight up in this match-up, especially with their injury concerns and unproven offensive production this season, but there’s also likely little to be gained from hedging a bet on the Rams at +260 to win, considering their injury losses. Thus, the over/under looks to be a positive source for betting on sports in this game, as 44 1/2 points has me looking towards the under wager (-110 odds) as one or both teams may struggle offensively without key personnel tonight.
Our Pick to Win:
The Giants, while depleted in the secondary, have the better defense and the more veteran quarterback in this match-up. Though Eli Manning is without his key wide-out Hakeem Nicks, the running back tandem of Bradshaw and Jacobs should find easier going this evening against the Rams, and be the focal point of production for them. While I expect the Rams to put up a scrappy battle as they’ve got something to prove on the national stage, they look likely to fall short in this contest, and end up dropping this game 24-14 to the Giants tonight.