The Detroit Lions, despite their overall struggles, have been pretty good at making money right out of the gate recently, going 8-3 against the spread over their last 11 season openers.
The Lions and the Giants open their 2014 campaigns with a Monday night matchup at Ford Field.
Monday Night Point spread: The Lions opened as 3.5-point favorites but were 5.5-point favorites by Thursday; the total was 47 (line updates and matchup report).
Odds Shark computer prediction: 22.0-15.8 Lions
Why the Giants can cover the spread
The Giants opened 0-6 last year but finished 7-3 to salvage what could have been a real disaster. And one of those victories came in overtime over the Lions in Detroit in Week 16.
New York ranked eighth in the league in total defense last year and a respectable 14th against the run but just couldn't overcome that poor start.
New York has missed the playoffs the last two seasons, so there's urgency for another run with head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning, who are nearing the end of their tenures with the G-Men.
Why the Lions can cover the spread
The Lions have bounced up and down the last few seasons, and they looked like they'd bounce back into the playoffs last year with a 6-3 start. But after a 1-6 finish, Detroit is working under a new head coach, Jim Caldwell, who did a good job in relief of Tony Dungy at Indianapolis, at least until Peyton Manning got hurt.
There seems to be plenty of talent in place for Caldwell and the Lions; it's just a matter of putting it all together. And a good start would go a long way toward a return to the playoffs.
Detroit ranked sixth in total offense last year, 16th in defense and sixth versus the run. And save for an interception returned for a touchdown, the Lions should have beaten the Giants last year. They face a Giants team that has lost five straight ATS when they open the season on the road.
Like many NFL games, the winner will probably be the team that out-rushes the other. And in this instance, Detroit has the better chance of out-rushing New York.
So the pick here is with the Lions, minus the points. If the computer is correct, the Lions just barely cover 5.5 points.
- Giants 0-5 ATS when opening season on the road
- Lions 8-3 ATS past 11 openers
- Road team is 7-1 past eight meetings of Giants and Lions
- Lions 1-5 ATS past six games as home favorites