Cam Newton is ready for primetime.
And, luckily for Newton and the Panthers, they get a dinged-up Giants team in their first nationally televised home game in almost three seasons.
Carolina opened as a small underdog, but a number of New York injuries has resulted in a five-point move in the point spread and nearly a two-point jump in the over/under.
What follows is a breakdown of the point spread for the game, with news, notes, quotes and anecdotes to help you make your bets.
Keep in mind: The “edge” is merely a suggestion, and not something we necessarily recommend playing.
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GIANTS AT PANTHERS, 8:20 P.M. ET
OPENING POINT SPREAD: New York -2.5 | CURRENT: Carolina -2.5 | OVER/UNDER: 49 | TV: NFL
SUMMARY: This game opened with the Giants as 2.5-point favorites, was quickly bet down to about 1 or 1.5, and then moved all the way to Carolina -2.5 yesterday when it was announced that neither Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw will play for New York, which also caused the total to dive down a couple points.
STORYLINES: Nicks’ absence—as well as slot receiver Domenik Hixon’s—will probably be a bigger blow for the Giants, who rely on their air attack far more than their ground game.
Eli Manning carried New York to a Super Bowl last year, and he proved his fourth-quarter dominance yet again in Week 2 by leading the Giants to a comeback victory against the Buccaneers.
New York has started 0-2 against the spread (both games at home), but over the years this team covers 68 percent of the time on the road and less than half the time at home.
This is Carolina’s first primetime home game since 2009, and it’s largely because former No. 1 pick Cam Newton has rapidly turned into one of the game’s brightest starts.
You have to figure Nicks’ scratch will result in more double-teams on Cruz from the Panthers’ secondary, but Cruz has been known to beat some safeties deep during his rise to stardom.
“They play a lot of single-high safety coverage,” Cruz said. “They do a good job of mixing it up. But the majority of their stuff is single-high stuff.”
EDGE: The multitude of injuries are a concern, but New York’s tendency to play up or down based on the opponent and situation—along with Manning’s brilliance—should be enough for the Giants to either keep this one within the number or win the game outright. There’s a small chance this rises to 3 by game time, but the large amount of money from New Yorkers makes that unlikely.