Week 11 Monday Night Football pick, prediction against the spread

In our Week 11 Monday Night Football prediction, we take a look at the NFL odds and provide a pick for tonight's Giants vs. Buccaneers game.

Football is a game of inches, and these two teams tonight can prove this point. The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the disappointing New York Giants as we choose a side to pick in tonight’s Monday Night Football prediction. For this prime-time matchup, let’s dive into the Giants vs. Buccaneers and determine the best pick for this NFL betting prediction.

Monday Night Football Picks: Giants vs. Buccaneers prediction

We close Week 11 with two teams on opposite sides of the standings, mainly due to a game of inches. New York has lost close contests all season, including a 1-point defeat to the Washington Football Team. In addition, they suffered 3-point losses to the Atlanta Falcons Kansas City Chiefs. If those games went in their favor rather than against them, we would have a 6-3 Giants team rather than a 3-6 club tonight.

Tampa Bay has also played their fair share of close games, but as a winning team does, they handled business. The Buccaneers own 2-point wins over the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots and a 6-point win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Just like the Giants, if the tables were turned on Tampa Bay, we could be looking at a 3-6 squad rather than the 6-3 record they currently boast.

Which team presents the best opportunity as a pick in tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup?

The Big Apple

Professional sports teams in New York receive more criticism and have more demanding fans than most major cities. With decades of mediocrity across all sports, New Yorkers deserve better.

The Giants enter tonight’s game off their bye and have had two weeks to prepare for the defending champions. New York also enters this game healthier than when they entered their bye, especially with their stud running back Saquon Barkley returning tonight.

With New York’s offensive weapons consistently injured this season, their offensive metrics have taken a hit. The Giants have the 25th-ranked overall offense in both DVOA (Football Outsiders’ efficiency metric) and EPA (expected points added). Barkley and Sterling Shepard have missed four out of nine games this season, Kenny Golladay has been sidelined for three, and Kadarius Toney has also been dealing with injuries.

Three of those four offensive weapons will be back for tonight’s game, which should drastically improve a New York offense in need of explosive plays.

The Giants’ defense struggles against the run

Defensively, the Giants are above average against the pass yet struggle to stop the run. New York ranks 11th in pass DVOA and 16th in pass defense EPA, while they rank 29th or worse in both categories against the run.

They will be without safety Logan Ryan tonight due to COVID-19 protocols, which will affect their secondary. Still, facing a depleted Tampa Bay wide receiver corps, it could just balance the scales. Are the Buccaneers the obvious pick in tonight’s Monday Night Football battle?

Lucky number seven

The Buccaneers enter this game having dropped two in a row. Tampa never led in last week’s game against Washington and could not get defensive stops against Taylor Heinecke and Co. Quarterback Tom Brady will need to rely on wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and tight end Rob Gronkowski in this game. Antonio Brown will be out for this contest, and even Gronkowski could be limited due to his lingering injury.

As they have been for much of the season, the Buccaneers own the No. 1 overall offense in both DVOA and EPA. Their running and passing attacks rank in the top 10 in every advanced metric. Brady is the sixth-best quarterback in the league per EPA + CPOE (completion percentage over expected) composite. Tampa Bay runs the ball and airs it out better than nearly every team in the league.

Defensively, the Buccaneers rank in the top 10. However, the numbers between the passing and run-stopping units differ according to the advanced metrics. When referencing DVOA, Tampa has a 12th-ranked secondary and the fourth-best front seven. However, these numbers flip when focusing on EPA, as Tampa ranks 14th against the pass and fourth against the run. New York will need to develop a creative offensive game plan tonight to catch Tampa Bay off guard.

Will the Giants defense be able to limit the most explosive offense in the league to warrant a pick for tonight’s Monday Night Football prediction?

Giants vs. Buccaneers prediction and pick

We’re back to prime time, and it’s time to back the underdog. New York is healthier than they have been in weeks and will be facing an injury-riddled secondary in Tampa. Quarterback Daniel Jones should move the ball down the field to keep this game within 10 points. Special teams could also play a factor, as the Buccaneers’ special teams rank just 23rd in DVOA while the Giants sit at ninth.

Road underdogs are covering at a 63% clip this season, and the Giants are 3-1 against the spread as an away underdog. When focusing on strictly prime-time numbers, the underdogs are covering at a 75% rate. These are professionals, and comparing the spread and total in this game, I expect a 30-20 final score in Tampa. Take the Giants +11 as the official pick in tonight’s Monday Night Football prediction.