Nov 242012
 

Carolina Panthers (2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)

I was expecting the Eagles to be favored in this one and I was going to make a big play on Carolina for several reasons. The first and most obvious is that the Eagles appear to have quit. Even if they haven’t, they have really struggled to cover as favorites in the last 2 seasons, going 5-13 ATS in this situation. This was also a sandwich game situation for them, meaning they are favorites after losing as dogs before being dogs.

Teams are 58-81 ATS in this spot since 2008. The logic is that good teams in that situation will see this game as an easy rest game to get back on track and not take their opponent seriously and that bad teams don’t deserve to be favorites in the first place. Philadelphia is the latter. Proving bad teams struggle as favorites, home favorites are 27-38 ATS since 2008 before being road dogs in two straight. The Eagles go to Dallas and Tampa Bay in their next 2.

In fact, unless they’re favored at home week 15 against Cincinnati or week 16 at home against Washington, Philadelphia might not be favored the rest of the way (5 games). Favorites before being dogs in 5 or more straight are 11-24 ATS since 2008. Favorites after being dogs in 3 straight are also 39-53 ATS since 2008, a situation Philadelphia is in. All of these are ways of showing that bad teams struggle to cover as favorites.

Meanwhile, the Panthers would have been dogs before being favorites, going to Kansas City next week. Teams are 96-53 ATS in this spot in the last 2 years. Combining that trend with the sandwich game trend, teams are 111-56 ATS as dogs before being favorites when their opponent will next be dogs since 2008. On top of all of this, the Panthers are coming a home loss in overtime, a situation teams are 45-29 ATS in since 2002, including 19-10 ATS off a loss as home dogs.

However, when this line opened mid week (there was some speculation that Vick might return), the Eagles opened as 2.5 point dogs, which ruined what could have been a big play. That’s a ridiculous 5.5 point line movement from where this line was last week (Philadelphia -3). I know the Eagles are horrible and going into this one without LeSean McCoy, but that kind of line movement is reserved for a franchise type quarterback getting hurt.

It’s a bit of an overreaction and costs us all line value. Using the yards per play differential method, this line should be Carolina -1.5 and using the rate of sustaining drives differential method, this line should be Philadelphia -8. Those two average at about the Philadelphia -3 we were at before. Of course, those numbers don’t truly take into account how terrible this team is, especially now that they seem to have quit on Head Coach Andy Reid and new quarterback Nick Foles (there are rumors that Reid was afraid to bench Vick earlier in the season for fear he’d completely lose the team). However, there’s definitely no line value with the Panthers at all here.

I still like the Panthers to win and cover, but the line movement (accompanied by a slight public lean on Carolina in a week where the odds makers seem due for a big week after a rough 3 week stretch), makes things more complicated. It also knocks out a ton of good trends. The Panthers are still coming off a loss as home dogs in overtime and one more trend does open up. Contrary to what’s maybe logical, road dogs with 2 wins or fewer do actually tend to cover. In week 9 or later, teams with 2 wins or fewer are actually 10-4 ATS since 1989, meaning they’re generally road favorites for a very good reason. It’s a small lean on the Panthers as long as the line is 3 or fewer.

Public lean: Carolina (60% range)

Sharps lean: CAR 8 PHI 2

Final update: No surprise this was the 3rd least picked game of the week by the sharps. Why would anyone want to pick either of these teams? No change here.

Carolina Panthers 19 Philadelphia Eagles 16

Pick against spread: Carolina -2.5 (-110) 1 unit

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