Washington Redskins (3-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
One of the weirder streaks in the NFL is that the Eagles have lost 10 straight home games, four off of the all-time record. Yes, they haven’t been a very good team over the past 2 seasons, but they also have won 6 of their past 10 road games. Spread wise, they’ve actually failed to cover in 12 straight home games, as opposed to 8-4 ATS in their last 12 road games. Sure, they have Nick Foles now, but even he struggled in his only home start of the season, completing 11 of 29 for 80 yards. Most of his action this season has been on the road, completing 70.8% of his passes for an average of 11.1 YPA, 16 touchdowns, and no interceptions.
At this point, the Eagles’ home struggles are worth noting. At the very least, home field doesn’t provide much of an advantage for them. This doesn’t seem to just be a Philadelphia thing. The NFC East is 41-72 ATS at home since 2010, including 16-26 ATS in divisional matchups, 25-43 ATS if you go back to 2008. For whatever reason, NFC East teams seem to have less home field advantage than most teams, so when they play each other, the road team is much more likely to cover than the home team.
I don’t think this line takes that into account, given that the Eagles are favored by 3.5 points. If the line was taking this into account, this line would suggest that the Eagles are at least 3.5 points better than the Redskins, which isn’t true. In fact, I don’t think there’s much difference between these teams at all. The Eagles are moving the chains at a 76% rate, as opposed to 78% for their opponents. The Redskins, meanwhile, are moving the chains at a 78% rate, as opposed to 79% for their opponents. Even before we get into the Eagles’ home struggles, this line is too high. Sure, Nick Foles is an upgrade over Michael Vick, but he’s not proven at home yet.
The Eagles are also in a few bad spots. One bad spot is as home favorites of 3.5 or less before a bye. Since 2002, home favorites of 1-3.5 are 16-39 ATS before a bye, including 2-15 ATS in a divisional matchup. This does make some sense. Small home favorites are generally comparable or slightly inferior to their opponent, which is the case here. Teams in that dynamic might just assume a victory at home going into a bye and completely overlook their opponent, which is not something you should be doing with a comparable opponent. As a result, not only do they rarely cover the spread, but they also lose the game outright more than 2 out of 3 times dating back to 2002. Being in a divisional matchup makes it worse.
The second bad spot the Eagles are in is a revenge game type spot. Teams who lose as divisional home favorites are 50-24 ATS since 2002 as road dogs in the rematch. It makes sense. Matchups where the team who is favored is dependent on the location tend to be matchups between very even teams and very even teams tend to split the season series no matter what. If you’ve lost as home favorites, you have to win as road underdogs in this situation to split the season series. Teams do win as road underdogs at a .500 rate since 2002 (39-38) and an even higher percentage, as previously mentioned, about 2/3rds, cover the spread. The Eagles fell victim to this situation at home to the Giants a few weeks ago.
The Redskins, meanwhile, are in a great spot as road dogs after a road loss. Teams are 97-57 ATS in this spot since 2008 and teams cover at about a 65% rate historically in this spot, no matter what year you use to cut off your sample. This is probably because teams tend to get used to being away from home. The Redskins’ season is essentially on the line here. They will have 10 days to get prepared for the Eagles, following a Thursday Night loss as favorites in Minnesota. They should not only cover, but win here. This is my Pick of the Week.
Washington Redskins 31 Philadelphia Eagles 24 Upset Pick +160
Pick against spread: Washington +3.5
Confidence: Pick of the Week