Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) at Detroit Lions (1-3)
Coming into the season, I had the Eagles atop my underrated teams list. I bet on them in each of their first 3 games, first as mere 3.5 point home favorites against the lowly Bears, then as 3.5 point road underdogs against the lowly Bears, then as 4 point home underdogs for the Pittsburgh Steelers week 3, prior to their week 4 bye. Not only did the Eagles cover all 3 games, but they covered them easily and actually have the league’s best point differential at +65 (despite only playing 3 games) and rank 1st in the league in first down percentage differential through their first 3 games. They might not finish the season as the league’s best team, but so far that’s what they’ve been.
Now, they no longer seem underrated. After their dominant performance against the Steelers, they come out of their bye as 3.5 point road favorites against a capable Detroit team. Now that they’re no longer underrated, I’m actually going to go the other way. The Eagles have had two weeks to hear about how great they are and the lines have adjusted, as this line was 1 in favor of the Lions last week on the early line (the Lions close upset loss in Chicago likely had something to do with that too). I love fading significant line movements whenever it makes sense, as they tend to be the result of week-to-week overreactions. On top of that, teams like the Eagles who are coming off of a home upset victory tend not to cover the following week, likely because they’re overconfident and overvalued. Teams are 52-75 ATS in that spot since 2012. Despite that, the public is still all over the Eagles and I love fading the public whenever it makes sense as well, as they always lose money in the long run.
The reason this isn’t a bigger play is because of how undermanned the Lions are on defense right now. They’re missing two of their three best defensive players with injury once again (linebacker DeAndre Levy and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah) and it has shown this season. Fortunately, their offense has remained strong and, even if this game isn’t close for most of the game, I like their chances of a late backdoor cover if they’re down by 10 late. As long as this line is higher than 3, I think it’s worth putting money on. About 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal and about 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less. The Eagles are a good team, but not as good as they’ve looked so far, so I like getting 3.5 with the Lions at home.
Philadelphia Eagles 24 Detroit Lions 23
Pick against the spread: Detroit +3.5