Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) at Carolina Panthers (4-1)
Ordinarily, in a Thursday night non-conference matchup like this, the smart move is to take home favorites, as they are 35-18 ATS all-time. It makes sense that better teams would cover at a high rate at home on a short week. Unfortunately, the Panthers, home favorites here, are not the better of these two teams, as I have these two teams about 2 points apart in my rankings. Both teams are 4-1, but the Panthers are not a top level team without Greg Olsen and Ryan Kalil, who remain out of the lineup on offense. The Panthers have had good offensive performances in the past 2 weeks against a pair of bad defenses (Detroit and New England), but they were held to just 13 points at home in week 3 by the Saints, who are not a good defense either.
The Eagles are by far the best defense the Panthers have faced all season, especially with Fletcher Cox expected back from a 2 game absence on defense, after practicing in full on Wednesday. The Eagles are likely going to be without right tackle Lane Johnson on a short week with a concussion, but they still have overall the more talented roster. On the season, they are +28 in first downs and +2 in offensive touchdowns, while the Panthers are +14 and +0 in those 2 categories respectively. We’re getting good line value with the Eagles, who are worth a bet at +3.5. I would hold off on +3 though, as about 1 in 6 games are decided by a field goal exactly.
Also, by request, I’m going to be posting lines I lock in early in the week during my Thursday Night writeups this season, so readers can lock them in before they move. These are not all my picks for the week, just picks where I think the line may move in an unfavorable direction (usually underdogs). The rest of the writeups will continue to be posted over the weekend as normal.
CLE +10 @ HOU
PIT +4.5 @ KC
Carolina Panthers 24 Philadelphia Eagles 23
Pick against the spread: Philadelphia +3.5