Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) at New York Giants (1-4)
Last week, the Eagles were my Pick of the Week as 3-point home favorites against the Vikings. They lost by 2, but easily could have won. They had 2 more first downs and one more offensive touchdown than the Vikings on 6 fewer plays, a +9.03% first down rate differential, but lost because of a long defensive touchdown, a goal line fumble, and a bad roughing the passer call. As a result of that loss, the Eagles remain underrated.
Their record isn’t pretty, but they’re still a very talented group and they’re not exactly getting blown out, with their 3 losses coming by a combined 11 points. It’s not a stretch to say they could easily be 4-1 and if that were the case no one would have any concerns about them, especially with Carson Wentz continuing to round into form. The Eagles have also won the first down rate battle in 2 of those losses and have a +3.88% first down rate differential on the year, 7th in the NFL.
After briefly opening at -2.5, this line moved back to -3 in favor of the Eagles, as it was on the early line last week. Despite the lack of line movement, we are still getting good line value with the Eagles. I have this line calculated at -5.5, as the Giants are a mediocre opponent. Despite their record, the Eagles are at least comparable to the Jaguars and Saints, who have both already covered as road favorites in New York against the Giants. The Eagles should do so as well. This isn’t as big of a play as last week, but I will make this a bigger play if the line moves back down to -2.5. In some books, it’s available at -2.5 with higher juice.
Thursday Update: Lane Johnson was surprisingly added to the injury report Thursday morning with an ankle injury and is not expected to play tonight. That knocks my calculated line down to -4, but the line also dropped from 3 to 2 to compensate for Johnson’s absence, so this remains a medium confidence bet. The difference between 2 and 4 might not seem big at first, but only 4% of games are decided by 2 points or fewer, as opposed to 24% of games decided by 4 points or fewer. The Eagles should be able to win this one without Johnson and as mere 2-point favorites that’s basically all they need to do to cover.
Final Update: Johnson is surprisingly active for this one. The line has stayed put at 2 despite that, but I’m hesitant to raise my bet because I’m not sure if Johnson can make it through the whole game.
Philadelphia Eagles 24 New York Giants 19
Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -2