Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams: 2017 Week 14 NFL Pick

Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) at Los Angeles Rams (9-3)

Last week, the Eagles were 5.5 point favorites in Seattle. It seemed like too many points to me, especially given Seattle’s track record in night games against teams from the Eastern Time Zone. I kept that pick as a low confidence pick though, because I was hesitant to bet against the Eagles, who had been covering the spread all season (9-2 ATS before last week). In hindsight that was definitely a mistake, as the Eagles were a little overvalued last week, while the Seahawks were definitely undervalued, as they continue to play well despite injuries.

The good news is the Eagles’ loss last week is giving us significant line value with them as they are now 1.5 point underdogs in Los Angeles against the Rams, after being 2.5 point favorites on the early line last week. Despite the Eagles’ loss in Seattle, I still have this line calculated at Philadelphia -3. The Eagles lost that game by 14, but that game was closer than the final score, as the Eagles finished with 25 first downs to 20 for the Seahawks. If they had played that game 100 times, I feel like it would have gone 50/50. This week, the Eagles don’t have to play at night, which is tough for teams from the Eastern Time Zone to do, and they get a slightly easier opponent.

The Rams are obviously a good team, but I don’t totally buy them as a top level team like the Seahawks yet and I definitely don’t buy them as a top level team like the Eagles, who rank #1 in both my roster rankings and in first down rate differential. The Rams rank 8th in first down rate differential and 9th in my roster rankings without top receiver Robert Woods. The Rams also lost at home to the Seahawks earlier this year (and the Redskins) and could easily lose at home here to the Eagles.

Speaking of the Rams’ home loss to the Seahawks, the Rams have that rematch next week, a game that could easily decide the division. The Eagles, meanwhile, go to New York to face the 2-10 Giants. I’m not saying the Rams are going to look past the Eagles, but the Eagles are a safer bet to be completely focused for this game. Underdogs are 67-41 ATS since 2014 before being favorites when their opponent will next be underdogs. On top of that, teams are 42-24 ATS since 2012 before being 7+ point road favorites, which the Eagles will be in New York next week. The Eagles should win this by at least a field goal. They are my Pick of the Week.

Philadelphia Eagles 24 Los Angeles Rams 20 Upset Pick +110

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia +1.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks: 2017 Week 13 NFL Pick

Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) at Seattle Seahawks (7-4)

I picked the Eagles to get a first round bye before the season and I have picked them to cover the spread every week this season prior to last week, when they were 14-point favorites against the Bears. Last week I made a no confidence pick against them because I felt the spreads had finally caught up to how good they are, but they ended up covering anyway, blowing out the Bears 31-3, improving to 9-2 ATS on the season. They improved their league best first down rate differential in the process, as they are now at +8.00%. No one else is better than +5.51%.

Despite that, I think we are getting some line value with the Seahawks this week as 5.5 point home underdogs. This is the most points we’ve gotten with the Seahawks in Seattle since week 10 of 2011, a game started by Tarvaris Jackson. This is not the same Seattle defense as years past and the Eagles are as tough of an opponent as they’ve faced in years, but I still have this line calculated at only 3. On top of that, Pete Carroll is 7-2-1 ATS as home underdogs as coach of the Seahawks, including 3-1 ATS with Russell Wilson, so they could play well with their backs up against the wall this week.

The Seahawks are also at an advantage in this primetime game because they are a West Coast team. Because of time zones, this game is going to be played from about 5:30 – 8:30 local time, but the visiting Eagles will still be on East Coast time, 8:30 – 11:30. West Coast teams cover at about a 65% rate against East Coast teams in night games, no matter where the game is played. The Seahawks are 17-5 ATS in the Russell Wilson era in regular season primetime games, including 5-2 ATS against an East Coast opponent. I’m torn between making a bet on this one or not, but I probably will if the line moves up to 6 by gametime. At 5.5, this is just a low confidence pick for right now because I’m not eager to bet against the Eagles, but this line is too many points, so the Seahawks seem like the smarter side to be on this week.

Philadelphia Eagles 23 Seattle Seahawks 20

Pick against the spread: Seattle +5.5

Confidence: Low

Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles: 2017 Week 12 NFL Pick

Chicago Bears (3-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

I picked the Eagles to get a first round bye before the season and I have picked them every week this season, including Picks of the Week against the Chiefs, Redskins, and Cowboys. That’s because I’ve consistently thought they were underrated. It’s worked for me this far, as they are 8-2 ATS on the season. However, I am actually going to go against them this week because I think the lines have finally caught up with how good they are. I’ve also consistently thought the Bears have been underrated this season, picking them in 6 of 10 games (4-1-1 ATS in those 6 games).

The Bears are banged up defensively, with middle linebacker Danny Trevathan and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee not practicing on Friday and defensive end Akiem Hicks being limited, but they still have a solid defense. They also have an underrated offense, with a good offensive line, a strong running game, an improving receiving corps with 2nd round rookie tight end Adam Shaheen emerging and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman coming over from the Chargers, and #2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky improving as a starting quarterback. I have this line calculated at -13, so we’re getting 1 point of line value with the Bears at +14. It’s not enough to bet on them with any sort of confidence, but for pick ‘em pool purposes, they are the smarter choice.

Philadelphia Eagles 30 Chicago Bears 17

Pick against the spread: Chicago +14

Confidence: None

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys: 2017 Week 11 NFL Pick

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) at Dallas Cowboys (5-4)

The Cowboys have had an up and down season. They started the season 2-3, with losses against the Broncos, Rams, and Packers, but came out of the bye with 3 wins by double digits, including a convincing home victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, and everything looked right again for this team. However, since then, they’ve lost Ezekiel Elliott for 6 games with a suspension, left tackle Tyron Smith indefinitely with a groin injury, and linebacker Sean Lee indefinitely with a hamstring injury. The Cowboys’ pass protection was embarrassed against the Falcons without Smith, while their defense took a huge step back after Lee left the game.

All three of those players will miss this game, which is a huge loss because they are three of their best players. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier either, with the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles next on the schedule. The game is at home in Cowboy Stadium, but the Cowboys have such a national fanbase that they have barely had any homefield advantage in recent years. They are 33-28 on the road since 2010 (35-26 ATS), with a scoring differential of -0.07 per game, as opposed to 31-31 at home (22-40 ATS), with a scoring differential of +1.74 per game. Homefield advantage hasn’t even counted for a full point for them over the past 7 seasons.

The Eagles are relatively healthy and in a great spot coming out of the bye, as road favorites of 3.5+ are 42-17 ATS since 1989 off of a regular season bye when their opponent is not coming off of a bye. Teams are 5-1 ATS in that spot this season, but I haven’t bet on any of those 6 because I didn’t like the line value. This week, we’re getting great line value with the Eagles as 4.5 point road favorites. Given the Cowboys’ lack of homefield advantage and the Eagles considerable talent advantage, I have this line calculated at 7.5 in favor of Philadelphia.

This line was 3.5 earlier in the week, but I didn’t lock it in because I thought it might go to 3. It hasn’t, rising to 4.5, 5, and in some places 5.5. Not locking it in doesn’t hurt me too much because only 5% of games are decided by 4 points and only 3% are decided by 5 points and it was worth the risk given that about 15% percent of games are decided by 3 points. The line movement is as a result of heavy public action on the Eagles and no sharp action on the Cowboys. It may keep rising as high as 6 or 6.5, so lock this one in as soon as possible. It seems like the oddsmakers just posted a bad with this one. This is my Pick of the Week.

Philadelphia Eagles 27 Dallas Cowboys 17

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -4.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Denver Broncos at Philadelphia Eagles: 2017 Week 9 NFL Pick

Denver Broncos (3-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)

The Broncos opened the season 3-1, but have lost 3 straight games since the bye. Their defense has remained incredible, giving up a total of 42 first downs and 4 offensive touchdowns to the Giants, Chargers, and Chiefs combined, but their offense has struggled mightily to move the ball and they are -9 in turnover margin over that 3 game stretch (11-2). The good news is turnover margin tends to be very inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. For example, the Broncos had a -3 turnover margin last week and teams, on average, follow up a -3 turnover margin with a turnover margin of around -0.1, essentially even. On the season, the Broncos are -11 in turnover margin, but still rank 5th in first down rate differential at 4.27%, tied with Philadelphia.

In an attempt to stop the turnovers, the Broncos have switched quarterbacks from Trevor Siemian (6 interceptions in the last 3 games) to Brock Osweiler. Osweiler might not be an upgrade over Siemian, but he should do a better job of avoiding turnovers than his predecessor. Osweiler also gets talented wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders back from injury, for the first time since he injured his ankle week 6 against the Giants. It’s no coincidence that the 2.5 games he missed coincided with this terrible offensive stretch. With him back out there, it makes things easier for this whole offense.

The problem is the Broncos have arguably their toughest game of the season this week. Not only do they have to travel to Philadelphia to play the 7-1 Eagles, but the Eagles are in a great spot with a bye week on deck, while the Broncos have to turn around and play another tough game at home against New England next week. Home favorites of 6+ are 44-15 ATS since 2002 before a regular season bye, while teams are 40-70 ATS since 2014 before being home underdogs of 4 or more (Denver is +5.5 against the Patriots on the early line). We’re not really getting much line value with the Eagles because the Broncos are an underrated team, but the Eagles are worth a bet because they’re in such a good spot schedule wise.

Philadelphia Eagles 23 Denver Broncos 13

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -7

Confidence: Medium

San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles: 2017 Week 8 NFL Pick

San Francisco 49ers (0-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-1)

The Eagles defeated the Redskins 34-24 last week on Monday Night Football, but it may end up being a case of winning the battle and losing the war, as they lost middle linebacker Jordan Hicks and left tackle Jason Peters for the season with injuries. Both players were big parts of this team and will be missed as this team tries to still make a run at the Super Bowl without them. The good news is they’re still one of the better teams in the league without Hicks and Peters and they get an easy opponent this week with the 0-7 49ers coming to town.

The 49ers have lost just 2 games by more than a field goal, but they’re still one of the worst teams in the league, especially since they’re expected to be missing right tackle Trent Brown, who has been their best offensive lineman thus far this season. Their other two losses came by a combined 50 points, so they still have a point differential of -63, 4th worst in the NFL, and they rank 31st in first down rate differential. This line is high, but the Eagles shouldn’t have much problem winning by two touchdowns or more. There isn’t enough for me to bet them confidently at this number, as they have a tougher game next week than the 49ers do (the Eagles host the Broncos, while the 49ers host the Cardinals), but Philadelphia should win this game with ease. The Eagles are an obvious survivor choice if they have not been picked.

Philadelphia Eagles 27 San Francisco 49ers 13

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -12.5

Confidence: Low

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Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles: 2017 Week 7 NFL Pick

Washington Redskins (3-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

This is the most confusing line of the week. The Eagles were 6.5 point home favorites on the early line last week, but now this line is -4.5, despite the fact that the Eagles won in Carolina and the Redskins nearly lost at home to the 49ers. These two teams are also going in different directions injury wise. The Redskins lost promising rookie defensive lineman Jonathan Allen for an extended period of time last week, adding to an injured list that includes top cornerback Josh Norman and stud left tackle Trent Williams, who were both injured in week 4 before the Redskins’ bye. Williams played through the injury last week in the Redskins’ first game after the bye, despite not practicing much, and will probably do that again this week, but he’s clearly not 100%, while Norman remains at least another week away.

The Eagles, meanwhile, are as healthy as they’ve been since the start of the season. Their 5-1 record is even more impressive when you consider they’ve dealt with injuries to defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and right tackle Lane Johnson, two of the better linemen in the NFL. They will still likely be without top cornerback Ronald Darby this week, but he has a chance to suit up after returning to practice this week for the first time since week 1 and he should be back next week. Even without him, the Eagles top my roster rankings, so it’s tough to understand why they are mere 4.5 point favorites against a banged up Washington team.

I have these two teams about 6 points apart, so I have this line calculated at -9. We’re getting good line value with the hometown Eagles, who remains underrated despite a strong start to the season. The Eagles are also in a much better spot as they only have to face the 49ers next week, while the Redskins have another tough divisional game against the Cowboys, so I really don’t understand why this line is so low. The Eagles are easily my favorite pick of the week.

Philadelphia Eagles 27 Washington Redskins 17

Pick against the spread: Philadelphia -4.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week