2017 Season NFL Football Past Picks

February 04, 2018

04

Philadelphia vs. New England

Sunday 02/04 06:30 PM Eastern

2 units on Philadelphia +4.5 (-105) (risk 2 to return 3.9)  RESULT: win

0.5 unit on Philadelphia +175 (moneyline) (risk 0.5 to return 1.38)  RESULT: win

1 unit on Game Total UNDER 48.5 +100 (risk 1 to return 2)  RESULT: loss

Are the Patriots really back in the Super Bowl? Ugh, yes they are.

Don't get me wrong Pats fans, I appreciate this team. I really appreciated them last year when they covered the spread for us after falling 25 points behind. That win moved me to 9-1 ATS on my Super Bowl picks the last 10 years. That being said, I am kinda getting sick of this team. But, we don't bet with our hearts or emotions. We bet with our brains. So let's take a look at how this game will play out...

New England was the favorite to win this game to start the season, but they struggled out of the gate allowing a ridiculous 32 points per game in their first four games. No team wins the Super Bowl with a defense like that. At 2-2, things looked grim, but no one circles the wagons like Bill Belichick. He adjusted as he always does and literally turned this team around on a dime. Following that fourth game, the Pats didn't allow more than 17 points in their next eight games. After that bad start, the Patritos have allowed just 14.4 points per game overall! That's an elite defense. They also lost just one game during that span. Yeah, this team deserves to be here.

The Philadelphia Eagles were a huge surprise early with Carson Wentz leading this team to a 10-1 start. Their offensive and defensive numbers were elite, at or near the top of the league. Then Wentz went down and Nick Foles took over. He did little to instill confidence as the Eagles put up just 34 points over a three-game stretch, including a memorable goose egg against the Cowboys on New Year's Eve. Everyone wrote this team off, but then something funny happened. They won as a home dog agaisnt Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs and followed that up with another win as a home dog over Minnesota the following week. Those two games were won by the Eagles to the tune of 53-17. With Nick Foles putting up 38 points agains the vaunted Vikings defense, this team made a statement that they also deserve to be here.

In the end, we have two 15-3 teams that both over-performed market expectations (both went 12-6 ATS). Both beat very good teams and both seem to be peaking at the right time. Both teams also have elite defenses with elite offenses (albeit Philly has an asterisk next to their offense thanks to the QB change). This line opened high at six points - the largest spread since 2009. It has since moved down, but sits comfortably between a field goal and a touchdown.

Are the vaunted Patritos with Belichick and Tom Brady going to notch another Super Bowl win? And if so, will they cover this spread? Or will the Eagles, who is playing the "no respect" card all playoffs pull off the shocker? Let's dig in...

How many points will Philadelphia score?

The Eagles were third in the league in scoring this year, putting up 28.3 points per game. For all intents and purposes they are tied with the Rams (28.9) and the Patriots (28.7) for highest scoring team. However, most of that came with Carson Wentz under center. In games where Wentz played the majority of the game, Philly averaged 31.3 points per game. In games started by Nick Foles, they averaged just 21.2. That's a big drop-off for sure. It'll be hard to defend an argument that Philly will score near 30 here, but they have that potential having scored 34+ twice in Nick Foles' five starts. There is also the potential for a stinker performance as this team scored under 20 the other three times. New England's defense was one of the best in the league after they figured things out in game five, allowing just 14.4 points per game in their final 14 games. However, over their last six games, they have been a bit more susceptible allowing nearly 18 points per game, including 27 to Miami, 24 to Pittsburgh, and 20 to Jacksonville last week. When facing top defenses this year, the Eagles averaged 32 points per game. When facing elite offenses this season, the Patriots allowed 22 points on average. I think it's reasonable to expect Philly to score in the low 20s in this game. There is a lot of uncertaintly on this, more than normal due to the quarterback situation, but we have to make some projection.

How many points will New England score?

As mentioned above, the Patriots were essentially tied for the top offense in the league with the Rams and Eagles, averaging 28.7 per game. The Eagles were essentially tied with the Chargers (17.0) and Vikings (17.4) for the top defense this year allowing 17.3 points per game. When New England faced elite defenses like Philadelphia's this year, the Pats put up 22.5 points per game on average. The Eagles defense played only one elite offense this year (the Rams) and allowed 35 points. Towards the end of the season, over a three game road trip, they allowed three opponents to score 24, 35, and 29. They finished the season strong, though, allowing their last four opponents to score no more than 10 points each (10, 6, 10, and 7). Elite offenses, including those led by Tom Brady, have historically underperformed in the Super Bowl. Given this, I think it's reasonable to expect the Pats to also score in the low 20s here.

That does not bode well for Patriots backers. Why? Super Bowl favorites who score under 30 points are just 3-18 ATS. Without a defensive touchdown or two, I find it very hard to see New England getting to 30 points in this game against arguably the top defense in the league. Meanwhile, Super Bowl dogs that score 20+ are 19-4-1 ATS. Will Philly reach 20 points? It's no certainty, but it's not unlikely either.

How about the intangibles? Clearly New England has arguably the best NFL coach of all time and arguably the best NFL QB of all time. That is worth something. Philadelphia has more motivation. They are hungrier for a title and they have successfully been playing the "no respect" card all playoffs long. They truely feel like it's "us against the world" and that they are getting no respect. That is a very motivating force, and it's one reason why they beat Atlanta and Minnesota. They can play it again here.

And I think they will, to great success. Philly has a decent shot at winning this game outright. And if they do lose a close one, I think it'll fall within this spread. I also think the defenses will reign supreme here, with the UNDER coming in.

For the full game bets, take Philly plus the points and for the straight-up upset win, and also take the UNDER.


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