Eagles +4.5 -120 (2u)
There is a good chance the Eagles will be down at half and we will get an even better number on the 2H line and if that happens we will be adding another unit on the 2H line. Want to take a pregame position just in case the Eagles come out hot and cover the 1H line (+2.5) but the history and stats don’t favor that outcome. If your book doesn’t offer 2H for whatever reason or you won’t be able to bet it, taking +4.5 for 2u is fine.
8:20 PM EST
Betting Line Provider: Bovada.lv
Eagles +4.5 over Packers
The Philadelphia Eagles come into this one 1-2 on the season but are underrated as they very could very easily be 3-0. Both losses were by a combined 7 points and they were in position to win both games late if not for wide open dropped passes by Agolar. They probably should have won this past Sunday over the Lions but they couldn’t overcome two lost fumbles, a kick return touchdown and seven dropped passes certainly didn’t help their cause either. Even with all of their blunders, the undermanned Eagles actually outgained the Lions by almost 100 yards, won the time of possession battle by five minutes and had 22 first downs to Detroit’s 16. Despite all of these mistakes the Eagles still had multiple chances late to tie the game or even take the lead. Philadelphia was also missing several key offensive starters (Jeffery, Goedert) both of which they are getting back for tonight’s game.
This is a perfect case of one team being overvalued while the other is undervalued, one team comes in being the beneficiary of early season turnover variance while the other has not been so lucky. I am very high on the Packers this year and we have won with them backing them their past two games, but to say those were fortunate covers would be an understatement. Green Bay was very lucky to cover let alone win in their Week 2 game against the Vikings. After taking a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, the Pack did not score again in the final three quarters and had to hang on for dear life in a 21-16 victory. If not for the complete incompetence of Kirk Cousins who threw a late interception on the Packers goal line the Vikes would have come all the way back and taken the lead late in that game. Last week’s 26-17 win over the Broncos was also misleading. The Packer’s were unable to do much on offense and if not for Denver’s two turnovers deep in their own territory which the Packers converted into touchdowns, that would have been a much closer final margin. The Packers defense is very good, but they haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of opposition facing Trubisky, Cousins on the road, and Joe Flacco on the road. This will be the first week they are tested and this defense has it’s weaknesses, stopping the run primarily. The Packers have won the turnover battle in every one of their games, forcing seven turnovers in three games and as a result have the eighth-best field position to start drives in the NFL. Obviously, turnovers are an extremely random luck based statistic which tends to even out over time, a correction in that department could be just what the doctor ordered for the Eagles tonight.
All signs on paper point to a Packers win in this one and this line has shot up accordingly. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t lose often at Lambeau, especially on a short week, and his protection has been tremendous, which doesn’t bode well for an Eagles’ pass rush that has uncharacteristically struggled to get to the quarterback so far this year. That said, this line is too high. Any rookie coach’s toughest challenge is preparing for their first Thursday Night game on short rest and history is certainly against them, rookie head coaches in their first Thursday start (throwing out when rookie head coaches have faced each other) are 3-18 ATS dating back to 2013. The Packers are in a very fadable spot where they are playing their third straight home game after covering their first two. This always leads to an overreaction to the line which is the case in this one. To me, this spread should be Green Bay -3 and the extra point in the line comes from them covering all three games this year, the Eagles 0-3 ATS record and the history of home favorites covering on Thursday nights. But as was stated in previous TNF write-ups, the true advantage of playing at home on a short week really only comes into place after Week 6. Over the past five seasons, TNF home favorites have gone 9-9-1 ATS in the first five weeks then after Week 6, home favorites see a much bigger edge going 20-8-1 ATS in those games. Homefield is still big because it negates the travel which even further shortens the week but I think that is evened out in this one by this being Lafleur’s first time in this roll.
As great as the Packers defense has looked, offensively they really concern me. Aaron Rodger’s has not been sharp and his body language is very concerning. On more occasions than I could count on one hand last week against the Broncos whenever any sort of pass rush was coming at Rodgers he immediately threw the ball into the ground and had a disgusted look on his face. I thought that the disconnect between Rodgers and Lefleur was being overblown but based on Rodger’s body language it’s pretty obvious these two don’t like each other. I don’t want to overreact to one game but Rodgers looks totally disengaged at times am going to have to see a lot more out of Rodgers before I can confidently back the Packers laying any sort of points against a competent opponent which the Eagles certainly qualify.
Speaking of their offense, the Packers offensive struggles have been greatly masked by their 3-0 record, great defensive play and opponents offensive futility. They are only averaging 4.8 yards per play and just 3.4 yards per rush. It hasn’t been an issue yet because none of the three teams Green Bay has beaten had a balanced offense capable of putting up points against them. Philly, on the other hand, has the attack to give the Packers stop unit all kinds of trouble. Philly’s offense has balance with Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles splitting carries. Their defense has shut down the run in every game, holding foes to just 2.9 yards per carry, good for second best in the NFL. Yes, their secondary has issues and will be sans Darby tonight, but if they can make Green Bay one dimensional by shutting down the run game, that will allow them to focus on the pass more. This isn’t quite a “must win” game for the Eagles even though a loss would drop them to 1-3 because they have a very favorable schedule coming up (Giants twice, Redskins, Dolphins) but a win against a quality opponent would really help them right the ship, obviously. Even with their injuries, this is still one of the most talented rosters in the NFL and it’s surely worth noting that the Eagles have been excellent at “circling the wagons” in recent seasons – they haven’t lost three straight games since Doug Pederson’s first year on the job, back in 2016. This is way too many points in a game that the Eagles should be primed to compete in from start to finish.