For the first time in modern NFL history a divisional home team is an underdog. How? The Eagles lost starting QB Carson Wentz to an injury last month and are now a three point home underdog to the Atlanta Falcons.
What would the spread have been with Wentz starting for the Eagles? Likely Eagles minus 6. This factors in the Eagles being at home, the bye, extra rest, and most importantly, them having had a much better season than the Falcons.
Is Carson Wentz worth the nine point swing in the betting line? No! When Aaron Rodgers, the Packers star QB went out, lines moved nine points. Rodgers is better than Wentz and the Packers backup Hundley is worse than the Eagles serviceable backup Nick Foles.
So why are the Falcons a three point favourite? Over-reaction and history. The betting public just saw the Falcons beat-up the Rams on the road. They now also remember the Falcons went to the Super Bowl last year and have a savvy veteran QB. The Eagles were mediocre since Foles replaced Wentz. Add it all up and the bettors are bullish the Falcons and shorting the Eagles.
However, the Sharp Edge Approach is clear – fade the public and don’t anchor on recent events. Big picture: the Eagles had a strong season with a balanced attack and solid defence. They gave up less points than the Falcons did this year (something that has nothing to do with the QB). They are playing at home on two weeks rest, while the Falcons have just under a week and need to travel across the country to play.
Digging deeper the Eagles +3 at home seem to be the value play for this weekend’s NFL playoff games.
Harley Redlick has cashed hundreds of winning ProLine tickets over $10,000. Harley created the Osgoode Hall Professional Development Gaming Law Certificate and has lectured on sports betting at the Canadian Gaming Summit. His approach to sports betting focuses on value and analytics using skills that were developed during his time as a commercial banker. He is a published author, writing on sports betting for the Ivey School of Business and Sun Media. Harley holds a law degree from Osgoode Hall and an MBA from the Rotman School of Business.