- When: Sunday, January 13, 2018 @ 1:05 pm EST
- Where: Mercedez-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
- (Betting odds from Sportsbetting AG and current as of 1/10 at 10 pm)
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Total (over-under)|
|Philadelphia Eagles||+ 8 -108||+ 315||Ov 51 -115|
|New Orleans Saints||– 8 -112||– 375||Un 51 -105|
If you’re going to bet along with me, make sure to find the most favorable odds at the best NFL betting sites to maximize your earnings. Following the 2018 NFL regular season – and now, one week of the playoffs- here are my results:
- Overall Record: 185 – 160 – 5 (1 NFL futures bets pending)
- Winning Percentage: 53.6%
- Total Profit: $1,540.81
- Total Return: 5.11%
NFL Playoffs Divisional Round Sunday Quick Picks
The last game of the Divisional Round this weekend takes place down in New Orleans, where Nick Foles and the Eagles try to continue their second annual upset tour. The Saints have been one of the best teams of 2018, and may have the most complete, talented, and well-balanced squad in franchise history.
Following their Wild Card upset over the Chicago Bears and their top-rated defense, Philadelphia is once again caught up in Folesmania. Somehow, this guy manages to win games in hostile environments on the road, almost as a specialty.
Between the boost the QB change has given Alshon Jeffery, the Eagles’ defense’s menacing front seven, and an unbelievably improved secondary, Philly has the tools to keep the BDN (all I’ll tell you is the last word in that abbreviation is “Nick”) legend growing through to the NFC Championship.
All I know is that despite picking the Saints to win their conference in my futures bets article, I’m feeling extremely hesitant to go against this Philly team again. Either way, here are some of the stats and facts that stand out ahead of the contest:
- On clutch passing situations (3rd or 4th downs), Nick Foles completed 8/11 attempts for 79 yards and a touchdown in Chicago last week.
- In his last five playoff games, in those same clutch passing situations, he’s completed 77% of his throws, gaining 522 yards, throwing 6 TDs, with zero INTs, and a 146.5 passer rating,
- The Saints defense had the second-ranked rushing defense, holding opposing ball carriers to 80.2 rushing yards per game.
- When these teams met in Week 11, New Orleans won 48-7.
- The injuries to the Saints offensive line, particularly Andrus Peat and Terron Armstead are huge concerns.
- The Eagles are 10-2 following back-to-back wins against the spread under Doug Pederson’s tutelage.
- Ted Ginn’s return opens up the middle for Michael Thomas of the Saints.
- Philly surrendered at least 300-yards passing in four of their last five contests.
- At home, Brees has thrown 21 touchdowns to only one interception and averaged 9.54 yards per attempt.
My picks for this game:
- Eagles +8 at -108 betting odds
- Over 51 at -115 betting odds
Gambling Stats for Sunday’s Late Game
Sometimes you can find data to help with your handicapping that may not directly focus on the action on the field. Looking at how a team has traditionally performed against the spread can be worth analyzing as well. You can even take these meta stats further, looking for patterns in performances following losses, at home, and as favorites or underdogs. I was able to find these statistics at TeamRankings.com.
New Orleans Saints
- New Orleans is 10-6-0 against the spread, covering 62.5% of the time.
- At home, they’re 4-4-0 against the spread, covering 50% of the time.
- As a home favorite, they’re 3-4-0 against the spread, covering 42.9% of the time.
- Following their last two bye weeks, New Orleans is 2-0-0 against the spread, covering 100% of the time.
- Against other NFC teams, the Saints are 8-4-0 against the spread, covering 66.7% of the time.
- New Orleans is 7-9-0 (43.8%) at covering the totals/over-under line.
- Following their last two bye weeks, the Saints are 1-1-0 (50%) at covering the totals/over-under line.
- As a home favorite, New Orleans is 4-3-0 (57.1%) at covering the totals/over-under line.
- Against other NFC teams, the Saints are 5-7-0 (41.7%) at covering the totals/over-under line.
- Philadelphia is 8-9-0 against the spread, covering 47.1% of the time.
- On the road, they’re 4-4-0 against the spread, covering 50% of the time.
- As a road underdog, they’re 2-2-0 against the spread, covering 50% of the time.
- Following a win, Philadelphia is 4-5-0 against the spread, covering 44.4% of the time.
- Against other NFC teams, the Eagles are 6-7-0 against the spread, covering 46.2% of the time.
- Philadelphia is 7-10-0 (41.2%) at covering the totals/over-under line.
- Following a win, the Eagles are 5-4-0 (55.6%) at covering the totals/over-under line.
- As a road underdog, Philadelphia is 2-2-0 (50%) at covering the totals/over-under line.
- Against other NFC teams, the Eagles are 5-8-0 (38.5%) at covering the totals/over-under line.
Away – Philadelphia Eagles (+8)
I mean – what is there to even say at this point? Nick Foles is apparently the Mariano Rivera of professional football; only he comes in to close the last innings of entire seasons rather than operating on a game-to-game basis.
Wentz gets to enjoy the regular season festivities, most of which he spends hyper-focused on Zach Ertz – and only Zach Ertz; then he recovers from some debilitating injury while Foles ignites the spirit of the team for a postseason run. This is the city that gave us Rocky Balboa, after all. It’s a brilliant way to remain the scrappy underdog despite being the defending champs.
Looking at this Philadelphia roster and their recent performances, there’s a lot to like matchup-wise if you’re Doug Pederson. The Eagles’ biggest weakness is running the ball, but with New Orleans’ phenomenal run defense, they’ll probably prefer to attack the secondary through the air all game than even trying to establish Josh Adams or Wendell Smallwood.
Darren Sproles, however, will make an impact as a receiver out of the backfield and an explosive, game-breaking threat the defense must always account for. If the Eagles do emerge victorious on Sunday night, it will almost definitely largely be due to Alshon Jeffery.
Since Foles’ return to the lineup, Jeffery has been brilliant and actually has 80-yards receiving and/or a touchdown in 7/9 starts with Nick under center. Alshon will face a mismatch this week whether the Saints choose to cover him with Lattimore or Apple.
Marshon Lattimore is the better corner, but his speed is wasted on the much slower Jeffery, who will use his significant size advantage to overpower the defender on physical jump balls throughout the game. Eli Apple matches up better physically, but he’s vulnerable to committing pass interference penalties and gets burned in coverage too often.
The Saints secondary as a whole is allowing opposing passers a 100.3 passer rating. While I may have incorrectly predicted this in the past: this week is custom made for a Golden Tate explosion. Tate is one of the NFL’s great zone-busters, so he’ll either dominate a matchup with PJ Williams inside or draw Marshon Lattimore.
If it’s Lattimore, that leaves Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor outside with Williams and Apple, either way, Philly has some excellent options at their disposal regardless of their two-score-underdog status.
- QB – Carson Wentz (back)
T – Jason Peters
- WR – Alshon Jeffery (ribs)
- WR – Golden Tate (knee)
- WR – Mike Wallace (ankle)
DE – Michael Bennet
- S – Sidney Jones (hamstring)
Home – New Orleans Saints (-8)
The New Orleans Saints have built an incredible roster; it’s balanced, explosive, and flexible – able to compete in a physical, old-school, gridiron battle with their two-headed running attack or let Brees air it out to their dynamic trio of WRs. It’s true that the Saints did undoubtedly regress down the stretch, going 1-4 against the spread, but they’re healthier than they’ve been almost the whole year just when it matters most.
A huge boost was the recent return of Ted Ginn. From that WR2 spot – lined up out wide, Ginn can use his speed and quickness to stretch the field more effectively than any of his replacements were able in the receiver’s absence. His mere presence keeps safeties from being able to cheat up to assist in stopping the run. He also makes life significantly easier for Michael Thomas operating out of the slot.
Nevertheless, it’s the run game that will ultimately decide if New Orleans advances or not. No matter what Philly tries to do with their scary front seven, Alvin Kamara is going to get his. He’ll either make an impact as a receiver or a runner, but the second-year star will be prominently featured in the offense. It’s Ingram’s performance that will really make the difference.
When Mark Ingram gets rolling, the entire Saints offense raises their level of play. He’s an aggressive, bruising runner that hy[es up his teammates by bulldozing defenders. The concern is that the injuries suffered to critical offensive linemen could stifle what the physical RB does.
Against Pittsburgh in Week 17, starting left tackle Terron Armstead pulled himself from the game after reaggravating a torn pectoral muscle. Armstead is remarkably quick and athletic for a massive lineman, and a vital piece of the blocking on their screen passes. Mark Ingram is one of the better screen-pass-executors in the NFL, so if Armstead isn’t himself, that’s a significant weapon lost to the Saints.
Right next to Armstead on the line is Andrus Peat at left guard. He will also be playing hurt with an injury to his right hand. The Eagles have one of the best front sevens in the league, so upper body injuries to the entire left side of the line could be an enormous problem for New Orleans.
- T – Terron Armstead (pectoral)
- T – Ryan Ramczyk (shoulder)
- T – Jermon Bushrod (hamstring)
- G – Larry Warford (knee)
- DE – Alex Okafor (knee)
Fantasy Football Sit/ Start
With so much of the gambling public wagering through daily and even season-long fantasy, I’ve decided to share my sits and starts for the game as well. By playoff time, most year-long leagues have concluded, but sites are now experimenting with playoff fantasy not to mention Daily Fantasy which is still ongoing. For the owners still playing some form of fantasy, I share my sit, start, and sleeper recommendations.
I think Sunday night’s game will be much closer than this line suggests. While the Eagles’ secondary is much improved, I don’t anticipate them – or anybody else – consistently stopping this receiving corps of Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, and Tre’Quan Smith. That’s a lot of speed and mismatch potential, and that’s before you consider Sean Peyton’s creative playcalling, Kamara’s receiving ability out of the backfield, and wild card weapons like Taysom Hill.
That being said, the same goes for the Eagles. New Orleans’ secondary and scheme are ill-equipped to cover Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate, Nelson Agholar, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Darren Sproles; especially with Doug Pederson calling plays. Looking at these two “Offense vs. Defense” matchups, I have to take the over.
Now, I’m also going to grab the points and bet Eagles +8. I don’t necessarily believe that they’ll beat New Orleans, especially not in the Superdome, but I strongly feel that they’ll cover – most likely only losing by three.
These sit/start options reflect this prediction:
- Drew Brees – Saints QB – Drew Brees is playing at home on a track with three deadly receivers and an NFC Championship trip on the line. I think you can count on an excellent fantasy performance. 21:1 TD to interception ratio. Enough said.
- Alvin Kamara – Saints RB – Alvin Kamara is the engine that keeps this offense humming and unpredictable. His ability to excel as either a runner or receiver gives Peyton lots of options with his play calling. Because of his skillset, Kamara stays on the field for most of the snaps and sees too much volume to fail in fantasy.
- Michael Thomas – Saints WR – After becoming one of the standout fantasy assets for much of the year, Thomas really killed owners just as most season-long leagues were entering the playoffs. Well, those days are over now. With Ginn back, Thomas’ value explodes, as defenses can no longer focus all of their attention to stopping him in the slot.
- Tedd Ginn – Saints WR – Even with an improved secondary, the Eagles are prone to allowing long completions. Ginn is one of the best at taking the top of the defense. His eight catches for 74-yards last game showed that he’s fully healthy and back to form.
- Nick Foles – Eagles QB – What could I possibly write here? I don’t know why he’s going to be spectacular on Sunday, but he will be. His receivers look to have some favorable matchups, so if this offensive line holds up, Foles should give you valuable production versus his cost.
- Alshon Jeffery – Eagles WR – I don’t see how the Saints cover Alshon Jeffery. My guess is to let Eli Apple press him at the line with help from a safety or another corner over the top. If they stick with Lattimore on the WR1 and just play “our best vs. your best,” Jeffery will brutalize the much smaller defensive back.
- Golden Tate – Eagles WR – This will be the game that changes opinions on the Golden Tate trade. When he obliterates the Saints’ zone defense and keeps the Foles magic alive, Philadelphia will rejoice. Tate is a major matchup problem for New Orleans if Philly will utilize him. His usage and snap rate increased last game, which is encouraging.
- Zach Ertz – Eagles TE – Zach Ertz is still the leading receiver on the Eagles and almost always a smart start, but not this week. The Saints defend the tight end position exceptionally well and held Ertz to only 15-yards in Week 11. It’s likely that Dallas Goedert will have the better game, as he won’t attract the same attention.
- Mark Ingram – Saints RB – New Orleans really needs Ingram to play well, but I think the injuries to the offensive line, combined with this swarming Eagles front seven will severely limit his output.
- Darren Sproles – Eagles RB – Sproles adds a crucial element to this offense, giving them an explosive receiving threat to isolate against linebackers out of the backfield. He’ll play a significant role in countering any aggressive pressure coming from the Saints.
- Dallas Goedert – Eagles TE – Philly plays their best out of the 12 formations, which means two tight ends, two receivers, and one running back. On these plays, Goedert will be a significant threat as the defense is forced to account for Ertz and Jeffery first.
NFL Playoffs Week 2 – Divisional Round – Sunday
Eagles +8 at -108 betting odds
$100 to win $92.59
Over 51 total points at -115 betting odds
$75 to win $65.22