By Justin Mark, SGPN Football Handicapper
Well, last week with the Eagles on a bye, we went 2-2 as the Commanders upset the Packers, and the bonus bet of the Bengals won by 18. The Lions couldn’t keep up with the Cowboys after Jared Goff threw two interceptions and the Giants rallied back by scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter to win. Overall in this space, I’m hitting 57% and even though that’s making money, I’m always looking to raise the bar.
But enough of that! The Birds are back and well-rested off a bye week. They host a struggling Pittsburgh Steelers team that is 2-5. A week after upsetting Tampa Bay, the Steelers lost on Sunday night to the Dolphins by six. However, the Dolphins aren’t the Eagles. And as good as the Steelers’ defense has been, the 10.5-point spread seems to be about right. One team is struggling to get wins, the other is undefeated.
Key Defensive Matchup
Last week, rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett threw three interceptions against a decent Dolphins’ defense. Even though the Dolphins’ D is solid, the Eagles unit is superior. The Steelers have averaged 1.7 turnovers a game while the Eagles have forced 2.3 turnovers a game. The Steelers also have one of the worst offenses in points per game, total yards per game, and rushing yards per game. Their passing yards per game is ranked 21st, but now they face the number one defense against the pass. The Eagles should be able to overwhelm the rookie quarterback, force mistakes and finish with a positive turnover margin.
Key Offensive Matchup
The Steelers’ defense used to be a feared unit. While some of the blame can be put on the lack of a pass rush after J.J. Watt was hurt Week One, they’ve not been able to pressure quarterbacks enough or stop the run and pass. Minkah Fitzpatrick has been good in coverage, but he doesn’t get enough help from the defensive teammates around him.
The Eagles have been elite on offense and I expect them to continue to perform. This Steelers’ defense is 18th in the league in rushing yards allowed and the Eagles are a top-10 rushing offense. Look for the Eagles to control the ball on the ground, which will open up the passing game. Few teams have looked as good as the Eagles on offense, and no NFC team has looked as good as the Eagles overall.
We all know the Eagles are undefeated. However, they are also undefeated at 3-0 against the spread at home. These teams have trended in opposite directions all year. While Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is one of the best in the game, that Nick Sirianni guy isn’t too bad either. In fact, so good that he’s leading the odds for coach of the year.
Looking at lines on WynnBet, I feel the Eagles will continue their dominance and go 7-0. But the Moneyline is way too juiced at -475 (meaning you’d have to bet $4.75 just to win one dollar). I do think the Eagles will overwhelm the Steelers and cover the spread (win by 11) , despite the high line of -10.5. I don’t suggest betting the total, however, my choice would be under 43.5.
Bonus Prop Bets
Player props aren’t yet available at the time of this writing. However, there are a couple of game props I like. The Eagles over 13.5 first-half points is excellent value for a team that will look to start quickly off their bye week. Sticking to the Eagles “starting quick” trend, I like the Eagles over 6.5 first-quarter points. I’m personally parlaying these two together, which makes the bet +125.
Justin Mark is co-host of SGPN Fantasy Football’s show “Old-Fashioned Football” and a writer for the Sports Gambling Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JMarkFootball and The Sports Gambling Podcast @GamblingPodcast.