By Justin Mark, SGPN Football Handicapper
Well, we aren’t going to sugarcoat last week. Despite the Eagles winning, my bets lost. And, as an experienced bettor, they lost in what I feel is in the worst way- barely. I picked The Eagles to cover by 13 and they won by 12. I picked under 45 and the game went to 46. And for my props, I had the Eagles team total in the 1st half over 14.5, they scored 14. I also had Texans under 15.5 total points and they scored 17. Everything was so close, but you’ve heard the saying, “Close only counts…” Onward. The Eagles have a Monday Night Football primetime game against the division rival Washington Commanders.
The Commanders have played well as of late, winning two of the last three since Taylor Heinicke has taken over at quarterback. Heinicke is a fun guy to root for. He played college ball at Old Dominion and then in the XFL for the St. Louis Battlehawks before joining the Commanders in 2020. All Eagles fans can agree, they won’t be rooting for him on Monday night. And, they won’t get a chance to let their feelings be known about Carson Wentz, who would be under center if not for his fractured finger injury that opened the door for Heinicke.
Key Defensive Matchup
Like I said above, Heinicke has had the Commanders playing inspired offense. However, the Eagles’ defense is one of the most opportunistic in the league. They are exceptional at forcing pressure and creating turnovers, especially after limiting quarterbacks’ time in the pocket.
I expect the pass rush to pressure Heinicke to force some throws to Terry McLaurin. But this secondary is so good, you almost expect them to have at least one or two interceptions a game. In fact, they’re averaging forcing 2.3 turnovers per. As inspirational as Heinicke has been, the Commanders won’t be able to keep up with the Eagles’ defense.
Key Offensive Matchup
Nobody is going to sit here and accuse the Commanders of having a good defense. After all, they are allowing 330.8 total yards a game, which is the 21st worst in the league. However, they did hold the Dalvin Cook-led Vikings rushing attack to only 58 yards on the ground last week. There’s a chance that Chase Young returns to the Commanders’ defense as well, which should elevate their pass rush. However, we know this Eagles’ squad is elite with its ground game. And, even if it gets bottled up, they’re also elite in the air. I think the Eagles will stay committed to the run, but if the Commanders do slow the rushing attack, AJ Brown, Dallas Goedert and Devonta Smith will be tough to contain.
This line of Commanders +11 is a tough one because it is hard for any NFL team to repeatedly cover big spreads. While we knew the Eagles would continue to be favorites, I didn’t expect so many double-digit favorites in a row.
Looking at lines on WynnBet, I feel the Eagles will continue their NFL dominance and go 9-0 but once again the Moneyline is juiced at -500 (meaning if you want to just bet the Eagles to win the game by one point or more, you’d have to bet $5 to win one dollar). I think this game could turn into a bit of a slugfest. The Commanders have been playing pretty well and just about upset the 7-1 Vikings. While I think the Eagles win by 10, I don’t think they’ll win by more than 10. Therefore, I’m taking the Commanders +11. I don’t like the total at 44. If you’re set on betting it, I’d take the over, but personally, I’m not recommending a bet on the total.
Once again, since it’s a Monday night football game there aren’t many props released yet. You can follow my Twitter at the link below to get some Monday Night Football props the day of. However, to give you a little extra, I’m going to provide my lock of the week with the Bears at -3. The Lions just defeated the Packers in what felt like a Superbowl win for a team that has struggled for years to beat the Packers. Now they go on the road to Chicago to face a Bears team that’s averaged over 30 points in the last three games. Bears’ quarterback Justin Fields has been playing some of the best football across the league and should take advantage of an inefficient defense.
Justin Mark is co-host of SGPN Fantasy Football’s show “Old-Fashioned Football”, and co-host of a show on the NFL Gambling Podcast, which airs every Wednesday at 3:30 eastern time on Youtube. He’s also a writer for the Sports Gambling Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JMarkFootball and The Sports Gambling Podcast @GamblingPodcast.
Photo: Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown is a major part of the team’s dynamic offense.
Credit: Icon Sportswire