The NFL kicks off on Thursday with the world champion Eagles hosting the Falcons. For this game and every other primetime contest, we’ll break down the betting lines and recommend where to place your bets.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick off, since things can change quickly in the NFL. Any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if they don’t respond well in warm-ups.
Week 1 Thursday Night Football
Atlanta Falcons (21.75) at Philadelphia Eagles (22.75)
DraftKings Line: Eagles -1
Over/Under Total: 44.5
This is a low point total for a game that features two top 10 teams last year in terms of total yards per game. The Eagles finished tied for second at 28.6 points per game and actually averaged more points per game (31.6) over Nick Foles‘ six full starts from Week 14-16 and in the playoffs. Foles has been named the starter with Carson Wentz (knee) likely to take over in Week 2, increasing the likelihood of a conservative game plan from Doug Pederson and his staff.
With top WR Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) doubtful, Mack Hollis (groin) out, and Nelson Agholor (lower body) questionable, Zach Ertz should be very busy running pass patterns. Veteran Mike Wallace could also see more work in his Eagles debut. He’s worth a look as a GPP play in DFS contests. A safer bet for production may be Eagles rookie TE Dallas Goedert, as Philly looks to run more “12” personnel and keep the ball on the ground.
Second-string RB Corey Clement (leg) is also questionable, so Jay Ajayi is looking like a premier DFS option for Thursday Night contests. The Eagles ranked fourth in yards per carry, and the Falcons ranked 20th in DVOA run defense last year. A ground-heavy approach could lead to a lower point total. Yet Philadelphia ranked third in play volume for the second consecutive season last year. They should keep the pace of play fast enough to crack 46 combined points.
Atlanta ranked 24th in play volume but third in yards per play last season. Philly’s defense allowed the third-fewest rushing touchdowns and sixth-lowest YPC average (3.8) in 2017, forcing opponents to log the second-most pass attempts (601). Yet Philly allowed the third-fewest yards per attempt and has the personnel necessary to contain receiving threats out of the backfield in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
Philadelphia’s overall superiority on defense makes it tempting to take the Eagles to cover the small 1-point spread. That doesn’t mean the Falcons receivers are players to avoid in DFS contests. On the contrary, volume and game flow could benefit them down the stretch.