The NFL Divisional Round concludes on Sunday with a matchup between the Eagles and Saints. For this game and every postseason contest, we’ll break down the sports betting lines and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.
NFL Divisional Round Football Betting Odds
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints
NFL Divisional Round Football Breakdown
When these teams met in November, the hosting Saints absolutely demolished the Eagles. New Orleans out-gained the visitors, 546-196, and won going away, 48-7.
As if the Eagles needed more bulletin board material in their familiar underdog role, they can feed off Alvin Kamara‘s comments that the Saints would’ve “beaten the [s**t]” out of the Eagles in the NFC Championship game last year if not for the Stefon Diggs miracle.
New Orleans is basically operating on a double bye week, having rested several starters in a meaningless Week 17 loss to Carolina. Since 2009, the Saints are 9-2 (10-1 against the spread) with a +116 point differential when Sean Payton has two weeks to prepare. New Orleans is 2-4 in Divisional Round games, with all four losses coming on the road and both wins coming at home.
Drew Brees is pretty much unstoppable at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. This season, he set an NFL record with a 74.4% completion rate and led the NFL with a 115.5 passer rating this season. At home, Brees averaged 321.6 passing YPG, 9.54 yards per attempt, and posted a ridiculous 21:1 TD:INT ratio with a 133.3 passer rating. Brees averages 323.8 passing YPG with a 100.7 passer rating over 13 playoff appearances.
The Eagles “funnel” defense ranked ninth against the run and 15th in DVOA pass defense this season. Philadelphia allowed the third-most passing YPG (270.5) overall and second-most passing YPG (303.3) on the road.
With CBs Ronald Darby (knee) and Jalen Mills (foot) on I.R, along with safety Rodney McLeod (knee), Eagles DC Jim Schwartz has designed a deceptive scheme to limit the opposition’s top receivers.
Michael Thomas saw only four targets in November thanks to the Eagles’ double teams, but the stud WR caught all four for 92 yards and a TD. Overextension on Thomas opened the door for rookie Tre’Quan Smith to break out with a 10-157-TD line. And the Saints have reincorporated speedster Ted Ginn Jr. to put even more pressure on Philadelphia’s injury-riddled secondary. Both Smith and Ginn Jr. have posted stark home/road splits and are problematic weapons for an Eagles defense that yielded the third-most pass plays (60) of 20-plus yards.
Perhaps the biggest matchup concern for Philly is Kamara. In the regular season, the Cowboys were able to contain him on turf thanks to the elite speed of LBs Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. The Eagles have no such playmakers at the second level. They ranked 24th in DVOA pass defense and allowed the second-most receptions to RBs this season. Kamara averages a prolific 12.21 yards per reception with an 80% catch rate at the Superdome this season.
Behind an offensive line that ranked first in power run blocking, Mark Ingram averaged 4.7 YPC and totaled 103 rushing yards against the Eagles in November.
The Saints did struggle down the stretch, with Brees posting an 88.2 passer rating in December. They’ve been dealing with injuries to LT Terron Armstead (shoulder), his backup Jermon Bushrod (hamstring), LG Andrus Peat (hand), and RT Ryan Ramczyk (shoulder). Armstead is practicing on a limited basis and will be needed with Bushrod likely unavailable. The line should be much healthier after two weeks of rest.
New Orleans’ offensive line ranked third in adjusted sack rate (4.4%). Then, the Eagles’ defensive line ranked 26th in adjusted sack rate (6.5%). The Eagles’ best defensive lineman, Fletcher Cox, recorded 10.5 sacks this season but has only one sack in five playoff appearances. Philly backers be warned, Brees will pick teams apart when given a clean pocket.
On the other side of the coin, the Eagles’ miraculous playoff narrative continued last weekend. Nick Foles engineered a late TD drive to defeat the Bears.
Foles leads the NFL with an absurd 81.4% completion rate since Week 15 and has been incredibly clutch during five straight January wins. Last year’s Super Bowl MVP is now 4-1 in playoff starts. His sole loss came when he managed just 195 passing yards in a 26-24 defeat at the hands of the Saints in 2014.
Much like the Eagles, the Saints play a “funnel” style of defense that will force even more onto Foles’ plate. The Saints have been absolutely elite against the run, allowing just 3.3 YPC at the Superdome while ranking third in DVOA rush defense
The Eagles’ offensive line is 25th in power run blocking. Philly should be forced to abandon a traditional running game, leading to more snaps for screen specialist Darren Sproles. Saints HC Sean Payton is all too familiar with the former Saints back and should have a game plan in place to contain Sproles. The Saints ranked first in the NFL in tackling at the second level this year.
We should expect Eagles HC Doug Pederson to counter that strength by copying Pittsburgh’s game plan in a 31-28 loss at New Orleans Week 16. The Steelers primarily used five-wide sets and exploited the Saints’ weak third and fourth corners, essentially avoiding top CBs Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple.
Saints slot CB P.J. Williams has been a liability all season, and Golden Tate is coming on strong for the Eagles as a weapon out of the slot. Nelson Agholor could also mix in on short receptions in replacement of an effective running game.
New Orleans has been great against TEs all year and was essentially the only team to shut down Zach Ertz all season. The Saints should look to bracket the all-pro TE once again and focus on Foles’ favorite downfield weapon, Alshon Jeffery. Therefore, it will come down to Tate, Agholor, and secondary TE Dallas Goedert to win their individual matchups and keep the chains moving.
The Saints’ defense allowed the most passing YPG (298.9) this season and ranked 28th in opponent third-down success rate (42%). However, New Orleans ranked fourth in adjusted sack rate (8.7%) and tallied 12 sacks over eight home games. Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins will look to create pressure on third downs and move Foles off his spot.
NFL Divisional Round Picks
While the Eagles defense allowed the fewest TDs per red zone trip this season, the Saints were fourth best. They put up a 69.6 percent TD conversion rate in the red zone.
New Orleans finished second in points per drive (3.21) and drive success rate overall, while averaging 34.1 PPG at home. As long as Foles and the Eagles can find moderate success by exploiting the Saints’ tertiary cornerbacks, this game should go Over (51) the relatively modest total. Incredibly, over 95 percent of money is on that side of the line.
The Saints are 0-4 ATS over their last four playoff games when favored. Then, the Over has hit in the last seven consecutive playoff games in which the Saints were favored. Games at the Superdome averaged 59.4 PPG this season.
Foles has produced magic time and time again, but his performance last Sunday was far from inspiring. He threw a costly pick and led the Eagles to just 16 points. They were fortunate to face a second-year QB making his first playoff start in Mitch Trubisky.
In edging the Bears, the Eagles became the first team in NFL history to post a -2 turnover margin, rush for less than 100 yards, and still win. The Bears also puzzlingly declined to use speedster Tarik Cohen to exploit Philly’s LBs. That’s an oversight Sean Payton surely won’t repeat in his usage of Kamara.
Despite being heavily favored in several games, the Saints went 10-5 ATS prior to their pointless Week 17 game. With Kamara well rested and the offensive line healthier, we can expect the Saints (-8) to end Foles’ magical run in emphatic fashion.
The Saints are 13th in neutral situation pace, and Payton is likely to run up the score if the Saints get ahead. The Eagles’ pass-heavy game plan should extend the game and allow the Over to hit. Therefore, we like a teaser with the Saints (-8) and the Over. That said, buying a couple of points to get New Orleans down to where the line opened at 6.5 would be ideal.