Welcome to the Thursday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming Thursday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick”. A lean is a wager that we have a certain degree of certainty in. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries; past track record of each team in those bet types and under the specific conditions that apply; and recent performances of each team leading up to the game.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup – including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to TNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Thursday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
It seems to happen to at least one team with ample hype each season — a squad heralded as a Super Bowl contender stumbles on a couple of occasions early and suddenly plenty gets called into question. Such is life for the 2019 Eagles after three weeks. Their sluggish first half in the opener against a Redskins team they should have outclassed from the opening kickoff may have been a harbinger of things to come. Philadelphia escaped with a win by roaring back in the second half of that contest. Then the injury bug (Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery Corey Clement) bit the offense hard in a Week 2 loss against the Falcons.
That left the Eagles compromised personnel-wise in Week 3 versus the Lions. It cost them in the form of a 27-24 loss during which Carson Wentz completed just under 53.0 percent of his throws. The cautiously optimistic news for Wentz is that it appears he may have Jeffery back from his calf injury Thursday after he was a full participant in Tuesday’s walk-through. His presence could really have an impact by taking some of the spotlight off Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz as Wentz’s two most obvious targets.
The Eagles passing game would already be facing an uphill battle at full health versus a Packers team that’s allowed just 197.3 yards through the air per contest to Mitchell Trubisky, Kirk Cousins and Joe Flacco. Yet there’s a path of least resistance right in front of Philly. That would be in the form of a Green Bay rush defense that the team’s overall success has somewhat masked the deficiencies of. The Pack is allowing the eighth-most rushing yards per game (131.0 yards per contest) and was just taken to the woodshed by Dalvin Cook for 154 yards two games ago. In Week 3, it was a joint effort that led to success against them. Denver’s Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay combined for 144 rush yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles have a pair of backfield mates that can exploit such weakness. In turn, that potentially changes the dynamic of this game. Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard are still settling into their respective roles within the offense. However, the rookie Sanders — the higher-upside piece of the two — seemed to be emerging in Week 3 with a 13-53 line on the ground that was supplemented by a 2-73 tally through the air. The “Thunder and Lightning” 1-2 punch they are capable of delivering can keep the Packers defense on its heels if it hits its stride in this game.
Such a development would make Wentz’s success and the passing game’s continuity a much more likely proposition. Philadelphia has the offensive horses to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and company here if they can up their efficiency over last week. The Eagles’ secondary will be an X-factor of course. They’re already suspect and now will have to make do without starting corner Ronald Darby (hamstring). While Green Bay will score some points here, they could well be rendered one-dimensional versus a Philly front that’s once again stonewalling rushing attacks.
Ultimately, a desperate Eagles squad has enough talent to make an upset here fall within the realm of possibility.
TNF Point Spread
The oddsmakers and betting public certainly don’t think much of Philly’s chances of pulling a surprise. Originally three-point underdogs when this game opened, the Eagles are now two points further in the hole on DraftKings Sportsbook and 1.5 points more of an underdog at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Truth be told, the numbers this year don’t line up in the visitors’ favor, either. Philly is 0-3 ATS in the early going. That includes an 0-2 tally as a road team. The Eagles do have an 8-7 mark versus the number as a road dog during Wentz’s tenure with the team (2016-present).
The Packers are the diametric opposite this season. Green Bay is an unblemished 3-0 ATS, including 2-0 as a home team and 2-0 in conference games. They were a much less inspired 3-4 against the spread as a home favorite in 2018.
The Eagles’ two losses this season have come by a combined seven points. Therefore, they’ve yet to fall by as much as Thursday’s projected margin. Then, two of the Pack’s wins have come by a modest five and seven points. And for what it’s worth, Green Bay has failed to cover in its last four night games at Lambeau.
With this game’s number continuing to expand, I’m going with an Eagles cover in a game they’ll be particularly motivated in.
The Pick: Eagles +5 at DraftKings Sportsbook
TNF Over/Under Total
The total for this game has seen a bit of a bump up to 46 points at FanDuel Sportsbook. That cements my conviction in the Under. For starters, Thursday night games can often be lower-scoring affairs with both teams battered and bruised from having played 60 minutes just four days prior. Even though we’re only heading into Week 4, that already can take a toll. Additionally, it’s worth noting the Pack’s offense has been rather ordinary. All three of their games thus far have finished with a total under the 46-point threshold as well.
The Over is 2-1 in the Eagles’ games this season, although the one time the Under hit was on the road. Additionally, the Under was 7-9 in the Eagles’ games last season. Plus, Philly’s last four road games (two last season, two in 2019) have seen the Under hit.
As mentioned earlier, Philly could well have Jeffery back for this contest. However, he’s not likely to be 100 percent. And Jackson’s deep speed will definitely not be available. The likes of rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins have promise as complementary receivers but haven’t actually proven it on the field very much. The Pack’s secondary certainly has the look of an improved unit as well.
On the other side, the Packers will likely have a difficult time establishing balance. Running back Aaron Jones has already generated a pair of inefficient performances and now will arguably face as stiff a test as he has all season — the Eagles are allowing a miserly 57.0 rush yards per game. That’s the second-lowest figure in the league. Green Bay should able to hit on some plays through the air but may have to primarily resort to relying on the passing game.
Each squad figures to score a fair share of points here. However, I envision a 24-21 type scenario, considering each defensive unit is capable of potentially making the other offense largely one-dimensional. That would make the Under a tight squeeze, but a winner nonetheless.
The Lean: Under 46 points at FanDuel Sportsbook
Best TNF Prop Bet
Away Team To Win By 1-6 Points: (+375 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
As with any prop bet, we’ve got some risk with this wager. But in following the logic of an Eagles’ moneyline lean in what I feel will be a tightly contested game, I’m finding this particular bet interesting. As mentioned earlier, both of Philly’s losses have been close but so has its one win. The Birds upended the Redskins by a modest five points in Week 1. The Packers also had their share of close games at Lambeau last season. That includes a three-point loss to the Cardinals, not to mention an outright tie with the Vikings. Green Bay’s first two games this season were also decided by single digits. Only a fourth-quarter field goal in Week 3 prevented that margin versus the offensively challenged Broncos. The Eagles are desperate at 1-2 and the Packers are home and looking to go 4-0. While I think Philly prevails, I see a knock-down, drag-out affair they win by less than seven.