Welcome to the NFC Wild Card betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming NFC Wild Card 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 two sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick.” A lean is a wager that we have a determined degree of certainty. 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, the past track records for certain conditions and bet types, and team performances leading up to the game.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup, including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Seahawks vs. Eagles Wild Card Betting Preview over at TheLines.
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Jan. 5, 4:40 p.m. ET
This last of the four Wild Card Weekend matchups has a couple of intriguing elements.
One is the fact both teams already met in the regular season. The Seahawks logged a rather ugly 17-9 win at Lincoln Financial Field back in Week 12. As the final score indicates, neither team got much sustained offense going. In fact, Russell Wilson posted his second-lowest completion percentage of the season (52.0) in the contest. Carson Wentz fared much better (73.3 percent completion rate, 256 passing yards) but also threw two interceptions.
The other is the opposite directions each team is clearly trending in coming into the contest. The Eagles pulled off what was looking highly unlikely a month ago — they’re in the playoffs — hosting a postseason game at that — as NFC East champs after a 4-0 sweep of their division rivals in December. The Seahawks limped in by comparison, as evidenced by a 1-3 mark over their last four games.
The Seahawks will need to snap out of their offensive slumber to have any success any January. They scored just 36 combined points in their three December losses and no longer have Chris Carson (hip), Rashaad Penny (knee) or C.J. Prosise (arm). They do have the recently unretired duo of Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin to pair with rookie Travis Homer. However, the trio will face a brick wall Sunday in the form of a Philly front seven that’s allowed the fewest rushing yards per game home (77.2). Then, that secondary that made life difficult on Wilson back in late November is even healthier now and finished the season allowing the fourth-fewest passing yards per home contest (196.4).
An Eagles’ pass-catching corps at full health would be well positioned to take advantage of a Seahawks secondary allowing 261.4 passing yards per road game. But Wentz figures to once again be working with a makeshift group of receivers and potentially be missing Zach Ertz (ribs) for a second straight game. It’s anyone’s guess whether Nelson Agholor (knee) will be able to return after missing four consecutive contests. But, he could well be limited if he does play.
Then, rookie Miles Sanders was forced from the Week 17 win against the Giants with an ankle injury. Boston Scott compiled 128 total yards and three rushing touchdowns in Sanders’ stead. Sanders’ status will be of great concern this week, despite Scott’s impressive exploits. The Seahawks also allow a solid 115.2 rushing yards per road game. Therefore, the going could be tough for whoever is taking handoffs from Wentz.
The Eagles were early favorites at both FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook when this line was first released on Sunday evening. However, that eventually flipped to narrow favorite status for the Seahawks. Better health and Seattle’s 7-1 road record both play a part, as does their regular-season win at Lincoln Financial Field earlier this season.
The Seahawks were 7-8-1 (46.7 percent) against the spread during the regular season, including 5-2-1 (71.4 percent) as an away team.
The Eagles were 7-9 (43.8 percent) against the spread during the regular season, including 3-5 (37.5 percent) as a home team.
Postseason fortunes can often hinge on which teams come in the hottest. That certainly tilts in the Eagles’ favor in this matchup. Philadelphia also boasts another component that’s critical to winning in January, namely, a shutdown home defense. Given these factors, I lean toward Philly getting in under the number at minimum in a very narrow loss. The prospect of an upset also remains very much in play.
The Lean: Eagles +2 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
The total here seems to factor in all of the various elements at play here — strong (Seahawks) and elite (Eagles) run defense, as well as Philadelphia’s excellent secondary play at home. The depleted nature of Philly’s pass-catching corps also appears to be part of the equation.
The Over was 8-7-1 (53.3 percent) in the Seahawks’ games this season, including 4-4 in their away games.
Then, the Over was 8-8 in the Eagles’ games this season, including 2-6 (25.0 percent) in their home games.
Even though the total is more or less middle of the road, it’s still a bit elevated in my view. The Seahawks’ offense was already starting to run cold before losing Carson. They now head into a very tough road environment where they didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard earlier in the season.
The Eagles are to be commended for what they’ve been able to do on offense given their recent circumstances. However, they also figure to struggle to put up more than three touchdowns in this spot. As a result, I see the Under hitting in what could well be a defensive battle.
The Pick: Under 46.0 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Best Prop Bet
Home team to win by 1-6 points: (+340 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
In accordance with my lean of an Eagles upset in this spot, I like the idea of rolling the dice on this nicely priced prop wager. Philadelphia had a solid 5-3 record at home this season and all three losses were by single digits. In turn, four of their wins also fit that description — they featured margins of victory of five, eight, six and eight points, respectively. The one victory that exceeded that total — 31-6 thrashing of the Jets — came with New York playing Luke Falk at quarterback.
ALSO CONSIDER: Eagles +0.5 and Under 46.5 points: (+270 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
This article was originally published on Tuesday. Odds subject to change.