Philadelphia Facing Largest Line in 2019 NFL Playoff Betting

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D.S. Williamson

January 11th, 2019

The Philadelphia Eagles landed at Soldier Field last Sunday and handed the Chicago Bears an improbable loss. How improbable? Of the four wildcard games, the Bears offered the most points of any favorite, 6.5. By beating the Bears, Philly gets a chance to avenge the horrible 7-48 loss they suffered at the hands of the New Orleans Saints during the regular season but are yet again a massive 2019 NFL playoff betting underdog.

The Eagles used some luck in beating the Bears, though. Chicago’s Cody Parkey hit the upright on what would have been a game winning field goal, which is how Philadelphia escaped the Windy City with a 16-15 win. They’ll need more than luck to take a flight out of the Big Easy with a victory.

2019 NFL Playoff Betting Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints Sunday, January 13th – Mercedes-Benz Superdome – 4:40pm ET Odds: New Orleans -8 (50.5)

After a strange Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans ran roughshod on the rest of the league. They did lose 2-of-3 to end the season, and that’s caused many NFL handicappers to wonder if the Saints can cover on Sunday. But, New Orleans brings one of the Top-5 quarterbacks in the NFL into this game along with an improving defense and a Super Bowl winning coach. In fact, Sean Payton is undefeated in Saints’ home playoff games.

Will the dominant Saints show up? Can Eagles’ signal-caller Nick Foles continue his amazing postseason brilliance? Check out analysis and odds for Eagles at Saints in another, tantalizing 2019 NFL playoff betting matchup.

Eagles Must Pressure Brees with Front Four

Drew Brees dominated the Eagles in the regular season, throwing for 363 yards and tossing 4 TD passes. He completed 22-of-30. If the Eagles have any hope of upsetting New Orleans on Sunday, they must pressure Brees. But you knew that already.

To make matters more difficult for Philadelphia, they must find a way to pressure Brees with only their front four. Brees is so great at beating the blitz that Philadelphia can’t afford to send the house to stop him. He’ll make the hot read and burn them. Philadelphia is so far removed from their undeniably great pass-rush from last season that we don't even qualify them as a threat to get to the quarterback despite the fact that they ranked 8th in total sacks with 44.0 during the regular season. They picked up just two against Chicago last weekend.

Philly also can’t leave their cornerbacks out on an island. In last Sunday’s victory over Chicago, Philadelphia allowed Avonte Maddox to play man-to-man against Allen Robinson. Robinson beat Maddox on every play. Corner Sidney Jones could return to the starting lineup, but he played in the regular season game and Brees torched him like he does most cornerbacks.

One of the concerns for the saints was that Terron Armstead, Ryan Ramczyk, Andrus Peat and Jermon Bushrod were all listed as questionable. Turns out, all of them have submitted strong practices and all four will be able to bolster the trenches for the Saints.

Saints Look to Stomp Magic Man Nick Foles

Some quarterbacks excel when the pressure’s cranked up to its highest. Nick Foles is an average quarterback unless something’s at stake. He stepped it up against the Rams, Texans and Redskins just to get the Eagles to the postseason.

Versus the NFL’s top pass rushing team, Foles came through again. Now, he faces a team that dominated Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, but Foles won’t care. Nothing intimidates St. Nick, and he figures to show that on Sunday unless Saints’ defensive coordinator Dennis Allen comes through with an incredible game plan.

The Eagles play best when they can run the football. The Saints rank sixth in the NFL against the rush, so Allen won't have to worry about that too much. The front seven will do their job and to have a chance at covering this 2019 NFL playoff betting line, the Saints have to find the best way to apply pressure in the third level of the defense.

What Allen comes up with should definitely involve leaving cornerback Marcus Lattimore one-on-one with Alshon Jeffery. He’ll have to hope Eli Apple can cover Nelson Agholor because he’ll have to use safety Kurt Coleman or Vonn Bell on Eagles’ tight-end Zach Ertz.

It’s hard to see any of the Saints’ linebackers covering Ertz. If Allen can get the correct coverages, and those coverages are effective, he can blitz his linebackers and Vonn Bell when Bell spells one of the linebackers in nickel packages.

That type of strategy is the best way to disrupt Foles’ rhythm.

Eagles at Saints Betting Analysis and Pick

Surprisingly, the line hasn’t moved more than a half a point. The line opened at Saints -8.5, but it's settled in that -8.0 range since.

The fact that Sean Payton is undefeated in Saints home playoff games definitely has something to do with the lack of line movement. Trends might also be a factor. Philadelphia is 4-9 ATS in their last 5 on field turf and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous.

The Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 overall. That’s really the only cold trend. New Orleans is an awesome 25-6 ATS in their last 31 home games versus a team with a winning road record, 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings, and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 versus the NFC.

All signs point to a New Orleans win and cover. The spread appears high, but the Eagles needed a missed field goal to get by the Bears while the Saints have the edge in this matchup on both sides. The trends also give them the edge.

2019 NFL Playoff Betting Free Pick: Saints -8

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