Arizona at Philadelphia may seem at first glance like a potential upset-special pick.
The Cardinals are an underdog by about a touchdown, and have played sloppy football while losing to 2 quality teams and beating 2 lesser teams in OT. The Eagles were not expected to contend for a Super Bowl appearance, but have looked like one of the best squads in the league – and a great pass-rushing unit – through 3 wins over 4 games. That kind of early production from a rebuilding franchise is often simply a mirage.
But are the odds problematic? The Eagles are currently (-6.5) point favorites to win at home. Compared to a point spread of (7) points or more, the line means that if Philly wins 21-14, the Cards lose the underdog bet.
Furthermore, the Eagles may be for real. Carson Wentz is a rough-and-tumble QB with over 1000 yards passing in 4 starts, and the team’s most impressive performance might have been in its only loss, a 27-20 defeat at Kansas City in which the dominant Chiefs trailed briefly in the 2nd half.
The O/U line is also dropping slightly, indicating that bettors think this contest could be between the defenses.
Who: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles
When: Sunday, October 8th, 1 PM EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Lines: Cards (+6.5) at Eagles (-6.5) / O/U Total: (45)
Larry Fitzgerald is one of the greatest NFL wide receivers of all time, still going strong in his mid-30s. His leaping, wrestling, juggling catch against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3 will be A #1 on the league’s highlight reels for the 2017 season.
But it is impossible to build a team around a WR. Remember, a receiving corps is the last link in the chain of a great passing offense. Teams must protect the passer, run the ball well enough to deceive the defense, and ask their QB to find the target and deliver the ball.
Carson Palmer is not doing a good job of that. The aging signal-caller looks a slow and helpless against on-coming rushers behind an offensive line that continues to disappoint. David Johnson, the Cardinals’ best RB, is hurt and sitting out.
The Eagles are in a position to take advantage of Arizona’s weaknesses. Philadelphia will be playing at home behind a rejuvenated, nasty crowd, and can expect to sack Palmer at least 3-5 times this Sunday.
On offense, Philly must work to score points against a tough secondary. However, they’ll get plenty of good field position and opportunities to reach pay-dirt.
Take the Eagles to cover. Though we’re expecting a fairly low-scoring game, a close score could lead to a QB’s dual and points scored late in the 4th – and if it’s a blow-out, anything is possible on the O/U line.
But Philadelphia is a solid 60% or 70% pick to win by 7 or more points and profit bettors ATS.