NFC: Eagles -4 @ Arizona
The Eagles are certainly getting more of the action on the various consensus sites around the web. But, it is not considerably more(except on VI) considering the Eagles are 4 point favorites in this game.
In the end, I think this game will end up being a pass for me. I am certainly not taking the Cardinals coming off their two best games of the year. With the exception of last year’s Giants I doubt betting on a wild card team that got hot in the playoffs and played their two best games is ever a good idea.
Let’s break down the Cardinals last two games:
v Atlanta: W 30-24, +107 yards gained, +2 Turnovers.
@ Carolina: W 33-13, +91 yards gained, +5 Turnovers.
I certainly won’t say Arizona benefited from luck in these two games, as based on the yards they probably deserved to win both. However, the actual scores were definitely inflated by huge turnover margins.
On the other side of it the Eagles come in very hot as well. Blowout wins over Dallas and then two road wins in the playoffs make them a very hot team too.
Looking at the Eagles past three games:
v Dallas: W 44-6, +5 yards gained, +4 Turnovers
@Minny: W 26-14, +49 yards gained, +0 Turnovers
@NYG: W 23-11, -31 yards gained, +1 Turnover.
The Eagles have not been as domniant as the scores may indicate.
I just keep wavering back and forth on this game. I tilt to the Eagles because of a season’s worth of love from DVOA over a recent hot stretch from the Cardinals. However, recent wins over Dallas, @Minny and @NYG make the Eagles a lot less attractive.
Almost positive this will be a pass.
Pittsburgh -6 v. Baltimore
Football Outsiders has these two teams at basically dead even. That would indicate a -3 or so spread. However, I tend to doubt their ratings in this case.
Much of the Raven’s success the past two weeks has come from forcing a lot of turnovers. Now, I will accept that the Ravens defense is good enough to actually influence the QB to throw more interceptions. But, +4 Turnovers against the Dolphins and +3 last week against the Titans are unsustainable rates.
My guess would be, the Ravens are getting a ton of love for winning their last two games in convincing fashion. I would argue that it really hasn’t been all that convincing at all. Especially last week, where the Ravens almost certainly won that game because of fumbles.
Here is a comparison against similiar opponents.
Pittsburgh is 1.5 points better, which added to home field advantage is 4.5 points. When you factor in the Ravens success forcing Turnovers and Pittsburgh not being as good in that area that probably moves the true line to around 6. Hmm…what was Vegas Thinking?
I am not entirely sold on Pittsburgh, because they have beaten the Ravens twice this season, Roethlisburger is one of the most overrated QBs in the league, and they are home favorites, but I think Pittsburgh is the right play. I will probably throw down a regular bet on it, but there are still a few days to decide.