NFL Pick of the Week – Week 17

Last Updated: 2018-12-30

For our NFL Pick of the Week, we’ll look at one of the games that isn’t really getting much attention this week, as the Eagles visit Washington and Philadelphia is favored by 7 with a total of 41.5. The Eagles need a victory here and a loss by the Vikings to return to the playoffs, but in order to get there first have to get past their longtime rivals in the NFC East.

The Eagles are 8-7 on the season and have given themselves a chance by winning their past two games against decent teams, knocking off the Rams as double-digit underdogs two weeks ago and then pulling out a win over Houston last week. The Eagles have won four of their last five, which includes a 28-13 win over the ‘Skins as 5.5-point favorites earlier this month.

If you want to find a culprit as to why the Eagles are fighting for the playoffs, instead of having clinched a spot already, you can look at the defense, which simply has been extremely average, allowing 23.2 points per game and 4.8 yards per rush, along with a 7.0 yards per pass attempt. Those aren’t the types of numbers you expect from a Super Bowl team.

The Eagles haven’t been bad offensively, and have come on a bit lately, scoring 62 points their last two games and at least 23 points in each of their last five games, but away favorites of a touchdown or more off back-to-back 30 points games are just 39-62-2 ATS over the years.

Washington had a decent start to the season, but has fallen apart a little bit down the stretch, having dropped four of its last five and is now 7-8 on the season, needing a win to finish .500, which is a little incentive and definitely sounds better than going 7-9. Players do have a bit of pride and are far less concerned with their draft position as general managers. Coaches also have some incentive to finish .500, as it’s better for job security than a losing record.

The most interesting thing here is the line movement, or lack of, as the Eagles are getting more than 70% of the wagers in the game and the only team to be getting a higher percentage of bets is the LA Chargers, who have moved from -4 to -6.5 or -7, while the Eagles have held steady as 7-point favorites, with bettors being able to find numbers of 6.5 and 7.5 by doing a little bit of shopping.

The Eagles were favored by 5.5 four weeks at home and now they’re a touchdown on the road, so bettors are definitely paying a premium to back the Eagles in their must-win situation, so I’ll go the other way with Washington plus the points in this one.


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