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Skin in the Game: Week 1

Earlier this week, we explored the new accessibility of sports gambling and the proliferation of mobile apps now available to Pennsylvania residents by looking at Eagles-related season-long bets. With the ability to bet now at your fingertips, we thought it would be fun to explore the Eagles related bets each week. Now Week 1 is upon us and we can dig into the numbers for Eagles vs. Redskins.

Redskins at Eagles (-10) Over/Under 45

For Week 1, we'll go over some basics for any beginners out there. The most popular NFL bets are against the spread and the over/under. In this game, the spread is 10, meaning if you bet on the Eagles, you need them to win by 11 for you to win the bet. Conversely, if you bet the Redskins, you simply need them to lose by 9 or fewer points.

The over/under is self-explanatory, you are betting whether you think the teams will combine to score more or less than 45 points.

You can also bet the money line, which allows you to bet solely on who you think will win the game, but you typically have to bet higher amounts if you are betting the favorite and hope to have a meaningful payout. For example, the Eagles are -425 in this game, meaning you would have to bet $425 to win $100. Occasionally a money line bet can be prudent if you're confident in an underdog, but for the most part we'll focus on the spread and the over/under.

One thing we have to address right off the bat is the movement of the line and over/under as the game approaches. The spread for this game opened at Eagles -8.5 with an over/under of 46.5. The movement to Eagles -10 and O/U 45 tells us that significant money is being placed on both the Eagles and the under. It's always worth paying attention to movement like this throughout the week, as it can give you clues as to how the game is being viewed by bettors. Anyway, let's dig into some numbers and see what they tell us.

Let's start with some relevant recent history. In three seasons under Doug Pederson, the Eagles are 4-2 against the Redskins. The average point differential in those six games was +8.3 with the Eagles having an average margin of victory of 15.5 in their four wins. The average point total in Eagles-Redskins games the past three seasons is 44.3.

In Week 1's during Pederson's tenure, the Eagles have gone 3-0 with an average margin of victory of 12.7 points. The average point total in those three games was 38.7.

In 2018, 63 percent of Washington's road games went under the total. Similarly, 75 percent of Eagles home games were under.

So far we have some pretty strong indicators pushing us towards the Eagles and the under this week.

Another factor favoring the under is the fact that many of the Eagles starters saw little to no time in the preseason, and Carson Wentz didn't take a single snap. It's fair to wonder if it might take a quarter or even a half for the offense to find its stride.

The Redskins have offensive questions of their own. Case Keenum was named the starter at quarterback, and he doesn't have a sparkling track record. Last season with Denver, he tossed 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Eagles fans certainly remember his last visit to the Linc, when the Eagles drubbed the Keenum-led Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship game. Keenum completed 28 of 48 passes for 271 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in that game. Washington also has considerable concerns on the offensive line.

Yes, the Eagles are expected to have a prolific offense. But the lack of continuity this preseason might delay the party. That, combined with Washington's offensive questions, the recent history between the teams, and Eagles trends under Pederson creates a pretty strong trend for this game. We would have preferred to have jumped on this game with the original line and over/under, but we're not going to be scared off by the movement.

The Pick: Eagles -10 and under 45


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