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Skin in the Game: Week 4

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Well, the Week 3 game against the Lions went pretty much as we expected it to, except for the final outcome. We thought it would be a close game with a decent amount of points, which is exactly what we got. Unfortunately, the Eagles came out on the short end where we thought they would win.

This column isn't the place to parse through the mishaps that ultimately cost the Eagles the game, so we'll take a small bit of solace in the fact that we made some money on Sunday and move on to Week 4's Thursday Night Football battle against the Green Bay Packers.

Eagles (+4) at Packers, Over/Under 46

Let me start by saying that I HATE everything about Thursday Night Football. I hate the unnecessary risks to player health and I hate the generally sloppy games we get courtesy of tired players and the very little time teams have to prepare. It all adds up to a bad product that puts players at risk, and those risks can influence the rest of the season. I hate it all so much. To make matters worse, all those factors make it difficult to get a comfortable feel for wagering on these games. Having said all that, having a little money on the line can make these games which often times turn out to be duds at least a little bit more interesting.

Based on the factors above, I will be staying away from this game. But I've committed to doing this column each week, so we'll dig in and see what we can find in case you are inclined to wager.

The line opened at Eagles +4.5 with an over of 47, so we see some money coming in on the Birds and the under here.

As far as the spread is concerned, all I can think is "can we really trust the Eagles right now?" I wouldn't be shocked if the Eagles managed to win the game, but what have they shown us over the last two weeks to make us feel comfortable backing them with money on the line? Pretty much nothing. They've been decimated by injuries, and even when overcome that obstacle have shot themselves in the foot time and again with mistakes.

Meanwhile, the Packers are 3-0 and playing at home. Green Bay is also 3-0 against the spread this season, while the Eagles are 0-3 against the number. Doug Pederson is 0-1 against the Packers as head coach of the Eagles, a 27-13 defeat in his rookie season. As much as I'll be rooting for an Eagles victory, there's just no way I can put money on the line that it will happen.

As for the over/under, we do have some decent trends.

No Packers game this season has gone higher than 43 points. Looking at their last 13 games, the under has hit nine times. The offense in Green Bay has been underwhelming through three weeks, ranking 27th in passing yards and 24th in rushing yards, while the defense has been much improved.

The Eagles have managed to put up points despite the injuries and mistakes, but the short week exacerbates both of those problems. In those circumstances, plus playing on the road, it's hard to trust that the offense will roll.

Thursday night games tend to go under for all the reasons we've touched on above, and that's especially true when the number is in the mid 40's or higher. In addition, seven of the last eight meeting between these teams have gone under. So if I were inclined to wager on this game, that would be the pick.

The pick: Packers -4, Under 46

Season record: 3-3

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