Updated: Oct 5, 2019
We used last week's column to rail against Thursday night football and the difficulty in assessing Thursday games from a betting perspective. Sure enough, we ended up 0-2, furthering my disdain for the institution. The good news is the Eagles secured an impressive win, and I for one will trade small betting losses for Eagles wins all season long. Anyway, let's look at the Week 5 matchup against the Jets.
Jets at Eagles (-14.5), Over/Under 43.5
This one should be an Eagles win, as evidenced by the large spread. In fact, the 14.5 points the Eagles are giving the Jets is the second highest spread of the week, trailing only the 15.5 the Patriots are giving the Redskins. So, we expect the Eagles to win, but by how much?
Throughout the week, we've seen money coming in on the Eagles to cover and the under, as the numbers opened as Eagles -13.5 and O/U 44.5.
The Eagles haven't faced the Jets with Doug Pederson as head coach, but are 10-0 all-time against them. This year's Jets are win-less and are on their third-string quarterback. They are coming off a bye, so they've had some extra time to prepare for this one. Having played Thursday, the Eagles also have had a few extra days of preparation. The Eagles have covered the spread each time they have played the Jets at home.
14.5 points is an awful lot of points to give, although it becomes slightly more palatable at home. The Eagles did some nice things against the Packers last week and will be looking to build on that performance, while the Jets have been awful. As scary as the number is, we're taking the Eagles and giving the points here.
The over/under is a bit more complicated. At first glance, 43.5 looks like an easy choice for the over. But two big concerns emerge when looking at this game.
The first is how many points will the Jets be able to contribute? They haven't scored more than 16 points in a game this season, and were held to 17 points combined in their last two games. In addition, they were hoping that starting quarterback Sam Darnold would be ready to return this week and were using practice reps accordingly. But Darnold isn't ready yet, and it will be third-stringer Luke Falk under center once again. Can we trust the Jets to contribute 14 points?
The other is game script. If the Eagles build a big lead, say 24-3, do they start to shift the game plan to simply shorten the game? Does Carson Wentz come out of the game with a big lead early in the fourth quarter? If the Jets fall behind big, do they just try to get out of Philadelphia as soon as possible?
Those factors raise some serious concerns about the final score of this game. Still, the Eagles have gone over 43.5 in all four games so far in 2019, and the Jets have gone over that number once in three games. Something tells me the Eagles will want to use this game to iron out some of the mistakes on offense and use it as a confidence builder. In addition, we could see a garbage time touchdown from the Jets, much like we saw from the Redskins in Week 1, that could be just enough to push this game over. Cautiously, we're going that direction.
The Pick: Eagles -14.5 and Over 43.5
Season record: 3-5