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Skin in the Game: Week 6

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We had mixed results in Week 5, easily hitting on our Eagles pick despite the sizable spread as the Birds dismantled the hapless Jets. Unfortunately, the Jets were so bad that they contributed virtually nothing to the scoreboard, so we fell short on our Over bet. But hey, we'll take a big Eagles win and some cash to go with it any week. Now, it's on to Week 6 and the Minnesota Vikings.

Eagles (+3) at Vikings, Over/Under 44

A couple of quick notes to start. First, the line and over/under have remained steady throughout the week, indicating strong consensus on a close game. Building on that, it's generally accepted that home teams start off as three-point favorites before other factors are considered, so the three-point line here tells us that Vegas views this game as a virtual pick em.

Now for some history, starting with the more recent variety. Doug Pederson is 2-1 against Minnesota as head coach of the Eagles. The loss was last season's disappointing two-point defeat. Of those three games, one went under 44 points, one went over, and one hit 44 directly.

Digging deeper into the history books, the Eagles are 14-7 in their last 21 games against the Vikings and 12-6 against the spread (ATS) versus Minnesota since 1980.

Now, there's a lot of love for the Vikings in this game among the betting "expert" industry, and it's fair to see why. They will be playing at home, and both the team (25-10-1 ATS at home since 2015 and 20-8-1 ATS as home favorite in that span) and head coach (29-12-1 ATS at home and 11-3 when favored by 1-4 points) have some strong numbers backing them up.

However, I'm not so sure I'm buying into all that, for several reasons. One, it's been difficult for even the most ardent Eagles observers to get a great feel for this Eagles team and so it's even more difficult for more casual observers, and I think that is coloring some of the narrative around this game. People don't know what to make of the Eagles and so they are siding with the home team in a close game. Two, while the Vikings defense is very good, it has played against some anemic offenses (Raiders, Bears, Giants). That's not to say I think the Eagles will light up a very good unit, just that I think some of their numbers are inflated by a small sample size in which 60% of their games were against offenses that don't scare anybody.

Finally, with all indications pointing to a close game, I don't think it's ever a bad idea to take the points. No one would be surprised if the Eagles won outright, and the game could very well be decided by a field goal or less. In games like that, it's always nice to be adding a few points to your side.

With all that considered, we're taking the Eagles with the three points.

The Pick: Eagles +3 and Under 44

Season record: 4-6


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