Thursday, December 5, 2013

Detroit Lions vs Philadelphia Eagles: DET +3 (-125) (Bovada)

Market Watch

Last week the LVH had the Eagles as -3 point favorites. It reopened at the same number after Week 13 action, but we've seen early support for the Lions.

The current line sits at -2.5, but some books are offering it at +100 money, which allows us to buy the +3 for some added juice (Pinnacle).  Square shops like Bovada always shade towards the favorite, so they are offering +3 at -125.

I know I sound like a broken record, but having multiple books is a must because it gives us the option to grab the best number. If +3 isn't an option for you, I'd still go ahead with +2.5, or take the safer option and put them in a teaser.

Either way, any points that we get with the Lions is value because if I was setting this line, I would have it as a 'pick em'.

Bottom Line

There is no question that the Eagles we see today are not the Eagles that we saw in September. The defense has quietly turned things around. They boast a very underrated pass rush up front and continue to trend upwards with their red zone defense. Philly have also found a QB in Nick Foles. He's on an incredible run with 19 touchdowns on the season, with no interceptions. And all this while having one of the elite running backs in the game, LeSean McCoy.

Yet, despite all these positives, the Detroit Lions are a team that match up very well with Philly. Stafford is having a really good season and he's getting good protection from a revamped offensive line. As long as Bush and Johnson are healthy, defenses will be forced to pick their poison. Even if Bush can't go, Joique Bell has looked great when he's been on the field. They also have guys like Burleson and Pettigrew who can take advantage of the single coverage that Bush/Johnson provide.

Defensively, the Lions are one of the best teams in the NFL at limiting a running game. Their defensive line doesn't have the sack numbers to reflect their talent, but they still manage a great deal of pressure and they have quality depth to boot.

But perhaps the most impressive aspect of this Lions teams is their play in the "make-or-break" moments over the past few games. They are near the top of the NFL in third down/red zone efficiency, both offensively and defensively, and they continue to trend up in all four categories. Conversely, the Eagles have done poor in these areas over recent weeks, despite their wins.

The Eagles might continue to surprise, but I think the Lions are better team and I'm not convinced the Eagles have solved their home field struggles.  I like Detroit to win this game straight up, so I'll be happy to take the extra points.

NFL Pick: DET +3.