Both the Ravens & Eagles were able to win their first preseason games, but there will be a loser this weekend in the City of Brotherly Love. Let's examine the NFL betting lines for Saturday's matchup.
We don't see many big spreads during the NFL preseason, but the Eagles are one of the biggest favorites of the week here, as they're laying four points at most of the top sportsbooks.
There's also a pretty high total on the NFL odds board, with the O/U at 44.5 points at time of this writing. We all know that Philadelphia has no issues with getting into shootouts, which would explain the high number for a preseason matchup.
The Eagles opened up their preseason campaign emphatically, crushing the Colts 36-10 at home.
Starter Sam Bradford sat out, which meant the reps were split between backup Mark Sanchez, along with Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow. Barkley saw the most time, but it was Tebow that stole the show with a rushing touchdown when he came on late in the game. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia defense had little trouble stopping Indianapolis once Andrew Luck and the other starters left the game, holding the Colts to 281 total yards.
Even better news heading into the second preseason matchup is that Bradford looks likely to take the field for the first time. After being traded from St. Louis, Bradford has immediately become the new starting QB for what should once again be one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL. There's also a chance another new arrival, DeMarco Murray, could see his first taste of live game action too, which would be another great sight for Eagles fans. Be sure to track the latest updates on who will start and who will sit leading up until kickoff in order to give yourself the biggest edge.
Whereas the Eagles had little trouble in their first preseason game, the Ravens had to work a little harder for their win. They escaped with a 30-27 victory over the Saints at home. Baltimore totaled 360 yards of offense, with New Orleans posting a tad more (366) despite them losing.
Joe Flacco didn't see much of the field, which wasn't surprising at all, but he looked comfortable in leading the offense. Backup Matt Schaub got most of the workload under center and showed some good things (134 yards, one touchdown, one interception), while Lorenzo Taliaferro led all backs with 36 yards (on 11 carries) and a rushing score.
We can expect to see more of Flacco, Justin Forsett and Steve Smith Jr. this weekend, although rookie wideout Breshad Perriman is still dealing with an injury and could miss the entire preseason.
We expect the Eagles to be the popular pick, especially because of the circus surrounding Tim Tebow, but ultimately we like the idea of getting a four-point cushion to work with, and it's not like Baltimore is weak or anything. Quite the opposite.
As we get closer and closer to the start of the regular season, we'll see the starters get more and repetitions, meaning Flacco and company will see more of the field. We get that Philadelphia has a sexy offense and that they can put points up in a hurry, but the Ravens are a hard-nosed football team, and they've got plenty of offensive talent themselves. Like the Eagles, they've got a more than capable backup in Schaub, who's proven he can be effective in the league in the past, so we think they can hold up their end of the bargain scoring-wise.
Therefore, with our NFL picks, we're going to take the underdogs in this situation. We're picking Baltimore to show up with a good all-around performance on both sides of the ball, leading to the cover.
Pick: Baltimore Ravens +4 at 5Dimes