Where the Sharps Are Looking Early for Eagles-Patriots

David Schwab

Monday, January 22, 2018 6:32 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 6:32 PM UTC

The Patriots make an expected return trip to the Super Bowl as AFC champions to tangle with the upstart Eagles, who defied the oddsmakers twice as home underdogs to punch their ticket to Minneapolis out of the NFC for Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4.

New England is currently set as a 5-point favorite in this matchup with SBR Odds for Super Bowl LII vs. the Eagles, and the betting line for the total has been set at 48 points. The sharps have been eyeing up odds since they were first released Jan. 21 by sportsbooks, including BetOnline, in search of the early value during the two-week wait for kickoff.

New England came into the 2017 NFL season as the clear favorite to win its sixth Super Bowl title with Bill Belichick as the team’s head coach and Tom Brady at starting quarterback. The Patriots pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in sports history in last season’s Super Bowl to get past Atlanta 34-28 in overtime after trailing by 19 points heading into the fourth quarter.

In the Jan. 21 AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville, the Patriots fell behind by 10 points in the third quarter before hammering out a 24-20 win on a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. While they failed to cover as 7-point home favorites, they are still 12-6 ATS this season, including a highly profitable 10-2 run ATS over their last 12 games.

The Eagles earned the top seed in the NFC with a straight-up 13-3 run through the regular season, but very few football experts thought they would be in this game when Carson Wentz went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 14. Nick Foles took his place, and he did little to help instill any confidence in their chances with his play in those final three regular-season games.

After posting a solid effort in Philadelphia’s 15-10 grinder over Atlanta in the Divisional Round as a 2.5-point home underdog, Foles lit things up against Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game en route to the Eagles’ 38-7 romp as 3-point underdogs at home. Philly fans have to hope that he is saving his best performance for last in Super Bowl LII.

The early value in the betting lines from the major sportsbooks would have to lie with New England at a neutral site given everything this team has already accomplished on the NFL’s biggest stage. The opening line was released at 6 points and some possible early action on the Eagles as underdogs may have driven that number down to 5, but it would be hard to see it drop any further during the extended two weeks of betting action leading up to that scheduled 6:30 p.m. kickoff on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The total opened at 47 and it quickly jumped to 48 points. It is also hard to see this matchup turning into a low-scoring grinder even though each of these defenses have been rather stingy when it comes to points allowed this season. You know that Brady will be taking multiple shots down field against a Philadelphia secondary that has given up some big plays in the past. Foles has also shown the ability to air it out on occasion, and you would have to think that it could take 30 points to win this game in the perfect conditions of a domed stadium.

Tracking line movements is a crucial part of the handicapping process when it comes to winning your NFL picks, but the early lean from the sharps appears to be toward the favorite and the OVER to mirror the betting public.

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