Sunday Night Football Betting: Can Philly Continue Their Recent Success Against the Spread as Home Favorites?
While Thursday Night Football is basically like kissing your sister each week, Sunday Night Football has given us some gems -- and this week appears to be no exception.
Two of the league's best teams take the field tonight. Our nERD-based rankings have the both the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles inside the top six of our rankings, with Philly slotting in fourth and Dallas at sixth.
Let's see if we can unlock some interesting betting angles.
Game Preview and Key Matchups
Quarterback play could be the deciding factor in a win or a loss tonight, and if that position is any indicator, the Eagles will have a decided edge on Sunday night.
In terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, 35 passers this season have tossed the pigskin 50 times or more. Jalen Hurts has been highly efficient as a passer, logging a 0.22 Passing NEP per mark so far this season. With Dak Prescott out injured, Cooper Rush has tried to fill in for the superstar, but he has struggled to the tune of a 0.05 Passing NEP per pass mark. Of course, this ignores the fact that Hurts is one of the best running quarterbacks in all of football, while Rush is a traditional drop back pocket passer.
Interestingly, the game will feature three highly efficient runners. Tony Pollard is the most efficient running back of the group, posting a mark of 0.14 Rushing NEP per rush on the season. However, he's clearly the second in line behind Ezekiel Elliott -- looking at last week's carry marks, Pollard ran the ball only 8 times (for 86 yards and a score), while Elliott toted the rock 22 times for 78 yards.
Miles Sanders (0.11 Rushing NEP per carry) has been a very strong runner for the Eagles, too. He will need to be on top of his game if they are going to try and knock off this stout Cowboy defense.
Defensively, both teams are showing out. Dallas ranks third overall by our numbers, and second against the pass, and Philadelphia ranks ninth overall and fourth against the pass. Both teams are in the bottom third of the league against the run.
Bets to Consider
The Eagles are pretty hefty favorites, with a 6-5point edge coming into this tilt. Our model also thinks this will be a Philadelphia win, but our projections give an edge to a Dallas cover, projecting a 26.6-21.4 win for the home team.
We have a stronger lean on the over, even with these two teams featuring very strong pass defenses. We project a total of 48.0 points to be scored, and we think the over cashes 66% of the time.
Comparing player prop lines to our projections, one bet I love -- and our numbers do, too -- is the over on Sanders's rushing yards at a line of 63.5 yards (-110).
As we mentioned, there's so many positive to like here. Assuming a positive game script for Sanders, the work load (and he is a sole bellcow in this offense) should be available to let Sanders rip. While Hurts certainly will get his carries, Sanders has rushed the ball 15 or more times in each of the last four games, including a 27-carry, 134-yard effort in Week 4.
History is on our side with this bet, too. In Week One, Leonard Fournette gashed the 'Boys for 127 yards on the ground, and in Week 3, Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones combined for 160 rushing yards. If the Eagles get an early lead, expect a nice day for Sanders.
Historic Betting Trends
-- Dallas has owned this series as of late -- they have won 7 of the last 9 against the Eagles.
-- Prime time has been good to America's Team. They are 7-1 ATS in this spot.
-- Interestingly, the Eagles have showed up well as a home favorite, posting a 7-0-1 ATS mark in their last 8 games.