Eagles vs. 49ers Odds & Pick: Philly Primed To Cover Sunday Night Football Spread
Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Shanahan, Carson Wentz
Eagles vs. 49ers Odds
One of these teams is playing with a backup quarterback, but you wouldn’t know it was the 2-1 49ers and not the winless Eagles. Will the 49ers continue to weather the injury storm, or will Carson Wentz finally be able to get back on track?
With the spread finally budging to +7.5, the value is on Philly. Let’s take a closer look.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers come back home off a two-game road trip in which they made a mockery of New York football, thrashing the Giants and Jets by a combined 67-22 score. As a result, the public has been hammering the 49ers, with more than 90% of the dollars going their way as of early Sunday (find real-time public betting data here).
The 49ers are one of the most well-coached teams in the league with Kyle Shanahan, but their extensive list of injuries and what looks like exceedingly weak strength of opponent in their two victories make them tough to gauge.
The primary challenge the Eagles present that the Jets and Giants didn’t is a formidable interior defensive line, led by Fletcher Cox. The 49ers’ offensive line lacks size on the interior and struggles to maintain blocks, ranking 26th in ESPN’s pass block win rate and 31st in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards.
To combat that, Kyle Shanahan will likely use the quick passing game and his signature motions and misdirections.
Neutralizing the Eagles’ defensive line via scheme will be critical for Shanahan, because the 49ers are still starting backup quarterback Nick Mullens in place of Jimmy Garoppolo, and Mullens never leaves the pocket (he has -21 career rushing yards on 27 carries that are mostly kneel-downs).
The return of tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel will give the 49ers a huge boost in all facets for a skill group that’s still down its top two running backs in Raheem Mostert (knee) and Tevin Coleman (knee) as well as leading receiver Jordan Reed (knee). Look for Shanahan to scheme up mismatches in the pass game for Kittle, Samuel, rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and running back Jerick McKinnon against an Eagles defense that ranks 30th in DVOA on short passes.
Mullens should be expected to make some big plays and some mistakes: In 11 career starts, he’s led three 30-point efforts, but also had three multi-interception games and five in which he’s taken three-plus sacks.
The Eagles are banged up at pass-catcher: Blossoming tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle) and explosive rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) were placed on IR, while DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Alshon Jeffery (foot) continue to pile up missed games. Left tackle Jason Peters (toe) was also placed on IR.
These injuries won’t hurt the Eagles as much as they could have vs. a short-handed 49ers defense that’s missing linemen Nick Bosa (ACL), Solomon Thomas (ACL) and Dee Ford (back) as well as linebacker Dre Greenlaw (quad) and cornerbacks Emmanuel Moseley (concussion), Richard Sherman (calf) and Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring).
What can hurt the Eagles is Carson Wentz — or whoever has been playing quarterback for the Eagles pretending to be Carson Wentz. Through three games, Wentz has three touchdowns to six interceptions. He also has three fumbles and is averaging 5.6 yards per pass attempt.
Head coach Doug Pederson has suggested he’ll use a higher tempo to jump-start Wentz and an offense that’s been the league’s worst by DVOA on first down.
Despite missing their entire receiver depth chart, the Eagles offense does have some top-end talent in Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders — and, once upon a time, Wentz — so we should expect some success if they can limit the mistakes that have led to a league-worst -7 turnover differential.
On the Week 4 edition of our Action Network Podcast, the Eagles were one of my picks — though that was before additional players were ruled out. I still have this line lower than the market, as the math says we should expect the Eagles’ turnover luck to regress and the 49ers’ impressive showings came against maybe the two worst teams in the league.
Shanahan always gives the 49ers an edge, but as Matthew Freedman pointed out in his early trends piece, Shanahan’s teams typically struggle to beat the number in this spot, producing 3-9-1 record against the spread as a home favorite under his watch.
The 49ers tend to be overvalued at home when they covered the previous week, producing a 2-8 ATS mark under Shanahan according to our Bet Labs data.
With books finally moving off the key number of 7, the Eagles are worth a fade-the-public value play at +7.5 or better.
If you’re (understandably) skittish about backing the Eagles in this state, consider betting the total over 44.5. Our consensus line puts the total at 47.4, and there are multiple paths to the over: Shanahan’s offensive scheming, the return of Kittle and Samuel, both teams’ defensive injuries, the Eagles’ offensives regression toward the mean, and the high-variance play of Mullens (and now Wentz).
Historically, the market tends to undervalue Eagles totals on the road: Per our Bet Labs data, Eagles’ road overs have gone 21-8 with Wentz as the starter, including 7-2 since the start of last season.
I wouldn’t bet the over at anything higher than 45 (-120).
PICKS: Eagles +7.5; Over 44.5