Eagles vs. Bucs Odds, Picks, Predictions: How Our Analyst Is Betting Sunday’s Wild Card Spread In NFL Playoffs
Getty Images. Pictured: Bucs QB Tom Brady and Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (left to right)
- Can you really trust the Eagles to cover against the Bucs when the two meet on Wild Card Sunday of the NFL playoffs?
- Our analyst thinks so -- or at least thinks it's worth betting on at the right price.
- Find his picks and predictions based on Eagles-Bucs odds below.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The 9-8 Philadelphia Eagles snuck into the playoffs at the last minute, only to be rewarded with a matchup against the 13-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Philadelphia is the biggest underdog on the NFC side of the bracket, with the spread holding steady at 8.5 points across most books from the open.
Tampa is clearly the better team, ranking well ahead of the Eagles on both offense and defense by DVOA. However, the Eagles are one of the healthiest teams heading into the playoffs (thanks to some clever gaming of the new COVID rules).
Tampa, on the other hand, will be without Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, two key factors to their top-ranking offense, per DVOA. Leonard Fournette will also be inactive.
Will Tampa’s offense be able to prevail anyway? Let’s check out the numbers.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Eagles vs. Bucs Injury Report
We’re tracking practice participation and statuses of every player on the Eagles’ and Bucs’ injury reports here.
Eagles vs. Bucs Matchup
|Eagles Offense||DVOA Rank||Bucs Defense|
|Eagles Defense||DVOA Rank||Bucs Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Eagles, Hurts’ Run Game Key To Game
Philadelphia’s offensive game plan will be interesting in this one. No team runs the ball at a higher rate than the Eagles. On the other hand, no team faces a higher pass-play rate than the Bucs.
The Eagles don’t just run the ball often, they run the ball well. They rank third in rushing DVOA, thanks largely to the dual-threat ability of Jalen Hurts. Of course, they’re also an above-average passing team by DVOA (which is calculated on a per-play basis, not overall).
These teams faced off earlier in the season in Week 6, with Hurts attempting just 26 passes. However, the Eagles have shifted even more to the run since then, so I’m anticipating they keep it on the ground as long as possible.
Early reports forecast heavy rain and wind speeds in the mid-teens. Tampa’s formerly-vaunted run defense ranks 12th in DVOA this year, so I expect the Eagles to find success.
Defense has been the issue for Philadelphia this year. It ranks 25th in overall DVOA and has fared worse against the pass. Between the Bucs’ limitations at receiver and the weather, that should be less of an issue this week. Stopping the run will be the key to the game for Philadelphia’s defense.
Buccaneers In Tough Spot Without WR Depth
The Buccaneers and Eagles are polar opposites offensively. The Bucs pass the ball at the second-highest situation neutral rate in the league. Where Philadelphia has an above-average pass DVOA thanks to teams focusing on stopping their run game, Tampa ranks fourth in rushing DVOA but just 26th in rushing yards per game.
Normally, that’s the superior way to build an NFL team these days. However, it might be an issue this week. Tampa’s offense missing two of its top three receivers hurts, as does the tough environment.
Fortunately, the Buccaneers should be able to move the ball on the ground against the Eagles. Their offensive line ranks fourth in adjusted line yards, and Philly’s defensive line ranks 18th. That means even with Fournette on the sidelines, they can create holes for whoever carries the rock.
Tampa’s defense should hold up just fine against the Eagles passing attack, but the run game will be interesting. Hurts ran for two touchdowns last time against Tampa, and should have lanes against the Bucs’ blitz-heavy defense (38.5%, first in the league).
Eagles vs. Bucs Predictions
The Eagles are the healthier team headed into this one, and also have the superior rushing attack. That latter factor will be of extra importance if this game turns out to be as wet and windy as expected. Slippery conditions clearly favor the team more comfortable running the ball.
While that makes the under appealing, I prefer the Eagles to cover the spread here. They should be able to keep things within a score, so the 8.5-point spread is a strong value. Some books have this line at +9.5 as well, which would be even better, so be sure to keep an eye on our NFL Odds page to get the best line.
Pick: Eagles +8.5 | Bet to: +7.5
|More Eagles-Bucs Odds, Picks, Trends|