Will Nick Foles Continue to Be a Smart Bet in NFL Postseason?
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles
- A majority of spread tickets are on backup Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles as 8-point underdogs against the New England Patriots on Sunday (1:05 p.m. ET, CBS).
- Using Bet Labs, we analyze how backup quarterbacks have performed in the NFL Playoffs.
The legend of Nick Foles continues to grow. Trailing by five points late in the fourth quarter, Foles led the defending champions on a 12-play, 60-yard drive against a defense ranked No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
On fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line, Foles hit Golden Tate for the game-winning score.
Dating back to last year’s playoffs, the defending Super Bowl MVP is now 4-0 straight up (SU) and 4-0 against the spread (ATS) in the postseason. A feat that is all the more impressive considering Foles is a backup.
Everyone’s definition of a backup varies. Dak Prescott, for example, was second on the depth chart to Tony Romo in 2016, but a Romo back injury forced the rookie quarterback into the lineup.
Prescott started all 16 regular season games. When the playoffs rolled around, nobody considered Dak a backup.
Last season, Foles started only three regular season games. Before going on a magical playoff run, most football fans would have said Foles was a backup. Despite winning the Super Bowl, Foles was once again Carson Wentz’s backup this season, starting only five games that Wentz was unable to due to health.
Chase Stuart of Football Perspective compiled a list of every backup quarterback, defined as having started five or fewer games, in NFL history who has led his team into the postseason.
I’ve edited the list to every quarterback since 1990 and pulled the SU and ATS results.
Not counting Foles, backup quarterbacks are 11-21 SU and 13-17-2 ATS in the playoffs since 1990, per Bet Labs. On average, these passers have been 3.5-point underdogs and lost by 5.8 points in the playoffs
Foles has bucked the trend. In his four playoff games as a backup he has been an underdog of 4.1 points on average, in line with the historical average, but he is undefeated and has won by 11.3 points per game.
If you believe Foles is a backup, history suggests his SU and ATS win percentages could regress in the playoffs.
Judging by the betting market, the public is feeling the Big Nick Energy and is not worried about Foles continuing to perform at a high level in the playoffs.