Written By Billy Attridge
After another Covid-19 induced hiatus caused too many unknowns last week, I break down two games for our NFL Week 13 Market Moves column. Starting in the NFC South, let’s discuss why Atlanta’s received early support against New Orleans as they meet for the second time in three weeks. Philadelphia heads to Lambeau field for the second time in two seasons; last year the Eagles went into Green Bay and won outright as 4.5-point underdogs on a short week. Is there a chance Philly can shock the Packers again? The goal is to find out what, but more importantly, WHY prices have moved. This is not a “picks piece” but rather a look into the logic behind moves in the market and where games will likely head. As a weekly tradition, I fast forward to NFL Week 14 look ahead lines from FanDuel Sportsbook. You can Place All Your Bets at Fanduel.com/BetTheBoard and start off with a Risk Free $1,000!
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons +3 (-114):
For the second time in three weeks, New Orleans and Atlanta square off for a division game with NFC playoff implications. The Saints are clinging to a 1-game lead over Seattle for the #1 seed, while Atlanta tries to make a final push for a wild card birth. Let’s dig in! FanDuel opened the Saints 3-point favorites before early money showed up in support of New Orleans, pushing the line as high as 3.5 before sharp Atlanta money hit the market. Dummy? Perhaps. As of Friday morning we’re looking at New Orleans a soft 3-point favorite with the line trending below the key number. It’s important to note back in Week 11, Atlanta closed +3.5 (-120) against this same Saints squad in New Orleans, a game in which the Falcons were without Julio Jones. After Thursday’s practice where both Todd Gurley and Julio did not participate, we’ll have to keep an eye on their availability for Sunday. The quick turn-around is important here, as there is a strong trend that favors the losing team when clubs face each other for the second time within 3 weeks, and when we think about why that could be, it makes sense. The losing team (Atlanta, in this case) has the ability and is more likely to make adjustments based off their losing effort and scheme employed for game #1. This is especially pertinent here, seeing as this was the NFL’s first look at the Taysom Hill-led Saints offense, which features more of a power running game behind one of the leagues best offensive lines. However, if there is one part of the Falcons defense that has been good all season, it’s their run defense. Atlanta is 6th in the NFL in defensive rush efficiency despite facing an above average schedule of run offenses. Atlanta is also #2 in run-stop win-rate, signaling a defensive line that beats its blocks within 2.5 seconds at the second highest rate in the league. Quietly, Raheem Morris has also improved the Falcons pass defense. From Weeks 1 through 5 with Dan Quinn, Atlanta was 30th in EPA allowed per quarterback drop back. Since Quinn was fired, Atlanta has improved to 9th in EPA per drop back Weeks 6 through 12. Don’t get me wrong, New Orleans has proven to be one of the deepest, most talented, and resilient teams in football. Many professional bettors have only the Kansas City Chiefs power rated above a healthy Saints squad, but this is a less than ideal spot for New Orleans. Unless there’s a slew of injury downgrades for Atlanta, expect this number to come off the 3 everywhere.
Philadelphia Eagles +9 (-110) @ Green Bay Packers:
Saying I’m not thrilled to be writing about the Eagles possibly having value this week might be the understatement of the year, but it is 2020. We saw this number open anywhere from Green Bay -7 to Green Bay -9. Early money did show for the Packers, as a few spots touched double digits. To say Eagles +10 didn’t last long, wouldn’t be doing justice to how quickly that number disappeared. Quite literally, the Eagles +10 lasted for all of 30 seconds Tuesday morning. Is there a team right now with lower perception in the public’s eye than Philadelphia? The offense looks anemic week after week, as the offensive line struggles to protect Carson Wentz. Doug Pederson hasn’t shown the creativity we’ve grown accustomed to, Wentz lacks confidence, and Miles Sanders hasn’t been the most consistent. The good news for Philadelphia is they are facing a Packers defensive front that has gone against the 13th easiest schedule of run offenses, yet is only 24th in defensive rush efficiency, so the formula for moving the ball here is on the ground. This is one area where the Eagles have had some success, ranking 9th in both offensive rush success rate and explosive rush offense. Last year Philadelphia utilized a very run heavy game-plan in Lambeau and came away with a 34-27 victory, rushing for 5.3 yards per carry. Additionally, there’s a chance Carson Wentz has one of his favorite targets in tight end Zach Ertz who has been chomping at the bit to return. That would allow Philadelphia to get back to using more of their heavy sets, which Green Bay is horrific defending. If Wentz can get the ball out quick and accurately, the middle of the field should be open. On the other side of the ball, Green Bay will be without center Corey Linsley, the highest rated center in the NFL through 12 weeks. Despite the potential loss of defensive tackle Fletcher Cox for Philadelphia (and it is a big loss), this is deepest unit on the team ranking Top 6 in adjusted line yards, adjusted sack rate, pass-rush win rate, and run-stop win rate. We know the key to Aaron Rodgers fantastic year has been the excellent play of Green Bay’s offensive line, but they will be tested here. On Sunday night, Chicago closed +7 at some of the sharpest books in the world. Philadelphia can do what Chicago struggles with on offense, and that’s run the football and use heavy formations.
Los Angles Rams -6.5 vs New England (TNF)
Green Bay -7.5 at Detroit
Tennessee -9.5 at Jacksonville
Dallas -3 at Cincinnati
Arizona -3 at New York Giants
Houston -1.5 at Chicago
Carolina -4 vs Denver
Tampa Bay -6 vs Minnesota
Kansas City -7.5 at Miami
Indianapolis -2 at Las Vegas
Seattle -14.5 vs New York Jets
Las Angeles Chargers -1 vs Atlanta
New Orleans -6.5 at Philadelphia
San Francisco -4 vs Washington
Pittsburgh -2.5 at Buffalo (SNF)
Baltimore -2.5 at Cleveland (MNF)