Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 9:15 AM EST odds are subject to change.
Philadelphia -8 over N.Y. Giants
8:15 PM EST. Even those wise guys eating cheesesteaks at Geno’s and Pat’s know their football and realize that being the best team in the league into December doesn’t always count for much. The Eagles were not the same Eagles down the stretch as they were most of the way in 2022, when the Birds stayed unbeaten into mid-November and were an NFL-best 13-1 in mid-December before limping across the finish line to barely hang on to the NFC top seed and first-round bye. Meanwhile, the Giants gave the market a pretty good look last week when they went into Minnesota and scored on most of their drives in a 31-24 victory. Recency bias points the Giants way. So does that hook on a key number like 7 (game was -7½ all week). Both recency bias and the hook are enticing but we’re urging you not to bite.
The Eagles come off their first-round bye with a healthier Jaylen Hurts and bring the highest-scoring offense in the NFC. The Giants sat many starters in the Week 18 loss and cover vs Philadelphia but the Eagles dominated in Week 14 in New York while the Giants had all their starters on the field but they couldn't stop any facet of the Philly offense. The Giants were flawless last week in Minnesota but won't be facing the worst defense in the NFL this week.
If the Eagles are healthy on offense, they're likely to bulldoze the Giants off the field. Really, it's that simple. It's not just that they're much better than New York, though they certainly are—despite their late-season slide, they finished sixth in weighted DVOA, while the Giants defense ranked 29th—but this is an especially bad matchup because Philadelphia's strengths are perfectly suited to attack the Giants where they are weakest.
The Eagles were by far the NFL's best rushing offense (the second-place Ravens were closer to the seventh-place Giants than they were to Philadelphia), while the Giants finished dead last in run defense. Specifically, the Eagles excelled at reeling off 10-yard runs, ranking second in second-level yards; the Giants defense ranked 29th in that same category. Philadelphia was most effective running right up the middle, ranking fourth in adjusted line yards between the tackles; the New York defense ranked next to last stopping those runs.
There is no question that Jalen Hurts’ bum wing might be an issue and we would be remiss if we didn’t mention it. He suffered a sprained shoulder in Week 15 against Chicago, and though he finished that game, he missed the next two entirely. With Philadelphia needing a Week 18 win to clinch home-field advantage and a first-round bye, he played through the pain and returned for the season finale against the Giants. The Eagles got the win they needed, but Hurts' -35.5% passing DVOA was his worst of the year, and it came against a New York team that was resting most of its starters. (That was part of a prolonged slump for Hurts, who had negative passing DVOA in five of his last six games but we’re not going to speculate on whether he’s 100% or 50%. Only Jalen Hurts knows for sure but assuming everyone is healthy, Philadelphia should destroy this team.
This has been a tremendous season for the New York Giants. Many experts predicted them to get the first overall draft pick but here they are in the divisional round of the playoffs for the first time since they won the Super Bowl in 2011. Full credit to them for overachieving, but overachieving seasons usually end in brutal fashion in the postseason. If the Giants can run effectively, convert third downs, and trade touchdowns for field goals, they can pull off an upset but we’re not here to make a prediction. We’re here to figure out where the value lies so let’s close with that.
Recency bias goes to the New York Giants. The hook that oddsmakers hung on the Giants after an impressive win last week is enticing. In Week 18, the talking heads will suggest that Philadelphia needed that game and were not impressive against New York’s backups. Meanwhile, we’ll suggest that the Eagles couldn’t have cared less last week after they built a 19-0 lead and then saw Dallas was getting whacked by Washington, thus clinching the division long before their game was over. Philadelphia took its foot off the gas otherwise they may have won 38-0. Finally, The Giants have covered five in a row and seven of their last eight while the Eagles have failed to cover in four straight games. That, too, influences the market into betting the Giants. Frankly, you would be hard pressed to find a box that the Eagles do not check here, as New York’s stock is through the roof while Philadelphia’s is sinking fast. Add in the hook, recency bias, Jalen Hurts’ injury, New York’s impressive win last week and it’s easy to make a case for the Giants. That has us heavily favoring the Eagles because all of those factors make Philadelphia the underpriced commodity here.
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Philadelphia -8 -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)