In a sign of how far sports betting has come in North America, the spread on this week’s NFL showdown game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles became part of the storyline this week.
CBS Sports reported that Philadelphia is the first team in league history in at least the last 53 years to have a 10-1 record or better, a healthy starting quarterback and to be posted as an underdog in a home game. In fact, reporters asked 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan about the fact his team is favoured going into Lincoln Financial Field for Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. ET game.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I don’t really know how that stuff works,” Shanahan said. “I don’t really know why. It is random.”
Bet on 49ers vs. Eagles
Well, not exactly random, but certainly interesting. The fact the 49ers are favoured reflects just how well they have played since a midseason three-game losing streak. The 49ers blew out the division-rally Seattle Seahawks by 18, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by 13 and the Jacksonville Jaguars by 31 in their last three games.
Meanwhile, the Eagles eked by the Buffalo Bills in overtime, beat the Kansas City Chiefs by four and the Dallas Cowboys by five.
Then again, the Eagles won the last time these two teams met, thumping San Francisco 31-7 in last year’s NFC Championship game to reach their first Super Bowl since 2018. The 49ers lost starting quarterback Brock Purdy six snaps into that game and then backup Josh Johnson also went down with an injury, forcing Purdy – who could barely throw – back into the game.
49ers vs. Eagles odds
|49ers Moneyline Odds
|Eagles Moneyline Odds
|49ers -3 (-110)
|46.5 points (over -110, under -110)
|Dec. 3, 4:25 p.m. ET
About the 49ers (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS, 5-5-1 o/u)
This is a big game for both teams, but it’s bigger for San Francisco since it might represent their last chance at wresting the No. 1 seed in the NFC away from Philadelphia. The big difference between Sunday’s game and the NFC Championship game is that Purdy’s left elbow is surgically repaired and working just fine. He has thrown for 2,871 yards and 19 touchdowns. He trails only Dak Prescott in Total QB Rating.
The 49ers have made a habit of jumping out early, having scored on their opening drive in eight of their 11 games. Seven of those were touchdowns and one was a field goal, giving them a league-high 52 points in their opening drives.
The 49ers will be focused on protecting Purdy in this game considering it was a hit from Haason Reddick that injured him in the first place. That’s a tall task against a pass rush this good, but left tackle Trent Williams and tight end George Kittle are among the better edge blockers in the NFL.
The 49ers defence, which poached defencive tackle Javan Hargrave from Philly after last season, has generated nine turnovers in just the last four games, four of those fumbles. That could align well with a Philadelphia offence that has looked, at times, a bit careless with the ball in recent games. Quarterback Jalen Hurts alone has fumbled five times in his last five games, three of them resulting in turnovers.
About the Eagles (10-1 SU, 6-2-3 ATS, 6-5 o/u)
The Eagles have lived dangerously lately, falling behind at halftime in their last four games, and many bettors seem to think that could prove untenable against a San Francisco defence that has allowed an average of 10 points in its last three games. But Philadelphia has a pretty good retort to that argument: it won all four of those games, two of them against elite teams and all four of them against elite offences.
Philadelphia will be looking to stay out of third-and-long situations given the fact San Francisco, too, has one of the most ferocious pass rushes in the NFL. Hurts is a master at scrambling for first downs, but he and the Philly offence are even more adept at scoring from within inches of the goal line. The Eagles’ “Brotherly Shove,” play has netted eight 1-yard rushing touchdowns for Hurts.
Their biggest worry in this game is that Purdy will get in rhythm with his wide array of passing options, particularly receiver Deebo Samuel, who will be under the microscope in this game while being roundly booed in Philly following comments he made after that NFC Championship game.
The Eagles are stout against the run, but rank 29th against the pass.
The key matchup in this game figures to be in the trenches. Specifically, can an excellent Eagles offensive line handle those 49ers pass rushers. Since the midseason trade for edge rusher Chase Young, the 49ers have 15 sacks in their last three games and have forced eight takeaways.
The presence of Young has allowed Nick Bossa to operate with fewer double teams and he has responded with five sacks and 28 QB pressures over those last three games.
Philly tackles Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata will have their hands full and the Eagles might have to keep in tight end Dallas Goedert to block more than he normally would, assuming Goedert is healthy enough to play. This Philly unit, led by all-time great center Jason Kelce, takes pride in being among the best in the game, but it will have a unique test on Sunday.
DeVonta Smith over 58.5 receiving yards
The 49ers will be without S Talanoa Hufanga (knee) but have just three players questionable for this game: DE Arik Armstead (foot), WR Ray-Ray McCloud III (ribs) and RB Jordan Mason (hamstring).
The Eagles’ injury list is slightly more extensive, with S Justin Evans (knee) on injured reserve and LB Zach Cunningham (hamstring) ruled out, while Goedert (forearm) is listed as doubtful. DT Fletcher Cox and TE Grant Calcaterra (ankle) are listed as questionable.
Forecasts are calling for light rain much of the day in Philadelphia, with temperatures of about 9 C at kickoff and winds out of the northeast at about 16 km/h.
- The line in many places opened as Eagles -2.5, but the money came in steadily all week on the 49ers, causing this line to be among the biggest movers of the week.
- The over-under didn’t budge nearly as much, opening at 46.5 and moving up just 1.5 points.
- The average score in 49ers games this season has been 43.0 while it has been 46.2 in Eagles games. Both numbers are well under the 48 total set in this one.
Player prop trends
- Samuel didn’t just say that the Eagles were his “most hated,” opponent last January, he singled out Eagles cornerback James Bradberry, calling him, “trash.” Needless to say, that will shine a spotlight on Samuel this week. His receiving yards total is set at 49.5 (at -110).
- Hurts has had three straight games completing fewer than the 21.5 pass completions he is pegged with here (at -120).
- DeVonta Smith has had 99 or more receiving yards in three of his last four games, including two in a row, picking up some of the targets that would have gone to Goedert. His total is set at a tempting 58.5 yards (-110) in this one.
Wagers to consider
- The smart money typically moves lines. So, while it’s painful to give points to such a good team playing at home – and Philly no doubt will be motivated by the lack of respect this line implies – the 49ers appear to be the play here. They are playing at their highest level of the season while some cracks have begun to emerge even as the Eagles have managed to survive with wins in their recent games.
- Philly might keep the ball on the ground more than normal given the talent the 49ers bring on the edges, so consider playing under 48, a play that might get a little help from slippery conditions.