There isn’t a team that needs a win this week as badly as San Francisco does. They came into the season with nearly universal expectations of winning their division, yet they have not yet won a game, they have already fired their offensive coordinator, and they have just generally looked lousy. If they get a win here and a bit of luck to go with it then they can still be in the hunt for a playoff spot out of their division. A loss, though, probably puts the last nail - or close to it - in their coffin. It’s rough when your season ends in October, so they need this win.
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Lucky for them they are playing at home against a team that is certainly vulnerable. Their surprise star QB is out of action, leaving a starter who hasn’t been nearly as impressive as expected. The offensive line is suspect and RB LeSean McCoy isn’t healthy. It wouldn’t be an upset if the Eagles were to lose this one - especially not if they play with the same absence of emotion and execution that plagued them last week. That game was at home against their former QB, so if they couldn’t get up for that one then the problems might be deeper than they seem.
More than anything this will be a test of how good the Niners actually are. They should be good - they are a very tough, physical team with a talented defense, and their offense has all sorts of potential. Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree are rugged ball magnets, and Frank Gore is a big-time back. The Eagles are 27th in the league in run defense, so Gore could be poised to have a big day and that could free up Alex Smith and the rest of the offense to perform as well. If the Niners can get some momentum - and if they can control the turnovers that have tortured them all year - then they should be able to come out on top. If the Eagles can keep them unbalanced, though, then the losing could continue.
Eagles vs. 49ers Preview: Betting Odds and Line Movement
The line has been stable. It opened at the key number of three - the standard home field advantage in the league, and is still available there or at 3.5 in some places. The Niners have drawn more than 60 percent of bets, so 3.5 is likely to become widespread. The total has shown little vulnerability as well - it opened at 39 and is now appearing solid at 38.
Eagles vs. 49ers Betting Trends
The ‘under’ is 6-1-1 in San Francisco’s last eight games against the NFC, and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games overall. Philadelphia prefers the ‘over’ - 21 of their last 28 games in which they have been an underdog have gone ‘over’.
The Eagles are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games as a road underdog. They are 0-5 ATS in their last five against the NFC.
San Francisco is 4-0-1 ATS in their last five homes games, but just 1-3-1 ATS in their last five as favorite.
The Niners covered their last game. They are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games following a game they covered.
Eagles vs. 49ers NFL Picks and Predictions
I believed strongly in this San Francisco team coming into this season. I am not yet ready to give up on them - though that might change if they don’t impress here. The coaching situation in San Francisco is obviously far from ideal, but even Mike Singletary should be able to get this team prepared and motivated here - at home against a higher-profile team that can be beat. San Francisco matches up well on the ground, Philadelphia has some secondary vulnerability that Davis should be able to exploit, and San Francisco’s front seven will be able to get to - and rattle - a young quarterback. San Francisco has the edge on fundamentals.
More significantly, the Niners have their backs against the wall, and I think that this team is tough enough to stand up to that challenge and shine - finally. The biggest single issue San Francisco has had this year has been turnovers - they have a minus-6 turnover differential. That’s a very significant concern, but it’s an easier one to deal with than if the problems were more underlying.
San Francisco will win the game. I really like them at 3.0, and that line is far more attractive than 3.5, so if you can get that you definitely should.
The total leans towards the ‘under’ in my mind. Neither of these offenses are certain to perform, and both teams are doing better without the ball than with it right now, so there is a better chance of a low scoring game than a high scoring one.
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