Free NFL Preseason Picks for Thursday Night Action
by CarbonSports - 8/21/2014
Line: Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia (-3.5); Total set at 50
We've finally reached Week 3 of the NFL preseason and that means it's dress rehearsal time for these teams. Starting lineups will see the first half of action at minimum and we can get a better grasp on what to expect from all 32 NFL teams when the real games actually get going. This is still preseason though and results don't always matter to these teams, but with the Eagles yet to win so far in August, odds makers expect that to change tonight.
Philadelphia comes into this game as 3.5-point favorites over their instate rival who are 1-1 SU and ATS so far this preseason. The Steelers got some distressing news yesterday though as their top two RB's Le'Veon Bell and LaGarrette Blount were arrested on possession of marijuana and mistakes like that aren't taken lightly by the NFL. Chances are any possible suspensions won't occur until the regular season arrives although some in-house discipline could be in order. Those two guys will be critical to Pittsburgh's success this year and to make a bonehead decision like they did can't sit well with head coach Mike Tomlin.
Playing porous defense like the Eagles have in their first two preseason games can't sit well with their head coach Chip Kelly as it looks as though he's brought the mentality he had while coaching Oregon into the pros. Kelly's offenses at both stops have been explosive and able to put up points seemingly at will (28 and 35 points in the two preseason games so far) but the talent level is too high in the NFL for Kelly to win games 42-35 on a regular basis like he did with the Ducks. He's been hard on his defensive staff all week looking for a drastic improvement during this dress rehearsal game and I think we see that Philly defense show some bite tonight.
Historically the Eagles are on a 4-0 ATS run during Week 3 of the preseason the past four years and that bodes well for them tonight. That brutal defensive play has also got many early bettors believing that the Eagles will get lit up again tonight with about 65% of the bets coming in on Pittsburgh already. With that kind of action I'd typically expect to see that pesky hook come off that -3.5 number driving it down to 3. That hasn't happened yet which signals to me the odds makers aren't opposed to taking a position with the home favorite. I never have a problem being in the minority when making football plays and Philly's history and Pittsburgh's current RB situation has me liking the Eagles even more.
Like I said, Philly will be able to score on almost everyone this year and they'll be hungry to do so against the Steelers tonight. Pittsburgh has a 4-0 O/U record in Week 3 of the preseason the last four years which is another good sign for the Eagles offense. As long as Philly's defense can step up and play a half-decent game in what is likely their final significant action before September arrives, the Eagles should be able to run away with this thing and win by at least a TD.
Take Philadelphia -3.5.
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