The Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers open Week Four National Football League action tonight at Lambeau Field. The Packers are favored, undefeated, and the public is betting them like they are a sure thing.
Aaron Rodgers at home in a prime time game, what could go wrong here?
The Eagles fly into Lambeau tonight off back-to-back losses following a come-from-behind opening weekend win over the Washington Redskins. That’s right, the Eagles had trouble at home against a Washington team that hasn’t won a game yet, and lost to both the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions. The defeat to Atlanta constitutes the Falcons only win of the year, and the defeat suffered last week against the Lions, was at Lincoln Financial Field.
Now, off a short week, this surprisingly weak Eagles team is forced on the road to play at one of the most difficult venues for a visiting team against an undefeated Packers squad. There is good reason why the public likes the home team tonight, and why the wise guys have caught wagers at the extremes in the point spread. The sharp players took the Packers when the game was first released with Green Bay favored by three points, and the Eagles when the number rose as high as five points.
Right now, the spread is sitting at four points, with a move to 3½ a distinct possibility before kickoff. The wise guys saw value giving only three with the Packers, or getting five with the Eagles, but right now they don’t see a viable side.
But there is the math equation that strongly favors the Eagles.
It goes like this, the Eagles are 1-2 and the Packers 3-0 coming in. Is a more likely scenario coming out of this week the Packers advancing to four wins against no losses and the Eagles stuck with a three game losing streak and three games behind Green Bay? Or, and this is where the math comes in, is the difference in talent between the Packers and Eagles more accurately reflected in Green Bay being one game better after four weeks instead of three?
If one is to focus on a single reason to bet on a football game, I say math is a good one. For that reason, I’d be on the Eagles tonight, take the points, and think I wasn’t going to need them while anticipating a straight-up Eagles victory.
There are more than one reason to consider before putting money on a contest. The Packers have a side too.
They are at home on a short week and playing much better football than the Eagles three weeks into the season. They are challenged in their NFC North Division by three worthy opponents, that’s right, we can now include the Detroit Lions into that group of threats with the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.
Green Bay is not considered in the category with the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints or New England Patriots, the truly elite teams. They are in that second tier, with their division opponents and teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens. They are coming off a disappointing 2018 that saw them miss the playoffs for a second straight season after eight consecutive trips to the postseason.
This year, the Packers are on the way up behind first-year head coach Matt LaFleur. This is not an undefeated team that thinks they are going to run roughshod over their opponents, they are a hungry group led by one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
If math plays out tonight, the Eagles win, but if football shows up, the Packers will win a fourth straight. The Eagles get a motivational edge from a need perspective, but what may happen tonight is that need gets outplayed by talent and situation.
I’m very interested in what happens tonight, but no idea what will.