As I mentioned yesterday, we didn't have our regular visit from Dave Staley of sportsbook.com this week.
The site needed extra time to come out with an Eagles-Chiefs line because of all the injuries to the Birds. But the spread opened yesterday at Eagles (-8.5). This morning when I checked though, it had moved down to Eagles (-7.5). The public's money is on the Chiefs. According to the site's betting trends page, 74 percent of the action is for Kansas City.
Here's Staley's take on the line and the game. Note that he e-mailed yesterday when the line first opened:
We opened the numbers at Eagles (-8.5) with an over/under of 40.5. All of the injuries to the Birds’ key players delayed us a bit in opening this number. Opening the line Friday is perfect timing for our bettors as they can bet the early line (spread) at reduced juice (-105) since we have 'Reduced Juice Fridays.' With Brian Westbrook and DeSean Jackson banged up and Donovan McNabb unlikely to play, this number stays in the single digits. Although the Chiefs’ offense won’t be confused for New Orleans any time soon, the Eagles' defense needs rise to the occasion with McNabb most likely out. Giving up 48 points and 400-plus yards last week was very disappointing. Of course, the Chiefs won’t come close to those numbers, but they won’t have to in order to cover 8.5 points. I expect Philly’s defense to step up Sunday.
The over/under of 40.5 is a point or two lower than I expected, purely based on how the Eagles performed last weekend, both on offense and defense. The Eagles’ running game could help generate some points as the Chiefs’ opponents have averaged 135 yards on the ground so far. This isn’t a new problem for the Chiefs as they ranked 30th last year in rushing defense, surrendering 158.9 yards per game. A trend I just noticed that supports ‘under’ bettors: the ‘under’ is 11-6 in the Chiefs last 17 road games. Only 25 percent of the early money is on the over.
Dave answered a couple other questions for us in my Week 3 picks post yesterday.
I did not get to pick this game yesterday so here goes. Keep in mind I'm 0-2 picking Eagles games so far this year.
I like the Eagles big. I thought Kevin Kolb played well last week, and I think the Eagles will have success running the ball. Obviously, Michael Vick's role is an X-factor, but I'm in the camp that thought the Eagles looked pretty good running the Wildcat last week. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it tomorrow.
Defensively, last week's performance was a concern. Particularly the linebacker play. But I think you're going to see the Saints make a lot of defenses look terrible this season. The Chiefs? Not so much. Look for the 'D' to bounce back.
Special teams are a huge concern and the unit that could cost the Eagles. But if they deliver an average performance, I think the Birds cover and enter the bye 2-1.
The pick: Eagles (-7.5)