Why are the Eagles 1.5-point favorites?

We're excited to debut a new feature today at MTC.

Each week, we will run a brief Q&A with Dave Staley of sportsbook.com. Dave will join us to explain why the Eagles' line is what it is and break down how the public views the Birds' matchup.

If you ever have specific questions for Dave, let me know, and I will do my best to get answers from him.

Without further ado, here is the first installment:

Q: What's the process at sportsbook.com for coming up with the lines each week?

A: Well, I can’t tell you all of our secrets, but basically it comes down to our handicappers analyzing the key stats, trends, injuries, intangibles like revenge factors or must-wins situations, etc. Public perception is also factored in. If the handicappers feel the public is going to absolutely pound one side, they might be inclined to give a little extra value to the opposite side. For this reason, a lot of sharp football bettors bet a lot of underdogs and unders. Why? Because the public usually backs the favorites and overs so there is often a lot of extra value betting the underdogs and unders. For example, in Week 1, the majority of the early money so far is backing every favorite and 15 out of 16 overs. Not hard to figure out whom we’ll be rooting for. By the way, you can find those numbers on our Betting Trends page. We are so confident in our lines makers that we don’t mind giving our members this valuable information.

Q: What is the Eagles-Panthers line, and what were the major factors involved in coming up with it?

A: The line currently sits at Philly (-1.5). We actually just moved this line Tuesday morning. It was -1. When we opened this line a few months back, the Panthers were actually favored at -3 (+105). As you can see from the Betting Trends page linked above, 80 percent of the cash is currently on the Birds, which explains the line change. If you are going to back the Birds, getting on this line early might be a good idea because I think it will only go in one direction. I’m kind of surprised the Panthers are playing the dangerous role of home dogs.  However, people are expecting big things from the Eagles this year. We currently have them as co-favorites at +500 to win the NFC along with the Giants and Vikings. Also, the way the Panthers got pummeled last year by the Cardinals left a sour taste in people’s mouths.

Q: What is the over/under, and what were the major factors involved in coming up with it?

A: Currently we have the total holding steady at 43.5. This is a pretty standard total. At first glance, the over looks like a solid bet considering that the the Eagles and Panthers ranked sixth and seventh respectively last season, combining for 51.9 points per game. However, the defenses combined to give up just 38.7 points per game last season. An interesting trend I just noticed and something that I’m sure will please your readers is that the Eagles are 10-4 against the spread the last 14 times they played a game where the total was between 42.5 and 49.