Dave Staley of sportsbook.com is back to explain this week's Eagles-Saints line to us.
This one was a bit tricky. The line didn't open on sportsbook.com until late Wednesday afternoon because of Donovan McNabb's injury. It opened as a pick 'em and is still there as of this post on Wednesday night.
Q: I see the Eagles-Saints line is not listed on sportsbook.com yet (as of 3:40 p.m. Tuesday). What’s the process for waiting to list a line when a key player is injured?
A: Obviously, whenever there is an injury to such a key player like McNabb, the lines guys will take some extra time crunching the numbers and coming up with the opening line. Again, they’ll throw in a little bit of ‘public perception’ in the end, which I think is what happened here. I envisioned the Birds giving 1.5 points (give or take a ½ point). At ‘even’ I think there might be a little extra value for the Eagles. Teams with high-flying, exciting offenses, like the Saints, often get a little extra love from the betting public. Couple that with the QB issues in Philly, and I expect the public money to be on the Saints. Sure the QB issue for Philly is huge, but you can’t forget a couple things: the Saints were 2-6 on the road last season, with victories against Detroit and K.C. Also, New Orleans is one of those teams that plays like Super Bowl champs one week, and lays down to an inferior opponent the next. Last time I checked, the Saints were 8-8 last year. Now they are a 'pick' on the road against a team that was one win away from the Super Bowl.
As for the total of 47, it is not a secret that both teams can put plenty of points on the board, hence the high number. With a healthy McNabb, this one would have been even higher (51.5 or so). No doubt, the Saints have a high-powered offense, but it does slow down a bit on the road; they averaged about eight fewer points away from New Orleans last season.
Editor's note: According to sportsbook.com's betting trends section, 91 percent of the action is on the Saints. And 99 percent is on the over.
Q: How much did the line change because Kevin Kolb appears likely to start over McNabb?
A: The lined we opened with seems to assume Kolb under center. If we had more intel that McNabb was going to give it a shot, I think the line would maybe be Eagles -1 or so. It is difficult to put a number on it without knowing the full extent of the injury. QBs have played with busted ribs before; however, McNabb would be expected to pass a ton on Sunday, given the Eagles' offensive scheme and the fact that they could find themselves in a shootout. How high is his pain tolerance? I can’t answer that question. I know he has played with plenty of injuries in the past. The good news for whoever is under center is that the Saints are not known for their pass rush. They had only 28 sacks last year and had just one last week against the Lions. I’ll be surprised if Kolb isn’t under center Sunday.
Q: What were some of the big gambling story lines from Week 1?
A: With the favorites coming in at 9-4 against the spread on Sunday, we were definitely licking our wounds a bit Monday morning. Monday night went a little better as both the double-digit dogs covered. Too bad (for the house) they couldn’t hold on and win outright as the last score of each game not only sealed the victory for the favorites, but it also sealed up the victory for the ‘over’ bettors. Again, most people wager on the ‘over.'
Speaking of the Monday night games, something interesting that had the boss sweating a little bit. We have a free contest called the 'Perfect Parlay.' Our members have a free shot at picking all 16 games (against the spread). If someone goes 16-for-16, they win $100,000. Since there was a Thursday night game, we substituted it with the over/under in the Raiders game. Anyway, this guy picks everything right on Sunday, picks the Bills on Monday night, picks the Raiders Monday night, but picks the ‘under’ in the Chargers/Raiders game. Like I mentioned before, the last score of the game secured the 'over' so the guy missed out on a six-figure payday. OUCH...