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EAGLES AT 49ERS

10/12/08


The Philadelphia Eagles make the long trip out west to face the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC conference match-up. Both teams are sitting at 2-3, and are coming off of consecutive road/home losses. Only difference is, San Francisco is still sitting in second place and just a game out of first in the weak West Division, whereas Philly finds themselves in last place, and at least 2 games behind every other team in the tough East Division.

Philly could have very easily been 3-1 going into the divisional match-up with Washington last week had they been able to punch it in from the goal line late in their Week 4 game at Chicago. They had 4 chances from the 1 yd line and couldn’t get it in. They pretty much dominated the game, stat-wise. They led Chicago in yardage (370-277), 1st downs (18-13), turnover margin (2-4), number of plays (67-64), average yards per play (5.1-4), sacks (4-3), and time-of-possession. They held Matt Forte to just 43 yds on 19 carries for a paltry 2.3 yard-per-carry average, and they held Chicago, as a team, to just 78 total rushing yards. Where they failed, in addition to not being able to score from the 1, was in 3rd down efficiency, as they were able to convert just 2 of 13 tries on 3rd down, while letting Chicago convert 7 of their 17 3rd down attempts.


In last week’s divisional match-up with Washington, the Eagles jumped out to a quick 14-0 1st Q lead on a 9 yd Westbrook run and a 68 yard punt return by DeSean Jackson, but then they failed to score another TD over the final 52 minutes, settling for just a 23 yd FG with 7 minutes left in the game. On that play, they got the ball to the Washington 2 yd line, but for the second game in a row were unable to convert for the TD. Washington ended up with 28 more offensive play calls, nearly 400 yds of total offense and almost a 10-minute time-of-possession advantage in the 23-17 win. Philadelphia’s 3 losses have been to teams with a combined record of 11-4, but have only been by an average margin of just 4.6 pts.

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San Francisco’s consecutive losses were a little bit different in nature, as they were handled with relative ease by both the New Orleans Saints and, most recently, the New England Patriots. They were out-yarded by over 150 yards in the 31-17 road loss to the Saints in Week 4, and by nearly 200 yards in the 30-21 loss to the Pats last week. New England racked up 259 yards in the air on 22 of 32 passing by Matt Cassel, and another 144 yards on the ground by their RBBC, and held a huge 25-12 edge in 1st downs. The 49er’s were held to just under 200 yds of total offense as QB J.T. O’Sullivan completed less than half of his 29 attempts for just 130 yards and 3 TD’s, but was also picked off 3 times. O’Sullivan has now been intercepted 5 times in the past 2 games, after throwing just 1 in San Francisco’s first 3 games. The 49er’s only 2 wins this season have been against Detroit and Seattle, teams with a combined record of just 1-7. Their 3 losses have come against teams with a combined record of 8-6. In those games they have been out-scored by an average score of 28-17.

The Eagles have obviously played a much tougher schedule than the 49er’s so far. They are coming off of a stretch that has seen them play the likes of Dallas, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Washington, but they have been extremely competitive in each contest.


San Francisco had a relatively easy schedule to begin the season, but are now in the midst of a tough stretch that is possibly showing the true capabilities of this team. They are coming off of losses to New Orleans and New England by 14 and 9 points, and now have to deal with the Eagles, and with the NY Giants due up next. Philadelphia may prove to be the toughest match-up they have seen to date. The Eagles are leading the NFL with 18 sacks, which does not bode well for a rookie QB who has thrown 5 picks in his last 2 games, and is on a team that has given up a league-leading 20 sacks.


Philadelphia also comes to town in a very ornery mood as McNabb has expressed his extreme displeasure in the results of the Eagles play in those close losses. He was quoted as saying “I’m embarrassed with the way we played the past two weeks,” “I believe that we lost to teams we should have beaten. Not because I think they are not good — they are. But I still believe we are better; we just didn’t show it.”


I am sure the 49er’s are not exactly ecstatic with their last 2 games either, but I believe that Philly’s situation is a little more dire. Washington, Dallas and the Giants are all favored in their games this week and stand better than average chances of winning. The Eagles have their backs to the wall and absolutely cannot afford another loss here to potentially go down 3 games to every other team in their division. They have a great chance to go into their break next week at 3-3. They can then regroup, and hopefully get Westbrook healthy, and when they come out of the break they will have very winnable games against Atlanta and Seattle before facing the Giants in Week 10.


San Francisco is still in relatively decent shape within their division so, although I’m sure they will be giving it their best shot, their backs are not against the wall like the Eagles.


Philadelphia is the superior team anyway, so an especially focused and angry Eagle team should be able to come in and beat this 49er team in a similar fashion as the Pats and Saints have the past two weeks. The defense should be able to put a bunch of pressure on O’Sullivan with a potential for 4 or 5 sacks, as well as creating a few turnovers and forcing them to punt quite a few times. And with DeSean Jackson playing in his former backyard, I’m sure he’d like to return one for a score in front of the hometown crowd. I’ll look for the Eagles to win by around 9 or 10, but by at least a TD, even without Westbrook.

 Philadelphia Eagles –4.5.


Trends:
Philadelphia is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games.
Philadelphia is 19-12-2 ATS in their last 33 games as a road favorite.
Philadelphia is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games as a road favorite of between 4 and 6.5 pts.
Philadelphia is 10-5-1 ATS in their last 16 games vs a non-division opponent.
Philadelphia is 28-13-1 ATS in their last 42 games vs an NFC opponent outside of their division.
San Francisco is 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games vs NFC teams.
San Francisco is 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games as an underdog.
San Francisco is 6-9 ATS their last 15 games as a home underdog.
San Francisco is 6-6 ATS their last 12 games as a home underdog of between 4-6.5 pts.
San Francisco is 4-10 ATS their last 13 games following a loss as an underdog.
San Francisco is 3-9 ATS their last 12 games vs an NFC East opponent.

 

 

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