2022 NFC Championship: 49ers vs Eagles Expert Analysis and Point Spread Pick
2022 NFC Championship Preview
San Francisco 49ers (15-4 SU, 13-6 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (15-3 SU, 9-9 ATS)
When: Sunday, January 29th , 3PM ET
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Point Spread: SF +2.5/Phi -2.5 (Bet it for FREE with a 100% bonus!)
Total: 46.5 (Opened at 45.5)
Money Line: San Fran +125/Philly -145
The San Francisco 49ers find themselves in an unfamiliar spot this Sunday as they’ll be playing as an underdog. Kyle Shanahan’s club has responded well in this spot over the last three seasons, going 11-5 against the spread as dogs.
The Niners ended the regular season with ten straight wins, plus two more in playoffs, putting them on a twelve-game winning streak. They’ve scored 30+ points in six of their last eight games. Strength of schedule may have played into all these numbers, as they’ve played a ton of creampuffs.
The host Philadelphia Eagles started the season red-hot, going 13-1 in their first 14 games. Did they peak too early? They ended the regular season dropping two of their last three games. However, it should be noted that Minshew started in both of the losses. The Eagles scored this season, but if you look at their last handful of games, the scoring didn’t come as easy, even with Hurts in the lineup.
RB Christian McCaffrey sat out Wed/Thurs practice. However, the crafty RB says there’s zero chance he doesn’t go on game day. Both teams enter Sunday’s tilt relatively healthy.
How the Public is Betting the Niners/Eagles Game
The Philadelphia Eagles are getting the brunt of the action at the sportsbooks, receiving 62% of the spread bets. The 49ers are being bet at a 38% clip, which consists of sharp/astute players. Bettors are expecting a lower-scoring game than the posted total of 46.5, as 60% of those bets are coming in on the under, which is really interesting, because the line has gone up a full point from 45.5 to 46.5 (Note: The total dropped a point and current sits at 45.5 as of EARLY Sunday morning). The bookies are obviously more astute than the general betting public (squares), and they predict the game to be high scoring.
Despite being in the same conference, these teams don’t face each other often. The last matchup was in 2021, when the Niners beat Philly in a low-scoring game by the score of 17-11. Prior to that, the teams played in 2020, in which the Eagles beat SF at San Francisco by a score of 25-20. The next games were back in 2017 and 2014, and we’re not even going to reference those, as the stats/info would be irrelevant.
Concerns for the 49ers
San Francisco played really well at home this season, going 8-1; however, they didn’t have as much success away from home with a 5-3 record. (Don’t forget they’re on a 12-game winning streak)
They have a rookie quarterback. It’s definitely worth mentioning, but I think it’s being overblown. This kid has played really well. He’s behind a great offensive line. There’s lots of ballyhoo being made about how a rookie quarterback has never won the Super Bowl. And even more about how it’s only the fifth time a rookie QB has started a conference championship game, with the position going winless in those contests. Know who those QBs were? Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Mark Sanchez. Still scared? I didn’t think so! I’ve watched all of Brock Purdy’s starts, and he’s the real deal. So much so, that it’s mind-boggling to me that he was the team’s third-string QB. He’s literally looked twice as good or better than both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garappolo. Don’t let this rookie QB mumbo-jumbo the talking heads are spewing derail your handicapping!
My only real concerns are that Purdy will be facing his stiffest test of the season, as he hasn’t seen a defense as good as Philly’s and I’m a bit concerned that second-year corner Deommodore Lenoir might be vulnerable in the secondary, as both A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are highly skilled receivers.
The team played really well in conference games, going 12-2 straight up. They rewarded bettors in this spot as well, with the same 12-2 record ATS.
Wondering how San Francisco played against good teams this season? Really well! They went 7-1 straight up and 6-2 ATS. They went undefeated at 6-0 in the second half against teams with a winning record. They rewarded bettors by covering the spread in five of those contests.
Looking back a little further, the Niners have been a cash machine in January, covering nine of ten games over the last three years, including not losing a playoff bet over those same three years, which has provided a tidy 5-0 record ATS.
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The Eagles are likely to have problems with George Kittle. Their defense is good but is vulnerable to tight end receptions with their single coverage using linebackers. They gamble elsewhere and leave the middle of the field open. If they don’t get a good pass rush on Purdy, who has a really good offensive line, Kittle could be roaming free over the middle with separation vs. much slower defenders. Tip: If you play Draftkings fantasy football, Kittle could easily be the top TE of the Week as I’m expecting the Bengals to double up on Kelce.
Injuries! The Eagles have a ton of players that get banged up often. Lane Johnson is a beast of an offensive lineman, but always seems to get hurt. Corner Avonte Maddox has been banged up a bunch this year too, and lastly, although he’s been able to stay healthy lately, RB Miles Sanders has had a hard time staying on the field over the course of his career. In-game injuries aren’t really something we often think about, as they’re almost impossible to predict, but the Eagles have a bunch of guys that are vulnerable to leaving the game.
The Eagles played well at home this season with an 8-2 record (SU) and a 7-3 record ATS. The team is stacked with talent and puts a ton of pressure on defenses having to worry about Jalen Hurts taking off out of the pocket. Their defense is excellent as well. James Bradberry and Darius Slay present huge problems for opponents’ wide receivers. We may see a game in which Deeboo Samuel operates out of the backfield to generate short reception opportunities. Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings may be shut down, allowing Philly’s defenders to pressure the rookie QB more often.
- The San Francisco 49ers are 5-0 ATS in their last five playoff games
- The Niners are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games in January
- SF is 23-8 ATS in their last 31 games
- The OVER is 6-1 ATS in SF’s last seven games on a grass field
- Four of the Niners’ last five games have gone over the posted total
- The UNDER is 12-3-1 in Philly’s last 16 home playoff games
- The OVER has gone 11-4 in Philly’s last 15 home games
- The UNDER has cashed in the last four matchups between these teams
Kevin West’s SF/Phi Pick: There’s a lot to like about both teams. This isn’t typically a game I’m seeking to bet on because cashing a ticket might come down to which team makes a mistake. In fact, in this case, it’s very likely. After sorting out all the stats, matchups, and other random information, I think the 49ers cover the spread. The team’s preference is to run the ball (this includes short passes to the RBs), and they’ve got the line and horses to do it. Even though Philly has a good defensive line. Christian McCaffrey is in the prime of his career and is matchup proof. His backup, Elijah Mitchell, has looked fresh after missing a ton of time this season, and looks like he’s been shot out of a cannon. He’s banged up though and as of Saturday there’s concern he may miss. The team would then either utilize McCaffrey more, give carries to Tevin Coleman, or involve Deebo more.
I also like that Purdy and TE George Kittle have a great rapport, because Philly often single-covers opponents’ tight ends with a linebacker. Kittle could be in for a huge day. Lastly, Jalen Hurts is a great talent but is prone to mistakes. The Niners are extremely efficient at cashing in on opponents’ mistakes. Lastly, Kyle Shanahan is a wizard at creating mismatches. I think he finds ways to employ Deebo Samuel which could create massive problems for the Eagles’ defense. I like SF to win this game straight up and move on to face the Bengals in the Super Bowl! Bet your Championship picks for FREE by scoring a 50% cash bonus up to $250 at the web’s best bookie —> Bovada Sportsbook! Home of the BEST live wagering platform on the planet!