Philadelphia Eagles (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date and Time: Sunday, October 26, 2014, 4:05 pm EST
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
TV: Fox, DirecTV 713
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Phil +2.5/Ariz. 2.5
Over/Under Total: 48
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Two NFC teams sitting at 5-1 and just a game back of the Dallas Cowboys for the best record in the conference will battle it out on Sunday, when the Philadelphia Eagles travel West to the dry desert heat of University of Phoenix Stadium in a late afternoon game against the Arizona Cardinals on Fox.
Despite a host of injuries at quarterback, head coach Bruce Arians has once again pulled the strings like a master in getting the Cardinals to 5-1 thus far. Last week the Cards went on the road and took care of a game they should have won, which is sometimes the hardest to win, beating Oakland by a score of 24-13. Carson Palmer returned to throw two touchdowns and for 253 yards for the Cards, who after seven weeks of play currently have the rest of the ultra-tough NFC West division looking up at them in first place.
Just like the Cardinals, the Eagles will enter the contest on Sunday riding a modest two-game win streak, including an impressive, 27-0, dismantling of the rival New York Giants the week before last weekends bye week. With over a week to put together a game plan, it should be interesting to see how wunder-coach Chip Kelly decides to attack an Arizona defense that is tough to attack at home.
With the similarities of how both teams have gotten to 5-1 and where they are at this point in the season, it should be no surprise that the oddsmakers in Las Vegas are letting bettors set this betting line. With the number set just below the key number of 3, almost every sportsbook out there in cyberspace opened this game with Arizona as 2.5-point favorites. Some early sharp money moved it up to Eagles minus -3 at a few books, but despite a slight presence of early public money on the visiting Eagles, the number remains minus -2.5 at most books currently.
The over/under total opened at 48 and has gone up or dropped the hook to 47.5 or 48.5, depending on which direction youre looking for so dont be afrid to keep looking if you dont lke what youre getting at your current book.
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As mentioned earlier, the Cards have welcomed Palmer back at QB and back to running the show. Even with five wins, the Cards offense has yet to click this season as their 317.8 yards per game average is 28th in the NFL and has to be among the lowest ever for a team in first place. Theyll face a Eagles defense that has its warts (allowing 381 ypg 24th), but one that knows how to stiffen and turn up the dial in the red zone since they are 13th in scoring defense at 22 points per game.
What could be fun to watch for Philly fans is the Eagles on offense this Sunday. Against an Arizona defense that is tops in the NFL in run defense (allow 72.5 ypg), but 31st in pass defense (285 ypg), its almost too easy to be tricky in the Eagles attack if youre Kelly this week. The Eagles and QB Nick Foles are already 7th in the NFL throwing the ball each week (262 ypg), so if the Eagles start running the ball and punting three-and-out every series, you know the fix is in.
Philly snapped a three-game Arizona win streak in this head-to-head series between these two NFC squads. The Eagle prevailed 24-21 at home at the Linc last year, but prior to that the Cardinals had won three straight in the series and three of the last four played in Arizona (dating back to the 2001 season). The Cardinals, however, have been a way, way, way better bet over the years in this series, going 4-0 ATS in the last four and 5-1 ATS in the last six.
The over may also be a solid betting trend play, since the over is 7-3 in the last 10 games played in Arizona, and is 13-6 in the last 19 meetings in the series overall. The over is also 8-3 in the Eagles last 11 road games.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im pretty sure the line for this game has yet to move in both directions before it actually kicks off on Sunday. That said, Id lean toward the Cardinals, especially if it stays under 3 or crawls closer to a pick em. Its certainly not one of the top plays on the board, but Id play Arizona minus the -2.5 points.