The San Francisco 49ers have managed to collapse each of the last two weeks, but that has not stopped the offshore sites from installing them as a favorite once again. The 49ers opened 4.5-point favorites in advance of Sunday's matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. And the money is already coming in on the 49ers. Some oddsmakers have already moved the line to as much as 5.5 points.
I'm a little surprised by this. The line is set in order to try and take in action on both sides of it. Oddsmakers do not want all the money coming in on one side of the line, so they try and find that sweet spot that gets action from both sides. If they can split it evenly, the house will win just on the vig.
One reason I am not entirely shocked by this line though is the fact that the Eagles 3-0 record is arguably one of the softer such 3-0 records in recent memory. I'd still take 3-0 every day of the week for the 49ers, but some early analysis would indicate the Eagles are not necessarily the team some think they are at this point.
This article from Football Perspective goes into some detail on that. They discuss how the Eagles are the first team since at least 1940 to win their first three games after trailing all three by at least ten points. Additionally, their "Game Scripts" have been subpar. FP came up with Game Scripts as a way to measure the totality of a team's performance in a game. Obviously a win is the most important thing, but how a team performed en route to that win can tell us something about the future of that team. The folks at fivethirtyeight.com went into some detail after Week 2, and Chase Stuart followed up with the article linked above.
I do think the Eagles end up walking away with the NFC East title. That is due in part to their talent, but also due to the fact that it is still an abysmal division. As for this weekend against the 49ers, hopefully the Eagles early-game struggles catch up with them and the 49ers can take care of business on Sunday.