The San Francisco 49ers opened up as 1.5-point favorites over the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday night. How could the team that has one loss, who is at home, and had just beaten the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Eagles, not be favored to beat the team that has three losses and is on the road?
That line is up to -3 on DraftKings Sportsbook. The total is ticked up a little as well to 47. That makes sense, as the perceived weakness on each team is their secondary.
Kyle Shanahan shared his thoughts about the Niners being favorites:
“I mean, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I don’t really know how that stuff works. So, I don’t really know why. It is random.”
It’s less about the record and more about how you’re playing. Plus, for those of you familiar with sports gambling, betting is about spots. We can go over X’s and O’s until we’re blue in the face, but there’s a reason why you keep hearing about how often the Eagles defense has been on the field in recent weeks.
A casual bettor will look at Philly’s record, remember the NFC Championship score, and take the Eagles getting three points at home. But they’re ignoring how Philadelphia’s defense has offered little to no resistance and how they’ve consistently been trailing, sometimes by double digits, in a few games this season.
To me, this line says that oddsmakers are expecting the 49ers to build a lead and, unlike the Eagles' previous opponents, hold on to it.
Nick Sirianni is leaning into the odds and spinning it as a “nobody believes in us” type of message:
“Not going to get wrapped into what anybody else thinks of us, whether that’s another team, whether that’s whoever makes the spreads, or anything like that. We just worry about going to work for ourselves. I think going into the last year and the year before, no one really thought we would be any good. I think it’s OK to be the underdog. I said on the radio the other day, before I ever stepped foot in the city all I knew about this city was Rocky versus Apollo Creed and the city plays the underog well.”
The Eagles have been favored in the majority of their games and are in no way shape or form viewed as an underdog in the big picture. Again, this is a one-time spot deal. The Eagles play the Cowboys next week in a game with much larger stakes in the short term.
Now, if the 49ers win this week and Dallas wins next week, San Francisco has a shot to earn the No. 1 seed. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
I think it’s fascinating that coaches are being asked about spreads and the odds. I wonder if, at some point down the line, they’ll be asked about not covering in the postgame. Regardless, the fact that they’re being asked tells me everyone is aware of what’s going on.