It’s not often that a No. 1 seed is lined as an underdog against a No. 6 seed but that’s what we’re working with for Saturday’s NFC divisional-round playoff bout between the Eagles and Falcons in Philly (4:35 pm ET, NBC). Which way are we going here with our free NFL playoff picks?
Most of the divisional-round betting market opened Atlanta at -2.5, with a total of right around 44. As of Friday afternoon most books had bumped the Falcons to -3, and dropped the total all the way to 41.
NFC Divisional-Round Match-Up
Atlanta (11-6 SU, 8-9 ATS) reached this weekend’s divisional-round action by beating the Rams in Los Angeles in a wild-card game last week 26-13. The Falcons, as six-point underdogs, grabbed an early 13-0 lead, let LA get within 13-10 but pulled away in the second half in an impressive performance.
Atlanta won time of possession by a 38-22 split and the turnover battle 2-0.
The Falcons also cashed in last week at +200 on the NFL betting moneyline.
Atlanta is now 4-5 both SU and ATS against teams that made the playoffs this season.
Philadelphia (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) started 1-1 this season, then announced itself as a contender by winning nine games in a row. However, only one of the teams they beat during that run, Carolina, made the playoffs. The Eagles then laid an egg out in Seattle, but bounced back to beat the Rams in LA. They then beat the Giants and Oakland to clinch the NFC East and the top seed in the NFC playoffs.
Philly then rested starters in its regular-season finale and lost to Dallas 6-0.
The Eagles played just three games this season against teams that made the playoffs, going 2-1 both SU and ATS.
Philly lost QB Carson Wentz in that win over the Rams, but back-up Nick Foles looked good in closing out that victory, and in a subsequent win over the Giants. However, he did not look good in that game against the Raiders.
These two teams met most recently back in November of last season, a 24-15 Philadelphia victory. The Falcons actually led that game 15-13 well into the fourth quarter but the Eagles scored the last 11 points for the win.
Wentz outplayed Atlanta QB Matt Ryan that day; unfortunately he won’t get that chance Saturday.
Also, the Philly defense held the Falcons to just 11 first downs and 303 total yards, 76 of which came on one play.
Unders are 12-5 in Falcons games this season, which are averaging just under 42 points.
The totals are split 8-8 in Eagles games, which are averaging 47 points, although that average jumps to 50 if we remove that last meaningless game.
Free NFL Playoffs Picks
Atlanta carries much public sentiment with it into this game, but that’s not always a good thing. We loved the Falcons last week against the Rams, but now we’re thinking they might be ripe for a letdown. Also, while the Atlanta defense is receiving some well-deserved notice, Philly’s defense might be better. How much faith have we got in Foles? Not a whole lot, but hopefully he won’t be asked to do too much. We’re going with the rested Eagles here, for the win on the moneyline.