Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:49 AM

Eagles vs. 49ers Week 4 Predictions, Odds, Preview



Coming into the year knowing I'd be covering all the prime time games was always going to be a challenge I welcomed personally, but one that I knew could get interesting once the Philadelphia Eagles got their first chance to play under the lights.

It was during a Sunday Night Football preview last year that I came out with the unpopular opinion of viewing quarterback Carson Wentz as one of the most overrated QB's in the NFL and continued on for the rest of the year calling him the “Dorian Gray” of the league in that he always looks the part of a NFL QB with his six-foot-six frame and strong arm, but the secret of him not being able to play a lick at this level was hidden away in his closet somewhere.

All I heard last year was excuse after excuse made for Wentz – in the market and the mainstream media – about how he was a guy that had no weapons, still had a great turnover ratio, and was just stuck in a hard-luck year etc, etc..

Well here we are nearly a year later – that SNF piece from last year was from mid-October – and after an 0-2-1 SU (0-3 ATS) start to the 2020 season for Wentz and the Eagles, people ripping on Wentz and claiming they never liked the guy has become the popular and en vogue thing to do now.

It's really nothing but a fickle herd mentality at it's finest with opinions always flip flopping to the consensus, but in general, we've all already experienced a lot of that in 2020 as it is. It wasn't going to be any different in the sports betting industry/market.

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Personally, I am glad that my Dorian Gray metaphor from last year is coming to fruition in the sense that what I believed to be Wentz's true image (not capable of being a NFL starting QB) is starting to finally get exposed to the world.

However, now the problem for me isn't that the whole world knows Wentz is garbage, it's the fact that the whole world knowing that has eliminated the short (or inflated) spreads Eagles opponents were getting.

Granted, the defending NFC Champs were never going to be truly listed as a short favorite given their reputation – even with all the injuries they've recently suffered – but until you know the QB status in SF this week, fading Wentz and the Eagles just to fade them because you/I believe they/he are trash isn't exactly ideal.

So keep an eye on that going into Sunday's kickoff, while I spend the rest of this piece pondering the question about whether or not Wentz and the Eagles may actually look a little undervalued at this current number.

Eagles-49ers Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: San Francisco -7
  • Money-Line: Philadelphia +260 , San Francisco -310
  • Total: 46

2020 Betting Stats

(Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under - O/U)

Philadelphia

  • Overall: 0-2-1 SU, 0-3 ATS, 2-1 O/U
  • Road: 0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS, 1-0 O/U

San Francisco

  • Overall: 2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U
  • Home: 0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS, 0-1 O/U

Over vs. Under
Handicapping the Total

Already knowing I'm not particularly fond of either side makes going to the total the more obvious choice for a betting play on this game, but that's not specifically the case either here.

Everyone knows scoring has been up thanks in large part to penalties being down, but when you are the Eagles, sitting 29th in the league in EPA/play (expected points added per play) - only Denver and the two New York teams are worse – with a QB I've already got no affinity for, the eyes and the numbers tell me that you simply can't trust this Philly team to consistently move the ball with Wentz and whatever playmakers he does have on the field on Sunday.

So from that perspective, looking only at the 'under' makes sense, but then you are betting into a league wide scoring increase this year, and specifically a game total that's already been bet up a full three points.

As someone who takes much more knowledge out of reading the markets, that 'over' move is something that's got to be respected to a degree. Obviously an 'under' look will play much better the higher the number does go, and some of the move upwards does have to do with Jimmy G's status having him as potentially available this week.

However, even with all the disbelief in Wentz and the Eagles, pulling the trigger on the 'under' is still not the most comfortable bet to make.

Head-to-Head History

  • Oct. 29, 2017 - Philadelphia 33 vs. San Francisco 10, Eagles -13, Under 44.5
  • Sept. 28, 2014 - San Francisco 26 vs. Philadelphia 21, 49ers -7, Under 52

Eagles vs. 49ers
Handicapping the Side

The 49ers should be getting tight end George Kittle back, and if he returns along with Jimmy Garoppolo, then chances are we will see another uptick to this line in favor of San Francisco by the time Sunday morning rolls around. Now that the whole world has come to the conclusion that Wentz is a bad QB, a move like that is going to come once it's deemed those guys are healthy enough to play, and some of this early move could be working under the assumption that we will see those players return.

But as I said earlier, until I do know if that's indeed the case for San Francisco – Kittle should be good to go – I'm not in a rush to go and back them no matter how much I'm not a fan of this Eagles team. In fact, with public perception shifting so dramatically on Wentz, I can't believe I'm out here making a case to back this Philadelphia squad.

Public perception of Wentz's talent has shifted so dramatically that you've got bettors asking themselves “ What happened to this guy (Wentz), he was on track to be the MVP in 2017 before he got hurt?

Well I'd venture to make the case that he wasn't all that good to begin with and 2017 was just his “lightning in a bottle” season that has always historically been the case in the NFL with starting QB's that come from FCS programs. A couple of them like Kurt Warner and Steve McNair have had multiple great years as a pro, but more recently you've got names like Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Carson Wentz, and even Jimmy G as part of that QB fraternity that spent the bulk of their collegiate playing days for an FCS program. These guys just don't win outside of that one miracle year.

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Which brings me back to the point about stomaching a play on the Eagles plus the points , because if I am going to practice what I preach, why would I want to lay what seems like a slightly unreasonable number on the 49ers with their own FCS QB (Garoppolo) at the helm who has likely already experienced his “lightning in a bottle season” in taking his team to the Super Bowl last year? Let alone in a week where he is returning from injury and missing significant weapons around him.

I came into this year expecting to fade the 49ers more often than not just in general, and it's part of the reason why stomaching a play on Wentz and the Eagles is something I'm forcing myself to do this week. I discussed earlier in the week how 0-3 ATS teams like the Eagles don't tend to have that goose egg in the ATS win column for much longer after that start.

With 0-3 ATS underdogs of any number in that role on a 6-2 ATS run the past five years, and public perception on the Eagles/Wentz shifted so far over to my side now (something I hate in general) on his talents and position as the starter in Philadelphia, it does feel like a time where flipping the script makes quite a bit of sense and the contrarian approach of riding the Eagles is what I'm doing.

It's still Wentz and that awful Eagles offense I'm putting stock into at least keeping this game close, so it's going to be far from my favorite play of the season, but at a touchdown or higher, I've found reasons to back worse QB's than Wentz at those prices, and will do so again. With seemingly the whole world taking the popular approach of piling on Wentz for his poor play this year, I've got no problem taking a step back and backing him in a spot where nobody wants him nor his team.

It's funny though, because had this game, with this spread happened a year ago, the narrative would have been all about Wentz getting disrespected and it's way too many points to give him etc...

And yet here we are a year later, and while the majority take the stance of Wentz being the guy that's fallen off a cliff, I'm looking at his game as something that's not really changed. What we've seen from him in 2020 is what I saw from him in 2019 and 2018, it's just that the Eagles winning and making the playoffs in those years were what allowed everyone to turn a blind eye to those shortcomings. But since his first NFL start, Carson Wentz has shown me that he might have an untapped desire to work for FedEx with all the air mail Wentz has unsuccessfully delivered in his career.

Not the most ringing endorsement for backing a team I know, but it's always easier to zig when everyone else is zagging; there is always going to be less traffic that way. Whether or not those plays always hit the cashier's window is a different story, but even with the confidence level approaching negatives with this Eagles ATS play this week, I'm hoping a trip to the window is exactly what I'll be making after this game.

Key Injuries

Philadelphia

  • WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside: Calf - Doubtful
  • WR DeSean Jackson: Hamstring - Out
  • WR Alshon Jeffery: Foot - Out
  • CB Avonte Maddox: Ankle - Out
  • G Jason Peters: Foot - Questionable
  • CB Trevor Williams: Ribs - Out

San Francisco

  • DE Dee Ford: Back - Out
  • QB Jimmy Garoppolo: Ankle - Out
  • LB Dre Greenlaw: Quadriceps - Out
  • CB Emmanuel Moseley: Concussion - Out
  • RB Raheem Mostert: Knee - Out
  • TE Jordan Reed: Knee - Out
  • CB K'Waun Williams: Hip - Questionable
  • CB Ahkello Witherspoon: Hamstring - Out

Eagles vs. 49ers - Predictions

  • Score Prediction: San Francisco 24 Philadelphia 20
  • Best Bet: Philadelphia +7


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