• Baker set to face the music: Enter a matchup with Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter, along with dominant edge rushers Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat, and life figures to be much harder for Baker Mayfield, who will likely find himself under duress far more often than has been the case in the first two weeks.
• The Bottom line: These teams are in different tiers. Arguably the league's worst interior offensive line will be going against the league's best interior defensive line, and when you add a QB whose drawbacks are affected by pressure, it sets up for a spot to buy the Eagles on the alt line.
• Running it back: Judah Fortgang's same-game parlays gave a $100 bettor an 86.1% ROI in 2022.
Many bettors place wagers in multiple markets — spreads, totals, teasers, props, etc. — where they generally get oriented by following a bottom-up approach: “Which spreads do I like?” or “Which totals stand out this week?”
However, the goal in this space is to follow a top-down approach. We will take a deep dive into one game a week and consider how bettors can best apply a specific theory on a team, player or trend and capitalize on it in the betting market.
Some bets will track more traditional markets, but we will more often look to maximize our upside in the multitude of different markets offered by sportsbooks.
Philadelphia Eagles -5.5 & RB Rachaad White Under 50 rushing yards (+200)
• As always, let us set the base expectations for the teams by looking at the team fundamentals.
• In terms of how well the teams have moved the ball and prevented their opponents from moving the ball — something the earned drive points metric can describe — the teams are in completely different tiers.
• On the defensive side, both teams are a bit worse than league average.
• While the Eagles have not yet lived up to their 2023 output, they remain a terrific offense relative to league average.
• Offensively, the teams are not in the same tier.
• What further elevates the Eagles in this matchup is their floor in sustaining drives both through the run and pass, especially compared to the Bucs.
• The Eagles have a dominant offensive line, the rushing ability of Jalen Hurts and several talented backs who can grind out yards run after run on their way to success. And if teams load the box, good luck stopping A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith in single coverage on the outside.
• Meanwhile, the Bucs have relied on their run game to sustain offensive drives. And when they pass more than expected, the offense has been a bottom-five unit.
• However, the Eagles run defense has allowed a minuscule 2.9 yards per carry and the third-fewest expected points added (EPA) per play. With Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis up front, there’s good reason to think this will be one of the most effective run defenses in football.
Considering the fundamentals, the added mismatch between the Bucs' interior offensive line and the Eagles defensive line makes this my alt line of the week.
• The Bucs interior offensive line is a huge weak spot. And while pressure has not been an issue for the Bucs so far this season — Baker Mayfield has thrown from clean pockets at the third-highest rate in the NFL — that was every bit a function of playing the weak lines of the Vikings and Bears.
• Enter a matchup with Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter, along with dominant edge rushers Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat, and life figures to be much harder for Mayfield, who will likely find himself under duress far more often than has been the case in the first two weeks.
• Since coming into the league, Mayfield has had some drastic splits when playing under pressure vs. not, and he’s only gotten worse over time. In 2022, Baker was sacked on 31% of his pressured dropbacks, the highest rate in the NFL. His PFF grade under pressure was in the 30s and also at the very bottom of the league.
• Compounding this advantage is that the matchup angles would only be magnified if the Eagles jump ahead in this game. Teams' pass-rush production increases in obvious passing situations, and this would heighten Baker's trait of turning pressures into sacks. This would mean few plays run for the Bucs as drives stall quickly and that the Eagles would run a slow offense leaning on the success of their run game.
Bottom line: These teams are in different tiers. Arguably the league's worst interior offensive line will be going against the league's best interior defensive line, and when you add a QB whose drawbacks are affected by pressure, it sets up for a spot to buy the Eagles on the alt line.