After sitting atop the NFC for a majority of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles are now staring at the possibility of an early playoff exit. Hoping to avoid that fate, they’ll visit the NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday to conclude Wild Card Weekend.
Philadelphia opened as a 2.5-point favorite and has climbed to -3 on the NFL point spread and -155 on the moneyline, with Tampa Bay priced +130 to win outright. The projected total is 44.
What can bettors expect? Read on as we break down both NFL teams and give our Eagles vs Buccaneers expert pick.
Eagles Cough Up Division, Settle for Wild Card
Philadelphia opened as +800 to win the Super Bowl and climbed as high as +450 after its Week 11 victory over Kansas City. Despite spending a majority of the season in first place, the Eagles find themselves having to open the playoffs on the road as the NFC’s No. 5 seed.
It’s the result of a late-season tailspin that saw the Eagles drop five of their last six NFL games and squander the NFC East lead to Dallas. The Eagles also went 0-6 ATS during that stretch and allowed an average of 30.3 points. As such, they’ve watched their Super Bowl odds sink to +1800.
As if their recent woes aren’t troubling enough, the Eagles are now dealing with a multitude of injuries to key NFL players, including quarterback Jalen Hurts (finger) and receiver A.J. Brown (knee).
Bucs Keep Beating the Odds
An afterthought coming into the NFL season, the Buccaneers overcome +700 odds to win the NFC South at 9-8. Granted, they were just a smidge over .500, but the Buccaneers will roll into the playoffs as one of the NFL’s hottest teams. They won five of their final six games, including a 9-0 shutout of Carolina in Week 18 to lock up the division.
Tampa Bay is still only +2800 to win the NFC, but the resurgence of Baker Mayfield promises to make the Buccaneers a trendy upset pick against Philadelphia. Mayfield, who was signed merely as a one-year bridge option to replace Tom Brady, has enjoyed a renaissance in the Sunshine State.
The former No. 1 overall pick has thrown for a career-high 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns to go with just 10 interceptions.
The Buccaneers rank 17th in passing offense (224.2 yards/game) but are averaging a league-low 88.8 rushing yards.
They’ve been especially profitable for bettors, going 11-6 ATS. Their 64.7% cover rate is matches the second-highest in the NFL behind only Detroit (70.6%).
The Buccaneers covered in four of their last five games, including three consecutive weeks as an underdog. At the same time, they’re just 6-11 against the Over/Under. That’s important to remember when analyzing ourEagles vs Buccaneers expert pick.
Down and (Almost) Out
Nick Sirianni’s decision to play a majority of his starters in Week 18 backfired. With receiver DeVonta Smith, running back D’Andre Swift and cornerback Darius Slay already out with injuries, the Eagles lost safety Sydney Brown to a season-ending torn ACL.
Brown, Hurts, guard Cam Jurgens (eye) and safety Reed Blankenship (groin) also left hurt. A 5.5-point favorite, Philadelphia was largely outplayed in a 27-10 loss to the Giants and dropped to 11-6.
The Eagles still have the third-best odds to win the NFC at +800, matching Detroit. But if their recent play is any indication, the Eagles may not be long for the NFL playoffs. Even with a victory over Tampa Bay, the defending NFC champions are likely to find themselves hitting the road to play either San Francisco or Dallas in the Divisional Round. Both would be tall assignments.
Philadelphia started 7-4 ATS but failed to cover in each of its last six games. It also went 9-8 against the Over/Under but went Under the total in seven of its nine road games. Be sure to keep that in mind when assessing our Eagles vs Buccaneers expert pick.
Health Bears Watching
Sirianni has expressed optimism about his team being healthy for Monday, but we still don’t know to what extent. Even if Brown and Hurts are able to play, will they be compromised? A majority of bettors don’t seem overly concerned, as early money’s trended toward Philadelphia.
Given their recent struggles, the Eagles simply can’t afford to be at less than full strength.