There are a few reasons I'm taking the points and "sprinkling" on the Washington Commanders (4-5) when they visit the Philadelphia Eagles (8-0) at Lincoln Financial Field for Monday Night Football in Week 10.
First of all, don't just bet Washington's moneyline because Philadelphia is the best team in the NFL by both net expected points added per play (EPA/play) and net success rate.
Also, the Eagles humiliated Washington in Week 4, 24-8. Eagles QB Jalen Hurts lit the Commanders up. Hurts threw for 340 passing yards with a 3/0 TD/INT ratio and a 123.5 QB Rating.
But, there's value in Washington at nearly 4-to-1 to end Philly's undefeated season. The loss of Washington QB Carson Wentz is "addition by subtraction" for the Commanders and D.C.'s defense can make Philadelphia's offense one-dimensional.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
Heinicke to the rescue
Wentz's replacement, QB Taylor Heinicke, started a playoff game for Washington in 2020 and was 7-8 as a starter for the Commanders in 2021. Washington rolled the dice with the Wentz trade because Heinicke isn't a franchise QB but the Commanders are better off with Heinicke under center.
His QB Rating, TD%, sack rate and adjusted passing yards per attempt are all better than Wentz's. Washington is 2-1 straight up (SU) and 2-0-1 ATS in Heinicke's three starts from Week 7-9. The bottom line is the Commanders look rejuvenated and like a better team with Heinicke at QB.
Washington's edge in the ground game
Entering Week 10, Washington's defense is second in rushing EPA/play and fourth in rushing success rate. While stopping the run is the Achilles' heel of Philadelphia's defense. The Eagles are dead-last in rushing defense success rate and 31st in rushing defensive EPA/play.
If Washington can bottle up Philly's rushing attack and force Hurts to convert consecutive 3rd-and-longs then the Commanders can get the Eagles off the field. They ran for just 72 yards in Week 3 vs. Washington.
Hurts tends to hold the ball too long and 24th in sacked rate. The Commanders' defense is fourth in 3rd-down conversion rate allowed and sixth in red zone situations.
Philly got trampled on the ground last week by the Houston Texans in a 29-17 win. Texans Rookie RB Dameon Pierce ran for 139 yards on 23 carries even though Houston's QB (Davis Mills) is one of the worst starters in the NFL.
I don't trust Philadelphia to cover a double-digit spread in this spot with Washington's season is on the line. Betting teams laying 10-plus points is a good idea only if they have an edge in all phases of the game.
Philly's sky-high stock
This has to be a sell-high spot for the Eagles who are double-digit favorites in a primetime game vs. a divisional foe. Since 2017, double-digit primetime favorites are 5-8 ATS.
More importantly, this number has moved too much from the preseason look-ahead line of Philadelphia -3.5. Washington was projected to be a .500 team at best and the stat nerds at Football Outsiders predicted the Eagles to win the NFC.
Everything we've seen thus far in 2022 confirms those projections. Granted, Philly looks like a powerhouse but an additional 7 points to the line?! That's too much line movement. My Commanders-Eagles line has Philadelphia laying 7.5 points.
Lastly, as goofy as it sounds, I just think Washington gives Philly hell on MNF. The Eagles aren't going 17-0 and they are bound to lose a couple of games down the stretch.