New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Betting Odds, Wild Card Prediction ColumnistDecember 31, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 05:   Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints is pushed out of bounds by  Mychal Kendricks #95 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 5, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles had a tough time playing at home earlier this season, losing the first four games they played at Lincoln Financial Field. However, they turned that trend around late in the season and won their last four home games, going 3-0-1 against the spread (ATS).

The New Orleans Saints are back in the playoffs after the debacle of last year, but they got here no thanks to their work on the road, where they were 3-5 straight up (SU) and 1-7 ATS this season.

Nick Foles and the Eagles host Drew Brees and the Saints for an NFC Wild Card playoff game Saturday night.


Eagles-Saints point spread: The Eagles opened as 2.5-point favorites, and the total was 53.5, according to the Odds Shark line updates and matchup report.


Odds Shark computer prediction: 28.6-25.8 Saints


Why the Saints can cover the NFC Wild Card spread

Yes, New Orleans has struggled on the road this season, but with Brees and this aerial attack, the Saints are dangerous in any situation. New Orleans was one of the most balanced teams in the league this season, ranking fourth in both total offense and total defense.

That defense, in its first season under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, also held foes to just 19 points per game, fourth best in the league. Brees likes to spread the wealth as four Saints have caught at least 70 balls this year.

If Philly concentrates on stopping tight end Jimmy Graham, who has caught 16 touchdown passes this season, that should open up the edges for guys like Marques Colston and Darren Sproles.

The computer likes the upset here as well (it also picked the Chiefs over the Colts). Watching Foles struggle last week against a lame Dallas defense gives Saints bettors plenty of reason for optimism.


Why the Eagles can cover the NFC Wild Card spread

Philadelphia started 3-5 this season but ended on a 7-1 run, including Sunday night's victory at Dallas that decided the NFC East. With Foles at quarterback (for the majority of snaps) the Eagles went 9-2 SU, 7-4 ATS and averaged 33 points per game.

Philly ranked second in the league in total offense this year for coach Chip Kelly and ranked No. 1 in rushing at 160 yards per game. And while the Eagles defense ranked just 29th overall, it got better as the season progressed.

Just two of the Eagles' last 12 opponents scored more than 21 points. One of those was Dallas, which managed 22 points Sunday night.


Smart Pick

The Odds Shark NFL computer is calling for an outright Saints victory, but that might have more to do with numbers and statistics than with intangibles and recent form. Philly is the hot team, having won seven of its last eight games, while New Orleans has lost three of its last five contests.

And while the Eagles found out they could win at home in recent weeks, the Saints are a different team on the road than when playing in their dome.

Give the short spread, go with Philly to continue its pattern of covering spreads when getting points (6-1 ATS).


NFC Wild Card Trends

  • Five of the past six meetings played OVER the total.
  • The Saints are 2-9 ATS in their past 11 road games.
  • The Saints are 1-6 SU and ATS in their past seven games as the underdog.
  • The OVER is 10-1-1 in the past 12 Saints playoff games since 1991.
  • The Saints are 0-5 SU on the road in playoffs since 1980.
  • The Eagles have won their last four home games (3-0-1 ATS).
  • The Eagles have won six of their past seven games as the favorite.

Note: All spread and odds data powered by Odds Shark. Follow us on Twitter for injury updates and line move updates.