The Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East in their first season under head coach Chip Kelly and enter this season with intentions on getting further than the first round of the playoffs.
But one thing Philly had some trouble with last year was winning and covering on its home field, going just 4-5 straight up and 3-6 against the spread at the Linc. The Eagles open this season as big home favorites for Sunday afternoon's game with the Jaguars.
Point spread: The Eagles opened as 11.5-point favorites; the total was 53. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 25.1-10.3 Eagles
Why the Jaguars can cover the spread
The Jags started very slowly last year, losing their first eight games under new head coach Gus Bradley, but they then won four of their next five games, before dropping their last three.
So they did show a little life, without a whole lot of help from the quarterback spot. Jacksonville also managed to go 3-1 both SU and ATS over its last four road games and won three games outright as underdogs of seven points or more. So the Jags can be dangerous when least expected.
They also face an Eagles team that has struggled in this role as double-digit home chalk and as a team they have beaten three times in four career meetings.
Why the Eagles can cover the spread
The Eagles are loaded up for this season, with a quarterback in place from the start and another camp's worth of coach Kelly's systems under their belt. Philly started 3-5 last year, but with Nick Foles taking over full time at quarterback, the Eagles won seven of their last eight games to win the division.
In the end, Foles had compiled a ridiculous touchdown-to-interception ratio of 27-to-2. And Philly led the league in rushing at a healthy 160 yards per game. As always, out-rushing your opponents seems to be a good way to win games and cover point spreads in the NFL.
Philly had trouble at home last year, while Jacksonville had some success on the road. But trends like that often reverse themselves in short order.
The Eagles should once again run the ball effectively this year, and when the defense is forced to crowd the line, Foles has proven very good at throwing over the top.
The Jags, with Bradley, might be an improved outfit this season, but this is a tough spot. Giving double-digits in the NFL is always an iffy proposition, but the smart money here is to go with the team that's going to win the game, and that's Philly.
- Jaguars 5-1 ATS past six when opening season on the road
- UNDER is 7-2 past nine Philly openers
- Jaguars 3-1 SU and ATS lifetime vs. Eagles
- Eagles 0-4 ATS since 2009 as double-digit home chalk
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