The Philadelphia Eagles are the talk of the National Football League heading into the 2011 season, but professional bettors are lining up in droves to fade the public Thursday night when they play host to the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field.
Head coach Andy Reid presents quite an against-the-spread dichotomy during preseason action, posting an 0-7 ATS mark in Week 1, but bounces back nicely with a 10-2 ATS record the following week.
In last year's preseason opener, Philadelphia came away with a 28-27 victory over Jacksonville, but failed to cover the three-point spread. The Eagles trailed, 27-19, after three quarters of action before rallying for nine fourth-quarter points.
Quarterback Michael Vick came off the bench in that contest, completing 11-of-17 passes for 119 yards and an interception. He is likely to sit out this year's exhibition opener to allow newly-acquired backup Vince Young more playing time.
Word out of camp is Vick is forming a special chemistry with receiver Jason Avant, as starting wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin continue to miss first-team offensive drills.
Jackson is expected to end his holdout Monday, while no timetable has been given for Maclin to resume full duties due to an illness. It's safe to say that neither will be an available option against the Ravens.
The free agency period has formed a new sense of optimism around the franchise, as new cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie join Asante Samuel to form a formidable secondary.
Don't expect the trio to start blanketing opposing wide receivers until a Week 2 exhibition road contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug.18.
Philadelphia is currently a 3.5-point home favorite and the total stands at 36.