For the second week in a row on Monday night, we’ll have a staggered start double header with the Philadelphia Eagles kicking off against the Buccaneers at 7pm and the Bengals hosting the Rams at 8:15pm.
Injuries are the story in both of these matchups, but let’s take a look to see if we can extract some betting value.
The Eagles injury report is stacking up for the second week in a row as they head into their matchup with the Bucs.
Per bleedinggreennation.com here were the reports for Thursday’s practice:
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES INJURY REPORT (THURSDAY)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE:
S Terrell Edmunds (illness)
RB Boston Scott (concussion)
WR Quez Watkins (hamstring)
S Reed Blankenship (ribs)
CB James Bradberry (concussion)
DT Fletcher Cox (ribs)
LB Zach Cunningham (ribs)
DT Jordan Davis (ankle)
RB Kenny Gainwell (ribs)
WR DeVonta Smith (hamstring/thigh)
TE Jack Stoll (ankle)
DE Josh Sweat (toe)
The Eagles also placed LB Nakobe Dean on injury reserve on Sept. 12th. Not listed is QB Jalen Hurts, who has an apparent shoulder injury as per Donovan McNabb. I’m not so sure how much I believe this, but needless to say the Eagles have looked a bit out of sync despite their 2-0 start.
On the other hand, the Buccaneers have also gotten off to a 2-0 start, beating the Vikings as underdogs and then handling a drawing Bears team in week 2. Baker Mayfield has done a decent job as a game manager, getting the ball to his weapons, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Racshaad White. The defense has been solid as well, generating a 29.3% pressure rate, good for sixth in the league.
The line opened up at 7 in this one but has come crashing down to -5 or -4.5 across the board. Despite the Buccaneers playing well in the first two games, I think this an overreaction, and this should be the low point for the spread.
The Eagles are coming off extra rest having played on Thursday night last week. Many of the key players listed on the Eagles injury report are still expected to play despite limited participation in practice. The Buccaneers run defense will be put to a real test with both Jalen Hurts and De’Andre Swift on the ground.
The Bucs blitz at a high rate and it will be up to Jalen Hurts to avoid the blitz and make plays happen with his legs. Further, the Bucs haven’t faced a pass rush like the Eagles in 2023 as the Eagles are ranked ahead (3rd) in pressure rate. The Bucs offensive line has been adequate in protection despite obvious concern coming into the year. Philadelphia will be a much more formidable opponent for this unit.
While I agree with a line of -7 being too high for the Eagles, I think the -4.5’s that are available are too low, with -6 as the fair line in my book. I think the Eagles only get positive injury information from this point until Monday night, which could impact the lines towards their side. I’ll take the Eagles at -4.5 -110 for 1%.
Here’s another one with injuries as the biggest question mark, but it comes in the way of star QB Joe Burrow. Burrow injured his calf in the preseason and the Bengals offense has not looked healthy since then. The odds-on favorite to win the AFC North have lost two divisional games this year albeit facing two high quality defenses in the Browns and Ravens.
Burrow is dead last in the league with just 4.2 yards per completion and thus far is the only QB in the NFL yet to complete a pass for more than 15 air yards. Perhaps Burrow is just out of sync with his offense after missing all of training camp or perhaps the lingering calf problem is a bigger issue than we thought?
Burrow found himself on the injury report with a Questionable tag and is currently listed as day-to-day. The Bengals signed a third quarterback on Friday afternoon, adding to the suspicion that Burrow could miss Monday’s game or perhaps even longer.
The Rams opened up as 6-point underdogs which immediately got hit by the market taking them all the way down to 1.5-point underdogs at one point this week. There’s been some back-and-forth movement on this one with the line settling in at -2.5 for the Bengals at this point. While I’m not high on the Rams this season, Matthew Stafford has been airing it out to his wayward cast of characters at wide receiver, making the Rams much more competitive than I’d expect.
I don’t see a world where a Jake Browning led Bengals team is a favorite over the Rams, even playing at home. Should Burrow be ruled out, I’d expect a bunch of money to come in on the Rams moneyline from both squares and sharps. While the line is in this range I would use the Rams as a teaser leg, as you are able to get through 3 and 7 at the moment.
If Burrow goes, the Rams should be able to keep this one close given what we’ve seen from the Bengals in 2023. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rams outright whether Burrow goes or not. Any other teaser leg is viable but for tracking purposes I’ll tease down the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday against the Texans.