The line for the upcoming Jacksonville/Pitt clash on October 28 in Pittsburgh moved significantly after the first few bets were placed. It opened around 5.5 points in favor of the home team, then edged toward 8, eventually settling at 7.5 points at the end of the night. It was one of the more intriguing spreads we’ve seen in a while.
What was the reason for the line shift? Let’s take a closer look.
The Favorite Is Back
The line-movement stemmed from increased faith in the team behind quarterback Nick Foles. Many bettors saw a regression to the mean for the Eagles, who went 6-4-1 ATS last season, including a victory over the previously perfect New England Patriots in the playoffs. In that game, Foles threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, completing 73 percent of his passes. He also ran for 48 yards and a score.
Foles, the favorite for this game, is now 7-1 ATS in his career when facing off against the spread. He went 6-1 ATS last year and 4-1 ATS during his MVP season in 2016. The numbers back up the faith, as Foles is 6-3 ATS overall and 5-0 ATS in his career in October games.
The Steelers are equally as impressive in this category, as they’re 14-4 ATS this season, including a 7-0 SU record in October. The only downside to them is that they have a bit of a history when it comes to betting the underdog. Since 2003, they’re 54-53 ATS in October games.
Confidence In Foles’ Playmaking Ability
Foles is back healthy, which is a blessing for the Eagles. He started the season 1-2 but finished strong, including last week’s Monday Night Football performance against the Atlanta Falcons, when he went 19-for-27 for 288 yards and four touchdowns.
Prior to the season, there was a feeling that Foles could regress a bit, considering his strong finish to the 2017 campaign. However, the betting public did not agree, as evidenced by the sharp action on the opening day of NFL betting this season. The over/under for passing yards was set at 280, which was bet on in a variety of ways. Most notably, the wagers favored Foles over that number, as evidenced by some of the early bets we saw.
That level of confidence is exactly what the Eagles’ offense needs to return to its 2018 form. In that regard, the team is 14-4 ATS this season, including 6-1 ATS on the road. They’re also 6-1 ATS in games decided by 7 points or less.
As for the Steelers, they’re at 7-1 ATS this season and 28-16 ATS in October games. The numbers aren’t impressive, but they do indicate an ability for this offense to take control of games, as it has in recent years. If that trend continues, watch out for the Steelers ATS win percentage in October, simply because they’ll be on the opposite end of a lot of spreads.
In the spirit of the upcoming NFL game, let’s take a quick look at some of the trends and statistics that indicate how the public really feels about this game. Looking at the Over/Under for Points Scored, it’s clear that many see this as a low-scoring game. The over had 44 points scored in 2018, while the under had 28 points. Looking at the Over/Under for Total Offense, there are clearly more people who think that this game will be high-scoring. The over had 495 yards scored in 2018, while the under had 402 yards. Finally, when it comes to the Over/Under for Passing Yards, there’s a clear split between those who think that Foles will put up a lot of passing yards and those who think that the rushing attack will have the upper hand. The over had 284 yards scored, while the under had 229.
In all three categories, there’s a clear indication that the public is looking for a low-scoring, high-flying affair. That should make for an interesting season. We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on this game, considering its intrigue and star power as two of the premiere quarterbacks in the league meet on the field for the first time since last year’s Super Bowl. It’s an early betting favorite in the over/under betting market.