Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


San Francisco 49ers are 2.5-point dogs at the Philadelphia Eagles - 2023 NFC Championship odds and pick

Jan 23, 2023 at 4:59 PM--



The San Francisco 49ers may have prioritized game management and not won style points in grinding to a 19-12 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round, but kept its winning streak alive to advance to the conference championship. The Niners will be underdogs for the first time since Week 8 when they travel to the east coast to take on the number one seeded Philadelphia Eagles to decide who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.

  • When: Sunday, January 29th, 2023 at 12:00pm PT (FOX)
  • Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Line: 49ers +2.5 (-105), o/u 45.5

Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles laid waste to an overmatched New York Giants team, totaling 268 rushing yards between 44 carries from Kenneth Gainwell, Miles Sanders, Jalen Hurts and Boston Scott, with Gainwell, Sanders and Scott each scoring a rushing touchdown. Hurts threw touchdown passes to Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, completing 16 of 24 passes for 154 yards. The Eagles defense sacked Daniel Jones 5 times and intercepted him once.

After the regular season, Philadelphia ranks 3rd in total DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at 25.2 percent, 3rd in total offensive DVOA at 15.1 percent with a 9th ranked offensive pass DVOA at 23.9 percent and 1st ranked offensive rush DVOA at 15.4 percent. The Eagles defense is rated 6th in defensive DVOA at -9.7 percent with a 3rd rated defensive pass DVOA at -15.5 percent and 21st rated defensive rush DVOA at -1.9 percent.

Jalen Hurts is 10th in defense-adjusted yards above replacement (DYAR) at 703 and 4th in total QBR at 66.7 with 22 touchdown passes, 6 interceptions, 2 fumbles lost and a 66.5 completion percentage, averaging 4.6 yards per carry with 760 total rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. Philadelphia's offensive line is 6th in run blocking with 4.66 adjusted line yards and 21st in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate of 7.7 percent. The Eagles' defensive line is 22nd against the run with 4.54 adjusted line yards and 1st with an adjusted sack rate of 11.2 percent.

The Eagles are 9-9 ATS and 10-8 to the over/under with 3 straight games and 4 of their last 5 going under the total. The Eagles are 7-3 ATS as a home favorite, 9-5 ATS after a win and 6-4 to the over/under as a home favorite. Receiver A.J. Brown is questionable and cornerback Avonte Maddox is out for the championship game.

San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers tried to minimize the risk of Brock Purdy turning the ball over, and though there were a few passes that came very close to being intercepted by the Cowboys, winning the turnover differential by intercepting Dak Prescott twice to Ray-Ray McCloud III's one fumble was really the difference in this closely contested game between playoff rivals. Elijah Mitchell and Christian McCaffrey averaged 3.6 and 3.5 yards per carry, respectively, and George Kittle led receivers with 5 catches for 95 yards.

After the regular season, San Francisco ranks 2nd in total DVOA at 27.6 percent, 6th in total offensive DVOA at 13.2 percent with a 3rd ranked offensive pass DVOA at 35.7 percent and 13th ranked offensive rush DVOA at -0.5 percent. The 49er defense is rated 1st in total defensive DVOA at -14.1 percent with a 5th rated defensive pass DVOA at -8.0 percent and 2nd rated defensive rush DVOA at -23.6 percent.

Brock Purdy finished the regular season with a DYAR of 397 and total QBR of 65.6 with 13 touchdown passes, 4 interceptions, zero fumbles and a 67.1 completion percentage. San Francisco's offensive line is 4th in run blocking with 4.70 adjusted line yards and 10th in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate of 6.3 percent. The Niners' defensive line is 2nd against the run with 3.78 adjusted line yards and 16th with an adjusted sack rate of 7.0 percent.

The 49ers are 13-6 ATS and 10-9 to the over/under. San Francisco is 3-4 ATS as the away team, 1-0 ATS as an away underdog, 2-0 to the over/under as an underdog, 3-4 to the over/under as the away team. Cornerback Ambry Thomas, running backs Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell and defensive end Charles Omenihu are questionable, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is out for the championship game.

Prediction

The instant reaction to the divisional round might be to perceive Philadelphia as a rightful top seed, elite on both sides of the ball and most likely to reach the Super Bowl with a home game against a rookie quarterback in Brock Purdy who looked every bit a game manager that is in for a rude awakening in the hostile environment in Philadelphia.

So are the Eagles a lock to win the NFC championship and is the betting value on Philadelphia laying less than a field goal at home with an extra day of rest and the more experienced quarterback? The betting line movement suggests that the market has more faith in Philadelphia as it has steadily crept toward the home team, with some rogue 3's appearing at some books. And if we are being honest, this line appears to be enticing bettors to take Philadelphia.

How reliable has market movement been during these 2023 playoffs? In the wild card round, the market moved against the 49ers, Jaguars, Cowboys, Vikings, Ravens and Dolphins and only the Vikings failed to cover. In the divisional round, the market moved against the 49ers, Bengals, Jaguars and Giants and only the Giants failed to cover. So 70 percent of the playoff teams that have had the market move against them have covered the spread in these playoffs.

Eagles backers will argue that the 49ers have not faced an offense as good as Philadelphia's, but this is not accurate as San Francisco did face the top rated team in offensive DVOA in the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7. The 49ers defense did get throttled by Patrick Mahomes but that was 13 weeks ago in October with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback and this is a different San Francisco team that appears to have learned from its failings against the Chiefs' dynamic offense as it has not lost since that game. And in January when the weather is cold and the stakes are high, do they say offense wins championships or is it the other way around?

What is an undeniable fact is that Philadelphia has not faced a defense like San Francisco's, and the Eagles top rated rushing offense has not been tested against the likes of the Niners top rated rushing defense. In its two home losses, Philadelphia's rushing attack was limited to 94 yards on 20 carries in a 21-32 loss to the Washington Commanders and 67 yards on 15 carries in a 10-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints. How or why should we expect the Eagles offense to do better against San Francisco's rushing defense than it did against the Commanders or Saints at home? If the Niners take away the running game will Jalen Hurts be able to win the game using just his arm?

On the other side of the ball, Brock Purdy and the 49ers just faced the team with the highest total defensive DVOA they have faced all year, and though it wasn't pretty, Brock Purdy did not turn the ball over and San Francisco won the game. Sure, Philadelphia is one of the most inhospitable places to visit as a road team and it has an elite defensive front, but how much harder of a time will Purdy and the Niners offense have against a team rated 6th in total defensive DVOA after managing a win against the team rated 2nd in total defensive DVOA?

During its 12 game winning streak, the 49ers beat teams ranked 4th (Miami), 5th (Dallas) 8th (Washington), 12th (Los Angeles Rams), 13th (Tampa Bay) and 17th (New Orleans) in defensive rush DVOA. The Philadelphia Eagles feature a defense that is ranked 21st in rush DVOA, and it is the Eagles rush defense that Kyle Shanahan will hone in on as Philadelphia's Achilles heel (while concurrently minimizing potential risk with his quarterback), and if Shanahan and a 49ers run game that has improved over the latter half of the season are successful in exploiting the Eagles run defense, they will control and win a lower scoring game.

In its home loss to Washington, Philadelphia's defense conceded 152 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns on 49 carries. In its home loss to New Orleans, the Eagles gave up 129 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on 35 carries. In 3 of its 4 regular season losses, San Francisco totaled less than 21 rushing attempts, and if they are able to pound the rock for more than 30 carries the 49ers will go to the Super Bowl. The mantras are simple: run the ball, stop the run, defense wins championships.

Brock Purdy will become the 5th rookie to start a conference championship game, with the previous 4, including Shaun King, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez, all losing. But if we are to believe the trends as predictors of what will transpire, it also might be worth noting that footballoutsiders.com has San Francisco as the top rated team in weighted DVOA among the very close final four remaining teams, and that among the previous 7 closest final four remaining teams between 1981-2022, the top rated team in weighted DVOA went on to win the Super Bowl 6 times with the only exception coming in 1981 when the 49ers won it all as the team ranked 12th in weighted DVOA.

When these teams met last year in the city of brotherly love, the score was 7-3 San Francisco at half and the final score was 17-11 San Francisco with 18 of the points being scored in the 4th quarter. While these are different teams this season, they feature many of the same players at key positions who are now contending with increased pressure with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, and if the 49ers are able to get the run game going as we anticipate, we foresee another low scoring game in a series that has seen the last 4 contests between these teams finishing under the posted total.

Pick: Under 45.5
Bonus Pick#1: (1H) Under 23
Bonus Pick#2: 49ers +2.5 (but wait for a 3 or better, likely to come later in the week)

2022 Season ATS: 13-14

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  • Eagles -2.5
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