A quick review here first.........
My contest plays- the Florida contest where I finished 2nd last year, TY I finished in the teens somewhere and did not cash anything- maybe 15th out of 100 in the end. That's a quick $1000 gone. The Circa contest, where I was trying for the worst record instead of the best, crapped out mid-way through the season (I did manage to get up to 10th worst out of over 4400+ for a while but I was winning more than losing the last month or so and crashed and burned in the end. Once legal gambling came to MD in December, I took advantage of early signups and ended up depositing a grand total of $35, and have already pulled out $3600 (including $2000 yesterday). I left $1000 in and bet it all last night- see below.
This weeks bet- $1000 bet on the Under 45.5 in the Philly/SF game.
We should expect a close game here, as the line is under 3. Both teams have stacked rosters on both sides of the ball, and the home field and stronger QB should make Philly the slight favorite. S.F. has the 2nd best overall defense in the league, the Eagles have the best pass rush in the league and have allowed 200 net passing yards just once in the last 7 games. Some rankings have the Eagles #1 in defense. Lets give it a close look.
Philly finished #2 in Pass Blocking Efficiency (89.9) and entered the Divisional round with the fewest sacks (11) and QB hits allowed (9). It's their strength on offense. Hurts has the time to throw and the ability to avoid and run when necessary. S.F. finished with the 5th best pass rush win rate (46%) and they normally do not have to blitz to create pressure. It's key that both Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead remain healthy for the rush to be effective.
S.F. only defensive weakness is the secondary. Cornerback Deommondore Lenoire is considered a liability as is safety Talanaoa Hufanga. The key for S.F. is to make sure Jalen Hurts doesn't get the time to air it out long to A.J. Brown and De Vonta Smith. Expect S.F. to bring more blitzes this week to accomplish that.
Again this week, S.F. will not ask Purdy to do to much, limiting his mistakes against a tough defense. Against Dallas, he went 19 for 29 for 214 total passing yards and had 3 runs for 8 yards. His longest completion was to George Kittle for 31 yards and he had 4 completions of 17 yards or more total. Philly's secondary is way better than Dallas's and it won't be as easy this week. S.F. ran the ball for 32 plays and passed for 26 against Dallas, for a relatively even game plan. Purdy had no interceptions or fumbles last week.
Philly depends more on their QB, and Hurts threw for 154 yards and ran for 34 more. He had 2 TD passed, no fumbles or interceptions. All comments made state he's 100% healthy again. Philly had 44 rushes and 24 pass plays, which was skewed by the Eagles big lead and time consumming drives.
So, the nitty gritty. Purdy is only the 5th rookie QB to start a conference championship game and none of the previous 4 has been able to win the game. Actually, he has only played in 1 road game as a starter- week 15 in Seattle. Well, he started in Las Vegas in week 17, but 50+% or more of the fans were from S.F. It was almost like a home game for him. Philly owns the #1 pass defense and will severely limit what Purdy is able to do.
One more note- Lane Johnson, Philly's Right Tackle. I've mentioned before how important he is to the Eagles offense. He seemed to do a decent job last week (remember, he's still injured with off-season surgery planned), although I remember him leaving the game once or twice and not looking entirely comfortable on the field. He'll have a tougher time against S.F., as I suspect they will "pick" on him a lot more than the NYG did.
Two great defenses, and 2 very good offenses (#2 and #6 points scored). I suspect both defenses are better than the opposing offenses. I'm thinking it will be a close and conservative game plan, as both teams are playing their hardest opponent of the year. Maybe 6-7 FG's and 3 TD's for a 21-17 or maybe 23-20 type game.
******A quick note: I'm seeing the line rising to 46 at some places, I was able to cancel the bet at Pointsbet for no fee. The line there remains at 45.5. Let's see if I can get it at 46, then I'll pull the trigger again.