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Five Reasons to Bet on the Philadelphia Eagles

Five Reasons to Bet on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

The Eagles represent a tough opponent for the New England Patriots. Listed as 5.5-point underdogs at press time, they're a resilient bunch that has kept things moving forward despite issues that would derail a lot of teams. After a great regular season where they won 13 games, like the Patriots, they have won twice as underdogs in the playoffs, beating a peaking defending conference champion in the Falcons, before smashing the favored Vikings 38-7, in the NFC title game. With how Nick Foles looked at QB and that stout and playmaking defense, they sure look the part of a team that could win the Super Bowl. Here are five reasons why the Eagles might be the right pick at the betting windows for Super Bowl LII.

Depth: This is really an undervalued part of a team's possible success. We always look at the top—the quarterback, key playmakers, and the studs on the other side of the ball. But the Eagles made a lot of offseason moves over the last few years to make the concept of "next man up" a reality. Getting a quality player like Nick Foles who has succeeded at this level was a big key. With a lesser player filling in for budding MVP candidate Carson Wentz, the Eagles wouldn't be here. Having LeGarrette Blount as your main weapon at running back has its pitfalls, so they got Jay Ajayi. Injuries on the offensive line were less-painful with quality reserves ready to go. They have a dandy tight end in Zach Ertz, but behind him are dangerous contributors like Trey Burton and Garrett Celek. Nine different players were in triple-digits receiving. On defense, they are maybe even deeper. Against the Vikings, we saw key plays from guys like Chris Long and picks by Corey Graham and Patrick Robinson—guys who didn't even start the game. There is a lot of room on this team for a bunch of different guys to succeed, as depth is a big part of their transcendent season.

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Defense: In terms of allowing yardage and points, the Eagles were ranked fourth in the league. Their rushing-defense is ranked tops in the league. The stats don't really even do justice. More often than not this season, the defense has been clutch, stout, and capable of making the kinds of big plays that tip close games in their favor. They scored six touchdowns this season. Up-front, guys like Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Tim Jernigan, Brandon Graham, Chris Long, and others have been excellent. Teams aren't running the ball well against this bunch, while opposing quarterbacks are often on-the-run. The strip-sack is always looming when these guys get loose. Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham are the types of linebackers that get in on a ton of plays and really make an impact. A big matchup concern here is the secondary. From a stoutness standpoint, they weren't always great this season. But over the course of the season and into the playoffs, they have gotten better play from guys like Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Patrick Robinson, Corey Graham, and others. In their last 4 games, this defense has given up a total of 33 points. And if Philly looks to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy in this game, this "D" will need to be a big part of the equation.

Slowness of the Public is Registering a Great Team: At some point, you just have to trust what your eyes see. Granted, after last year's collapse, a lot of people expected the same out of the Eagles this season, but it never happened. The public and the media are well-accustomed to the cemented Patriots being a good team. Teams that are newly-successful like the Eagles often are overlooked until they make something big happen. But by the time that happens, the value is gone. Those who seek better betting value get early jumps on things. It's true that this Eagles team is completely unproven at this level. But they've never had the chance to do this, so it's not like the opposite has been proven, either. The way this team was constructed has been very thoughtful and those who are slow to recognize their true level of power could be left grasping for straws when betting this game.

Character: You have to give a team credit when they're able to reverse the momentum. It had been a decade since the once-proud Eagles franchise had won a playoff game before this latest deep playoff run. Last season, a great start to the season fizzled out into a 7-9 record. Andy Reid ran out his welcome, the Chip Kelly era fell flat, and Doug Pederson has been able to turn it around. And on the field, they've shown character. When a team that is doing really well loses a quarterback who is a leading MVP candidate, it's hard to continue on as if not missing a beat. The Eagles have come as close as possible to actually doing that. And the moxie they showed in withstanding the favored Falcons and a late drive, in addition to smashing a favored Vikes team, shows that when it comes to character, this team has what it takes to win a championship.

Coaching: Eagles' head coach Doug Pederson has a nice way about him. He is calm with a strong presence on the sideline. For the Eagles to have stayed on-point after losing Wentz paints his leadership in a good light. Last season, when things started to get sideways, the Eagles had no answers. Pederson was better this season and in just his second season as a head coach, he has gotten the Eagles to just their third Super Bowl. He took a chance on offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who has done a fine job. Jim Schwartz' work with the defense has him in a spot to return to the head coaching ranks next season. The "D" really plays according to his personality and philosophy, as they really get after it. With what this team has been through, for them to post a 31-point win over a favored team in the conference championship shows they're onto something.

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