Sunday Night Football Preview

Washington at Eagles

Each week, TheLines will provide a betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game. We’ll look at SNF betting odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup.

The Washington Football Team (6-9) and Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1) were flexed into primetime for the NFL’s 2020 regular-season finale. Washington needs a win at Lincoln Financial Field to win the NFC East and secure the conference’s fourth playoff seed regardless of what happens between the Dallas Cowboys (6-9) and New York Giants (5-10) earlier in the day. Kickoff will be at 8:20 p.m. ET in a rematch of the Week 1 game between the two rivals which Washington won 27-17.

This game means little for the Eagles other than continuing to test out rookie QB Jalen Hurts. He has impressed with his dual-threat play but comes into his fourth NFL start at 1-2 since replacing Carson Wentz under center. Philadelphia was knocked out of playoff contention with a 37-17 loss at the rival Cowboys last week.

Washington has been stumbling down the stretch with two straight losses after a surprising four-game win streak put them in the division’s driver’s seat. It lost 20-13 at home to the Carolina Panthers last week. QB Dwayne Haskins Jr., a 2019 first-round pick who started both of the last two games, was released earlier this week. Former practice squad QB Taylor Heinicke was slated to start this Sunday’s game but Alex Smith (calf) has been cleared to return and will start for Washington.

SNF betting odds and analysis

 

Washington is a point favorite to beat the Eagles and book its playoff ticket. The Football Team opened as 1-point favorites last week.

The projected total of points is the fourth-lowest number on the 16-game Week 17 slate.

Philadelphia was a 5.5-point road favorite ahead of Washington’s 27-17 upset win in the season-opener. The game played to the Over on a line of 41.5. Washington is favored for just the third time on the season and has gone 1-1 straight up and against the spread in the previous two games.

Here are the key betting trends to know for the Washington vs. Philadelphia Week 17 SNF matchup:

  • Washington is 9-6 ATS and covers the spread by 4.0 points per game. Philadelphia is just 5-10 ATS and fails to cover by 3.8 PPG.
  • The Eagles are 7-8 on the O/U and play 1.7 PPG above the lines. The Football Team is 5-10 against the number while falling an average of 2.4 points below the line.
  • This will be Philadelphia’s ninth time as an underdog this season. It’s 4-4 ATS in those situations but 2-1 ATS as a home underdog. Head coach Doug Pederson is just 4-8 ATS as a home dog since taking over in Philadelphia in 2016. His teams have fallen an average of 9.7 points below the line.
  • Washington is 0-2 ATS as the favorite this season and failed to cover by 9.8 PPG.
  • Washington’s win in Week 1 snapped a six-game losing skid against Philadelphia. It hasn’t swept a head-to-head season series since doing so in both 2015 and 2016. The season series has been split just twice since 2008.

Washington at Eagles game matchup

 

 

Smith already made one inspiring return from injury this season to help lead Washington’s mid-season resurgence. He has completed 66.4% of his passes for 1,420 yards and four touchdowns against six interceptions. He’s 4-1 in five starts with two relief appearances.

Washington’s key offensive pieces are banged up but WR Terry McLaurin (ankle) and rookie RB Antonio Gibson will give it a go against Philly.

Hurts, the No. 53 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, received his first start in Week 14. He stunned the New Orleans Saints in a 24-21 win for the Eagles while throwing for 167 yards and a touchdown with another 106 yards coming on the ground. He has thrown for a total of 847 yards and five touchdowns against two interceptions in his three starts with another 238 yards and one score on the ground.

The Eagles have a wide variety of injuries. Dallas Goedert, Fletcher Cox, Miles Sanders, DeSean Jackson, Derek Barnett and Jordan Mailata are some of the players that will miss the finale.

Washington’s Week 1 win over Philadelphia was fueled by a defense that sacked Wentz eight times. WFT has 36 team sacks over its last 14 games and ranks third in ESPN’s Team Pass Rush Win Rate. The Eagles have improved to 10th in Team Pass Block Win Rate but Hurts has taken nine sacks in the last two games.

The Eagles rank just 17th overall by Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA and are 12th by rush DVOA. Washington is second in total DVOA and will again need to rely on its strong defensive front.

Both teams struggle to protect the ball; Washington has a turnover differential of minus-5 while Philadelphia is minus-9. Washington has a slight edge in average time of possession but both teams have had the ball less than 50% of the time.

Best SNF betting sites

How to watch Sunday Night Football

NBC will air all Sunday Night Football games.

The Week 17 TV spot on Jan. 3, 2021 will remain open until much later in the season, as potential playoff battles will factor into the league’s flexible scheduling decisions.

Games are also streamed all season on NBC’s website and the NBCSports mobile apps. Most packages on streaming services such as fuboTV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV include NBC.

SNF drew an average of 20.5 million viewers in 2019. It was Sunday Night Football’s best ratings in four years.

SNF’s Week 1 TV ratings in 2020 were not great, however, as there was a 15% drop in viewership from the previous year. The game in 2020 featured Cowboys vs. Rams, while the 2019 opener was the Patriots vs. Steelers.

SNF betting tips

How to bet Sunday Night Football like a sharp

The hype and hoopla circulating Sunday Night Football can distract casual bettors. Analysts, reporters and local news crews have a full week to pump out every different angle to the game and dig for stories. Players can add to the mirage on social media whether by talking up their own team or taking too many shots at the opposition.

Learn to separate the hype from fact and don’t fall victim to live-betting out of boredom if the game ends up being a dud. Look at the lines early in the week to assess the odds before the public money starts pouring in and either bet on the numbers set by the books or sit and wait to see if the line shifts in your favor. Reassess later in the week and bet against the public if the line shifts too heavily based on nothing more than favoritism.

The standalone nature of the game also draws in more bets. The entire nation is focused on one single game, which, more often than not, is no bigger than the dozen or so games that preceded it that week. Never bet just to add to the excitement (or create excitement around a lackluster matchup) if wanting long-term success. Wait to see if the favorite falls behind early and then is given a high number as a sudden in-game underdog. Carefully browse through lines on prop bets, looking at different sportsbooks and pick the best value. Shop around and pick on a book that seems out of touch with the others. Don’t scoff at an easier play on the point spread in search of a big payday with a heavy underdog winning outright.

Sunday Night Football edges

Primetime games often see home teams too heavily favored. Do the research, keep up to date with injury news and look at the matchup in a vacuum to see if the odds check out. Don’t look too much at individual players returning to their hometown, being reported as having “extra motivation” or who may be close to statistical milestones. Few wide receivers, for example, can seriously impact a game on their own, especially when facing a top corner who’s fully aware of their motivation in the one-on-one matchup.

Look for teams and especially head coaches who thrive under the spotlight and more importantly the additional preparation time. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots receive more primetime slots than the average team. This experience provides an edge in certain matchups against teams who may be overwhelmed from added media attention and interview requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Sunday Night Football start?

Sunday Night Football kicks off every week from Sept. 13 through Jan. 3 at 8:20 p.m. Eastern. The ‘Football Night in America’ pregame show begins at 7 p.m. Eastern. NBC first started airing SNF for the 2006 season, taking over from ESPN.

How to stream Sunday Night Football?

Never miss a SNF game when you’re on the go with the NBCSports mobile apps. Cord-cutters can also use streaming services such as Hulu which includes NBC in most of its packages.

Who are the SNF announcers?

Booth announcers Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (color commentary) provide the broadcast each week. Field reporter Michele Tayofa and rules expert Terry McAulay join in. Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio make up the pregame show.

Who was the original Sunday Night Football broadcast crew?

Cris Collinsworth replaced legendary former head coach John Madden as the color commentator beside Michaels in 2009.

Who sings the Sunday Night Football theme song?

Country music star Carrie Underwood has been singing the SNF theme since 2013. She replaced fellow country star Faith Hill, who took over from pop star Pink after just one season in 2007. The current song is titled “Game On”. Previous versions were “Oh, Sunday Night” and “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” in 2016.