NFL playoffs 2014, Saints vs. Eagles: Betting odds, Wild Card pick, trends, preview

The computer likes the Saints in an upset over the Eagles in the first NFC Wild Card. The odds favor Philadelphia by less than a field goal, but can a dome team win in January on the road?

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

Riding into the playoffs on a 7-1 SU and 5-2-1 ATS run, the Philadelphia Eagles host the New Orleans Saints in the first NFC Wild Card game Saturday.

Philadelphia is currently a 2.5-point favorite at home, according to most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com. But the main NFL prediction computer likes the Saints in a 29-26 upset.

Chip Kelly and the Eagles endured some growing pains over the course of a 3-5 SU and ATS first half, but the team emerged as a contender down the stretch with a strong finish on both sides of the ball.

Nick Foles had the offense clicking with great consistency over the team's last eight games, scoring 33.25 points per game and never less than 24 in a game over that stretch. The Eagles' defense did its part in securing the division-clinching win over Dallas and holding opponents to 20 points or less in eight of Philadelphia's last 11 games.

"The recent trend is that Philly wins and covers as favorites and that the Saints lose and fail to cover as underdogs, so it's a pretty simple formula for Wild Card bettors who believe those patterns will continue," explained Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.

With a 42-17 win over Tampa Bay last week, the New Orleans Saints clinched their playoff spot and improved to 8-0 SU and 7-0-1 ATS at home. Unfortunately for the Saints, they'll be on the road this postseason, and the road hasn't treated this team well at all.

New Orleans is just 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS in its last six road games, averaging just 13.3 points per game over its last four road games. It is hard to believe how severely home field advantage affects this team.

And it's not just a one-year phenomenon. They have played five playoff road games since 1980 and lost them all, according to the NFL playoff odds database. And can a dome team win in the cold in January?

These two teams have played just once since 2009, meeting in November of last year with the Saints coming out on top 28-13. The total went UNDER in that game, and has gone UNDER in six of Philadelphia's last 10 games and in six of New Orleans' last seven games.

New Orleans has the talent on both sides of the ball to compete with anyone, as indicated in impressive wins over Arizona, San Francisco and Carolina this year. But all three of those wins came at home, and the Saints' 3-5 SU and 1-7 ATS record is hard to ignore.

With the way that Philadelphia is playing right now and the fact that the Eagles have home field advantage, it is going to be an uphill battle for the Saints to get over their road woes in this one.

NFC Wild Card trends: (trends on all four games)

Five of the past six meetings played OVER the total

Saints are 2-9 ATS past 11 road games

Saints are 1-6 SU and ATS past seven games as underdog

OVER is 10-1-1 past 12 Saints playoff games since 1991

Saints are 1-5 SU on the road in playoffs since 1980

Eagles won last four home games (3-0-1 ATS)

Eagles won six of past seven games as favorite

Eagles vs Saints computer prediction: 29-26 New Orleans

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