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August 16, 2017

Eagles-Bills: Five over/unders for Birds' second preseason game

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The Philadelphia Eagles host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field as the NFL preseason rolls on, getting us one week closer to football that actually matters.

Of, course, there are ways of getting through preseason "football" – I use that term lightly here – and one of those ways is by drinking. It's not allowed in the press box – at least not anymore – but that shouldn't stop you from having a good time. We even have an NFL preseason drinking game to help you do just that.

But if you're actually here for the game, then we've got something to help you as well. Each week, we'll be doing five over/unders for the game. It's basically a "what to watch for" post in the form of various prop bets. You can play along with your friends, or just rip me in the comments when I'm wrong.

Enjoy... 

Total points scored: 39.5

That's the current point total being offered over at Bovada. Where they came up with it, I'll never know. It's hard enough to predict these things during the regular season. But this is preseason football, so if you're seriously gambling on it, you likely have a problem. I know that probably doesn't come off too well in a post about over/unders for Thursday night's game, but I'm not taking bets here. You'll have to call my bookie for that.

OVER (because, why not?).

Nelson Agholor targets: 4.5

At least with this one I can try to put a number on it. In the preseason opener, way back when Jordan Matthews was still an Eagle, Agholor had an off night to say the least. As best I remember, he was only targeted once – a dropped two-point conversion following the Eagles first (and only) touchdown – and also took a handoff from Wentz on an ill-fated jet sweep that went for a one-yard loss.

Now that he's the de-facto starter, you'll likely only see Agholor out there for a couple of drives (roughly the same amount as Wentz and the rest of the first-team offense, maybe a series or two more). Last week, three of Wentz's four pass attempts (not counting the conversion) on the opening drive went to Matthews. And since he's no longer here, someone is going to have to benefit from that. I'm just not entire sold on Agholor being that beneficiary. More and more, I think tight ends Zach Ertz and Trey Burton, two guys who (unlike Agholor) have shown Wentz they can make plays in tough spots, will take a lot of Matthews' suddenly available targets. 

Sorry, to all those new Agholor fans out there. I want to believe it, but I need to see it first – and not just during practice.

UNDER.

Ronald Darby-Jordan Matthews trade references: 2.5

Did you know that the Eagles and Bills recently made a deal that sent a starting wideout to Buffalo and brought a starting cornerback to Philly in return?

Well, by halftime of Thursday night's game you won't be able to forget it. I would've set this number higher, but with Matthews sidelined indefinitely, there won't be as many opportunities to seamlessly work it into the broadcast. Still... 

OVER.  

Times Eagles run the ball: 20.5

Nineteen. That's how many times the Birds ran the ball against the Packers last week. That doesn't seem wise, especially when 50 of their 54 passing attempts came from Matt McGloin and Dane Evans – not to mention the fact that they have a few young running backs who might deserve a longer look.

Expect a healthy dose of the ground game against the Bills, especially once Wentz comes out of the game. [I actually wrote more about this on Tuesday, and you can read that here.]

OVER.

Times broadcasters mention that LeSean McCoy used to play for Eagles: 3.5

It didn't go too well for McCoy in his return to Philly two seasons ago, so much so that he felt the need to blow off the media following the game. It's the preseason, so it'll probably be a more jovial McCoy at the Linc this time around, assuming he's not constantly reminded of the fact that he no longer plays for the team he rooted for as a child. 

[sad emoji]

OVER UNDER. (For a minute there I forgot McCoy will barely be on the field. Yay preseason!)


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