When the Eagles won the Super Bowl, they used the perceived disrespect they got from oddsmakers as a rallying cry. No conference No. 1 seed had ever been underdogs in the divisional round, so when they held on and beat Atlanta, which was favored by 2.5 points, dog masks became all the rage.
Here we are four seasons later. The coach is gone, the quarterbacks are gone, the d-back who made the game-saving play on Julio Jones is gone, and the only player left who scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl (Zach Ertz) is just about gone.
The Eagles are in transition and Vegas is noticing. The SuperBook at Westgate has put out opening lines for every NFL game and the Eagles are underdogs in 14 of their 17 contests. The anomalies are the Week 8 visit to Detroit, which is a pick, and the December home games against Washington and the Giants, where the Eagles are 1.5-point favorites.
In nine of their 17 games, however, the line is no more than a field goal, which is worth noting. The full chart is below.
“Any of these games that are priced at like three points or less are basically like a pick ‘em game,” said Ed Salmons, vice president of risk management for SuperBook. “You could be a 2.5-point ‘dog now, but by the time the season starts and the game’s played, you’re a three-point favorite. It doesn’t take much to change it.”
The SuperBook, which expects to open online operations in New Jersey next month, has installed limits of $2,000 on point spread bets (also known as the “sides”) and $500 on over/unders (aka “totals”).
“If we’d have done this exercise last year in the spring, Dallas would have been favored against the Eagles [in Week 16], but who knew that Dak Prescott was going to get hurt?” said Salmons, a 1980 graduate of West Deptford. “It changes everything.”
The Eagles went off as three-point favorites and got smoked 37-17.
The Eagles, 4-11-1 last season straight up, were 6-10 against the spread, according to VegasInsider.com. They were an awful 1-7 against the number on the road. Nine of their 16 games fell under the total points line.
The first game in 2021 the Eagles are favored is Week 15 against Washington, which will be coming off a game against Dallas. The Eagles will be coming off a bye.
The Eagles have a murderous start and are six-point or more underdogs three times in their first six games., including 8.5 when the defending champ Buccaneers come in. That’s the highest spread on the schedule. They also have visits to the Raiders (+3.5) and Broncos (+4.5) on their slate, which are two of the rumored landing spots if Green Bay trades reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers went 13-3 last season and advanced to the NFC championship game before losing to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
What’s the Denver-Eagles’ point spread if Rodgers becomes a Bronco?
“You’d be looking at a line of around Denver minus-10,” Salmons said. “To me, Denver has everything in place except for a quarterback. That’s what’s really holding them back. I could argue that Denver, outside of quarterback, has everything that Green Bay has, if not more.”
Quote of the day
The most intriguing of the NBA’s four play-in games is Golden State at the Lakers. The line opened with LeBron and L.A. laying seven, but was bet down to 4.5. It was 5.5 as of Tuesday. Expect more frenzy leading up to Wednesday’s tip (10 p.m., ESPN).
“They’ll bet that one with both hands,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill-US. “This game is going to have a huge handle.”
Tom Gable, director of the Race & Sports books at the Borgata, took a $120,000 bet on the Lakers on Tuesday afternoon. “It was minus-4.5 when he bet it, moved to minus-5.5 after.”
The only team to eliminate LeBron James from the playoffs in the last five years is the Warriors. Of course those teams had Kevin Durant (2017, 2018) and Klay Thompson (2015, 2017, 2018). This one only has Steph Curry and enough complimentary parts to go 39-33 this season.
This & that
Curry was 8-1 to win the scoring title in the preseason at DraftKings. James Harden (+125), Luka Doncic, and Damian Lillard were top three favorites (+650 each). DraftKings’ biggest liability was Trae Young (11-1) who accounted for 18% of its handle.
Rory McIlroy (11-1), Jon Rahm (14-1), and Justin Thomas (14-1) are the consensus favorites for this week’s PGA Championship. Westgate’s line for the winning score is 278.5 strokes. McIlroy won it the only other time it was at Kiawah Island, in 2012, with a 13-under 275. Everyone else shot 283 or higher.
An exacta of McIlroy and either Rahm or Thomas is 180-1 at DK.
Gable took a $66,000 wager on the Celtics at minus-1 in Tuesday’s play-in game. That line opened at three at some houses. “We moved it back to 1.5,” Gable said.
Eagles schedule, point spreads
Lines via SuperBook sports in Las Vegas.