Talked to Johnny Avello about NFL futures betting in June. Figured action would be light given the NBA and NHL playoffs were hot, baseball was grinding away, and even golf’s majors were in swing. That would be incorrect.

“There’s been action because of news,” said Avello, director of operations for DraftKings. “When the news was flying around that Aaron Rodgers might go to the Broncos, certainly there was Denver money.”

“We’re always taking money in. We’ll be taking Super Bowl futures right up until the NFC and AFC Championship games.”

After this edition, the Early Birds newsletter is taking some time off this summer. Expect us back to ramp up for football season in late July. In the meantime, it’s free to sign up here. We want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @edbarkowitz. See you at the craps table.

— Ed Barkowitz (earlybirds@inquirer.com)

Good luck betting on the Eagles, NFC East

The Eagles are 5-1 to win the NFC East, impressively short odds for a team that went 4-11-1 last year, has a new coaching staff, and has a quarterback who’s never started on opening day.

“Now that Jalen Hurts is the quarterback,” Avello said, “the question is how far does he take them.”

Of the perceived worst teams in the other seven divisions, the Cardinals (6-1, NFC West) have the second-lowest odds to win their group, followed by the Panthers, 11-1 (NFC South); Raiders, 18-1 (AFC West); Bengals, 20-1 (AFC North); Jets, 20-1 (AFC East); Lions, 20-1 (NFC North); and Texans, 28-1 (AFC South).

DraftKings’ money lines for the NFC East are Dallas +125, Washington +260, Giants +350 and Eagles +500.

“The Cowboys are always the favorite each and every year, but they don’t seem to get it done,” Avello said. “They always have some problems that keep them from winning it.”

Since 2012, Dallas, Washington and the Eagles each have won the division three times. Washington won it last season with a 7-9 record.

“We saw what happened last year with Washington,” Avello said. “It was a crazy year for the NFC East. It could be the same this year. Especially with 17 games this year. It could be as bizarre as last year.”

This in no way is a recommendation of the Eagles, but their odds to win the Super Bowl are all over the place. DraftKings is at 70-1, FanDuel is at 85-1, and BetMGM is 100-1.

The uncertainty hasn’t stopped a Nevada bettor from putting up $1,350 at a William Hill shop on Nick Sirianni and the Birds to win the Supe at 75-1. It would fetch $101,250.

Individual awards

Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill’s U.S. operations, said odds for NFL MVP are varied with Patrick Mahomes (9-2), Rodgers (7-1), Josh Allen (10-1) and Tom Brady (10-1) atop the board.

But it’s Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield who is seeing the most money wagered at WHUS, at 12%.

“Baker played well in the playoffs last year,” said Bogdanovich, a veteran oddsmaker. “The Browns are still the hot commodity this offseason; people are betting them in every fashion. Cleveland has a lot of weapons and a strong offensive line. [Odell Beckham Jr.] is even healthy again.”

An Illinois bettor put up 5 Gs on Mayfield at 40-1, the largest William Hill has seen so far.

“He [Mayfield] opened at 40-1 and is down to 20-1,” Bogdanovich said. “We lose pretty good with Baker.”

William Hill also took a $2,000 wager on Carson Wentz at 40-1. Boy, that would go over well here if that cashes.

Hurts is an understandable longshot, but even 60-1 seems low. The best chance an Eagles player seemingly has to hit the board for an individual award would be wide receiver Devonta Smith for offensive rookie of the year. He’s at 13-1 at DraftKings.

“He’s a talented guy,” Avello said. “If there are any knocks on him, it’s that he’s a little on the small side. But we all know that speed overcomes. At least it’s supposed to. He’s playing with a guy he’s very comfortable with in Hurts.”

What you need to know about the Eagles

Key dates

Tuesday, July 27: Eagles training camp opens, 90-player maximum

Sunday, Aug. 8: Open practice at Lincoln Financial Field, 7 p.m. (tickets: $10-$25)

Thursday, Aug. 12: Pittsburgh at Eagles, 7:30 p.m. (preseason, NBC10)

Tuesday, Aug. 17: Rosters must be cut to 85

Thursday, Aug. 19: New England at Eagles, 7:30 p.m. (preseason, NBC10)

Sunday, Aug. 22: Open practice at Lincoln Financial Field, 7 p.m. (tickets: $10-$25)

Tuesday, Aug. 24: Rosters must be cut to 80

Friday, Aug. 27: Eagles at N.Y. Jets, 7:30 p.m. (preseason, NBC10)

Tuesday, Aug. 31: Rosters must be cut to 53

Sunday, Sept. 12: Eagles at Atlanta, 1 p.m. (regular season, Fox)

Sunday, Sept. 19: San Francisco at Eagles, 1 p.m. (home opener, Fox)

» READ MORE: Our beat writers examine the Eagles' 2021 schedule

From the mailbag

The Eagles have had [more than 3 weeks to cut or trade Zach Ertz] and fill the needs they have, but have not done that, which tells me they do not have the same thoughts about filling holes as we do, or the players always mentioned [Gareon Conley, for one] may want more money than everyone thinks.

Inquirer.com user hmrd19