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Gambling on the Eagles in 2012

As I've written before, even if no one utters the words Dream Team this summer, the Eagles are not going to sneak up on anyone in 2012.

Want proof? Go to Vegas.

Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post has an article up with lines for the first 16 weeks of the 2012 season, courtesy of Cantor Race and Sports Book. The Eagles are favored in 13 of their first 15 games. The only games in which they are listed as underdogs are at the Steelers (by 1 point) and at the Saints (by 2.5 points).

Here's a list of the games the Eagles are favored in:

Eagles (-7) at Browns
Eagles (-3.5) vs. Ravens
Eagles (-3) at Cardinals
Eagles (-4) vs. Giants
Eagles (-4.5) vs. Lions
Eagles (-6.5) vs. Falcons
Eagles (-4.5) vs. Cowboys
Eagles (-3.5) at Redskins
Eagles (-7) vs. Panthers
Eagles (-1) at Cowboys
Eagles (-5.5) at Bucs
Eagles (-7) vs. Bengals
Eagles (-9) vs. Redskins

It's obviously risky to bet this far in advance (actually, it's risky to bet in general), but a few games stand out here. It's always good to look at value. In other words, which lines are most likely to move by the time the games roll around. Here are a few guesses:

* The Eagles will be less than 9-point favorites against the Redskins in Week 16.
* The Eagles will be less than 6.5-point favorites against the Falcons in Week 8.
* The Eagles will be less than 7-point favorites against the Panthers in Week 12.

Do any others stand out for you? It's worth noting that the Eagles are favored in all five NFC East games listed, including at home against the Giants and on the road against the Cowboys.

Another way to look at the numbers is to use them to judge strength of schedule. In other words, the games in which the Eagles are heavy favorites can be considered their easiest games. Here's a ranking (again, not including Week 17 against the Giants) of their schedule, going from easiest to hardest, based on the lines above.

Week 16 vs. the Redskins (9-point favorites)
Week 1 at the Browns (7-point favorites)
Week 15 vs. the Bengals (7-point favorites)
Week 12 vs. the Panthers (7-point favorites)
Week 8 vs. the Falcons (6.5-point favorites)
Week 14 a the Bucs (5.5-point favorites)
Week 10 vs. the Cowboys (4.5-point favorites)
Week 6 vs. the Lions (4.5-point favorites)
Week 4 vs. the Giants (4-point favorites)
Week 2 vs. the Ravens (3.5-point favorites)
Week 11 at the Redskins (3-point favorites)
Week 3 at the Cardinals (3-point favorites)
Week 13 vs. the Cowboys (1-point favorites)
Week 5 at the Steelers (1-point underdogs)
Week 9 at the Saints (2.5-point underdogs)

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