When are the Philadelphia Eagles going to win their first game?
Go figure it would be the hot topic of conversation heading into their NFL Week 4 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
By the way, it also happens to be this week’s Sunday Night Football game, so the national spotlight is on the 0-2-1 Birds.
This is not a typo, folks.
What happened to “Fly, Eagles, Fly”?
More importantly, the Eagles’ odds to win are no longer looking so strong. Which leads us to the next question: What’s the story with starting quarterback Carson Wentz?
Here is a closer look at the current NJ sports betting picture for a team that started 2020 with such high hopes.
Eagles flying into San Francisco as underdogs
Like many NFL teams, San Francisco, the defending NFC champs, are dealing with significant injuries.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle and running back Raheem Mostert are just a few of the starters who missed Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. Plus, starting defensive lineman Nick Bosa is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Even with all the injuries, the early NFL betting action favors the 49ers. DraftKings Sportsbook had Philadelphia as a 7-point underdog as of Wednesday afternoon.
Would the moneyline so heavily favor the Niners had the Eagles actually won two of their first three games?
Probably not, especially when taking the current injury list into consideration.
Sunday’s 23-23 tie against the 0-2-1 Cincinnati Bengals, who won just two games in 2019, didn’t help the Birds’ cause.
But maybe, just maybe the most recent home loss at an empty Lincoln Financial Field was the wake-up call this team desperately needed.
Maybe it’s time for Philly to pull off the upset. The Eagles’ moneyline of +245 might be too tempting for some bettors to pass up.
Eagles’ odds to win NFC East not as strong
The Eagles are the defending NFC East champions. Seems like a case of mistaken identity with the way they are playing these days.
Prior to Week 1, the rival Dallas Cowboys were getting all the NFC East betting action at BetMGM sportsbook. This is what the division futures looked like earlier this month:
- Cowboys -110
- Eagles +135
- Giants +1000
- Washington Football Team +1400
Guess how many of these teams have a winning record as of Sept. 30?
None would be the correct answer.
The funny thing is the ‘Boys are struggling, too. They are 1-2, and could easily have been 0-3 had the Atlanta Falcons not squandered a 20-point lead.
At the same time, bettors are continuing to back the ‘Boys. BetMGM now has Dallas at -250 to win the NFC East, while Philly is +300.
New York (+3000) and Washington (+900) have swapped places. By the way, bettors who think this season is going to be a total bust can put money down on a fourth-place finish (+1600) at BetMGM.
But in reality, it’s too soon to start passing judgment on what is shaping up to be a really bad NFL odds race. After Nov. 15, the Birds will have played the G-Men twice and Dallas once.
The bottom line is the Eagles are still in the hunt for now. Not playing a winning game against New York or Dallas (like they did against Washington) will make the current situation far more dire.
These next three games against the 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers (Oct. 11) and Baltimore Ravens (Oct. 18) are going to tell a lot about whether or not Philadelphia has what it takes to compete.
What is troubling Carson Wentz?
The Wentz critics are out in full force. The man once billed as the Eagles franchise quarterback has fallen on some tough times.
Through the first three games, he has thrown just three touchdowns. But it’s the six interceptions and 11 sacks that are a major area of concern. To put the interception total in perspective, Wentz threw a total of seven interceptions during the entire 2019 regular season. That’s 16 games versus three.
His passing rating is a career-low 63.9%.
It’s hard to miss the “Bench Carson Wentz” chatter on social media.
Carson Wentz will continue to struggle, according to @MarcellusWiley
“You should bench him… Getting outplayed by Joe Burrow in his 3rd NFL game? … It’s time for you to get a TV timeout if you’re Carson Wentz.”pic.twitter.com/hkayLMYmqU
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) September 28, 2020
But such a move isn’t in head coach Doug Pederson’s plans, at least not at this point.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) September 28, 2020
So from an NJ sports betting perspective, putting money on Wentz to win league MVP or finish tops in passing yards seem like really bad wagers at this point.
DraftKings lists his current odds of winning league MVP at +10000 (a significant drop from +4000).
To put that number in perspective, here are the top names on the board. All of them are starting quarterbacks:
- Russell Wilson +175
- Patrick Mahomes +250
- Aaron Rodgers +700
- Josh Allen +1600
- Tom Brady +2000
- Kyler Murray +2000
- Cam Newton +2000
So even if the Birds find a way to turn this season into a winning one, it seems unlikely that the Wentz backers will be lining up at the betting windows.
Putting a thumb on Jalen Reagor ROY betting
Wentz rediscovering his quarterback mojo is only one issue the Birds’ offense is trying to resolve.
Another is figuring out who is healthy enough to catch touchdowns. Sure, tight end Zach Ertz, his favorite target, is still healthy. But looking at the current injury report, the other options are rather limited.
Alshon Jeffery is still recovering from a foot injury.
DeSean Jackson left Sunday’s game against the Bengals with a hamstring injury.
Tight end Dallas Goedert is now expected to miss significant time with a fractured ankle.
And rookie wider receiver and first-round pick Jalen Reagor is on the injured reserve with a torn ligament in his thumb.
Some may have already forgotten about the 55-yard reception he had in Week 1 against Washington. He didn’t play Sunday against the Bengals.
So for now, table the Reagor Rookie of the Year betting idea, too. Following the 2020 NFL draft, BetMGM had his odds of winning the award at +2800.
At FanDuel Sportsbook, he is now +10000. Believe it or not, even Eagles second-round pick Jalen Hurts has better odds at this point (+6000).
He also happens to be the Birds backup QB.
In reality, neither player has a legitimate shot at winning the honor at this point.
NJ sports betting Super Bowl picture
Every team, including the Eagles, wants to be playing Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay. This is the date and location of Super Bowl 55.
But at this point, is making a wager via your NJ sportsbook app of choice simply throwing away money? With the Birds having trouble defeating the really bad teams, how in the world will they get past one of the best?
Sure, if the Birds magically find a way to win two of these next three games and defeat the Cowboys, maybe it’s a conversation again.
The bottom line is the NJ sports betting market is currently not loving the Eagles.
FanDuel currently has the Eagles Super Bowl futures at +6500. The Arizona Cardinals (+3500), the Nick Foles-led Chicago Bears (+4100) and Cleveland Browns — yes, those Cleveland Browns (+4400) — all have better Super Bowl betting odds.
So the Eagles are once again wearing their underdog capes.
But the big difference between the 2017 team and this one is that the current squad is missing that winning bark.