Are American football fans and bettors clamoring for a primetime game featuring two teams with a combined two wins in 12 games but nonetheless competing for a division title?
We’ll find out Thursday night, when the New York Giants visit Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Eagles, who are favored by 4 to 5 points at Pennsylvania’s 10 online sportsbooks.
The game presumably holds a lot more interest for Pennsylvanians than the rest of the country — especially so for those on the eastern side of the state, considering the two longtime rivals involved.
Meanwhile, western Pennsylvanians have to wait for their favorite team to play Sunday afternoon with the more traditional NFL slate. It should be quite a treat, however, for both local and national fans of the sport: The 5-0 Steelers visit the 5-0 Tennessee Titans in a rescheduled matchup of two of the league’s three remaining undefeated teams.
As of Wednesday morning, the Steelers were favored by between 1.5 and 2.5 points on the state’s online/mobile sites.
Thursday’s winner closes in on Cowboys
The Eagles are 1-4-1, coming off a 30-28 loss to the Baltimore Ravens that featured a valiant fourth-quarter rally on their part. The Giants, meanwhile, won their first game of the season over the Washington Football Team, 20-19.
Both teams trail the 2-4 Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. Despite just one victory in six games, the Eagles are anywhere from +120 to +140 to win the division, with the latter, best price available coming via FanDuel.
Caesars even has the Eagles tied with the Cowboys in division odds at +120. It’s a reflection of how wretched Dallas, without injured quarterback Dak Prescott for the rest of the season, looked in a Monday night loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Philadelphia has had its own team-wide series of injuries to overcome, but QB Carson Wentz is healthy and managed to avoid interceptions — for a change — in Sunday’s loss.
Caesars listed the Eagles as a 4-point favorite over the Giants Wednesday morning, making it the best available bet for an Eagles backer. Most other sites favored them by 4.5, while FOX Bet had them -5.
On the moneyline, Caesars again had the best price, at -210. That site also had the lowest over/under points total, at 43.5, while BetAmerica made it 44 and other sites had 44.5.
Barring tie, one will be impressive 6-0
When the Steelers-Titans game was postponed three weeks ago due to rampant COVID-19 cases among Tennessee’s players and staff, both teams were 3-0, but there was little reason to presume both would remain undefeated until their rescheduled meeting.
And yet, both are now 5-0 after the Steelers walloped the Cleveland Browns 38-7 Sunday and the Titans came from behind to win in overtime, 42-36, over the Houston Texans.
The Steelers have looked sound all-around with Ben Roethlisberger playing steady at quarterback and often leaving it to an opportunistic defense to take control of games. The Titans, meanwhile, have relied on the league’s leading rusher in Derrick Henry, who ran for 212 yards and two TDs against the Texans.
Betting sites generally had the Steelers as a 1.5-point favorite at the start of the week, but by Wednesday, only FOX Bet retained that spread. Most sites had Pittsburgh -2, while FanDuel listed -2.5.
Most sites put the over/under on points at 51.5, but FOX Bet went lower, at 51, and Caesars was highest, at 52.5.
Steelers now one of Super Bowl favorites
The ironic season-long scenario continues of the Eagles being viewed as more likely to win their division than the Steelers, despite their wildly contrasting performances.
The Steelers are now listed anywhere from +140 (Kambi sites) to +150 (FanDuel, Caesars) in the AFC North, with the Ravens still considered an odds-on favorite despite trailing Pittsburgh by a half-game.
The Steelers’ Super Bowl odds, meanwhile, keep moving in their direction as they gain increased respect with each win. They are anywhere from 9/1 (Caesars) to 12/1 (FanDuel), behind only the Chiefs, Ravens, and Seahawks as favorites. They were 25/1 before playing their first game.
FanDuel now has the Steelers -1000 to make the playoffs and the Eagles +140, while DraftKings has them -1115 and +130, respectively.