Football games are won and lost on the field, not in the GM’s war room. But to the extent that a team can “win” the offseason, the Eagles sure appear to have done just that. At the very least, the shifts in their futures odds suggest the sports betting public believes in the Birds a lot more than it did six months ago.
Following a moderately encouraging 9-8 season that ended with a first-round playoff trouncing at Tampa Bay, the Eagles were installed to win Super Bowl LVII at +4000 at DraftKings Sportsbook, tied for 20th out of 32 teams. Then GM Howie Roseman swung a draft-day deal for wide receiver A.J. Brown; drafted high-upside defenders Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean; acquired safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, cornerback James Bradberry, and linebacker Haason Reddick; and, in a symbolically important move, unloaded egregious 2020 draft blunder Jalen Reagor.
And heading into Sunday’s opener at Detroit, the Eagles’ Super Bowl odds have been cut in half.
They’re as low as +2000 at PointsBet PA and FanDuel, while the best value a bettor in Pennsylvania can find is +2500 at BetMGM and Caesars. They’ve gone from 20th most likely to win it all to, on average, the 12th shortest odds.
If you picked the Eagles to contend back in, say, March, you were making a bold sleeper pick. Now? You’re making one of the trendiest picks in the NFL betting space.
Best record in the league?
Just how much do sports bettors believe in the Eagles’ upside? At Caesars Sportsbook, in the market for teams to finish with the best regular-season record in the NFL, customers have placed more bets on the Birds, at +2500, than on the rest of the NFC combined — and have wagered more than twice as much money on Philly as on all those other NFC teams.
Part of the belief that the Eagles can rack up a lot of wins stems from their schedule. Based on projected win totals of opponents, Sharp Football Analysis says the Eagles have the second-easiest schedule in the league. It helps that they play in the NFC East, which is expected to be subpar once again, with the Washington Commanders and New York Giants both lightly regarded and the defending division winner Dallas Cowboys feeling the sting of injuries before the season even begins.
From the moment the 2021-22 season ended, the Cowboys were the clear favorite to win the East. Now, depending on the sportsbook, the Eagles have either moved into a tie or narrowly passed Dallas in odds. Philly is priced as short as +130 at BetMGM and FanDuel, with the most bettor-friendly prices remaining the +150 at DraftKings and Kambi-powered books such as BetRivers, Parx, Barstool, and Unibet. The Cowboys have dipped to between +145 and +155.
To win the NFC, the Eagles have shortened to a mere 9/1 at PointsBet, though bettors can find a preferable payout of 11/1 at BetMGM and Caesars. At most books, they’re considered the sixth most likely team to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Eagles are a decided favorite to make the playoffs, with the best price being BetMGM’s -190. For those who aren’t so sold on the Eagles, PointsBet is offering +165 on them to miss the postseason.
But those who doubt this team are in the clear minority. Their win total over/under is proof of that: Every major book set their number at 9.5, but the juice on the over has climbed as high as -160.
It all comes down to the quarterback
There’s little debate what the key question for the Eagles coming into this season is: How good is quarterback Jalen Hurts?
Roseman has now assembled a strong roster around him. Hurts is entering his third year in the league and his second as the starter. His passing numbers in 2021 were middling at best: a completion rate of 61.3%, 3,144 yards, 16 TDs, 9 interceptions. But he was dangerous on the ground, running for 784 yards and 10 scores. He’s undoubtedly a valuable fantasy QB.
If he can step up and establish himself as an elite real-life quarterback, this team could well be Super Bowl-bound. If he can at least be solid, showing improvement at making reads and developing strong chemistry with Brown and DeVonta Smith, the Eagles will hit their over and make the playoffs. If it turns out Hurts simply doesn’t have it — well, the Eagles have a good backup in Gardner Minshew and they can move on from Hurts before it’s too late, just as they did two years ago with Carson Wentz.
But there are plenty of people who believe captain Hurts can succeed with all these weapons around him (including an elite offensive line), and he’s seen his MVP odds shorten from anywhere from 40/1 to 60/1 when the offseason began to a mere +2200 to +2500 heading into Week 1. That makes the 24-year-old, on average, the No. 12 candidate in the league for that honor.
There aren’t many other Eagles considered viable contenders for end-of-year awards, but two markets feature notable exceptions.
For Coach of the Year, second-year boss Nick Sirianni is +2000 at FanDuel and BetMGM, trailing only five other coaches on the odds board. Notably, though, you can’t bet this in Pennsylvania, where the gaming rules are strict about the competition happening on the field of play — not on the sidelines. Those who live in the Philly area and want to bet on Sirianni to win the award have to cross the border into New Jersey and fire up an app there.
Meanwhile, two Eagles have a realistic shot at Defensive Rookie of the Year (which you can bet on in PA). Dean’s odds vary wildly, from +900 at the Kambi sites to +2000 at BetMGM, while Davis’ odds range from +1400 at Kambi to +2000 at PointsBet. Neither of these former Georgia teammates are listed as starters on the Eagles’ depth chart, but both should see plenty of playing time depending on formation and situation.
The Eagles kick off their season Sunday at 1 p.m. against another team that has built offseason buzz, the Hard Knocks subject Detroit Lions. The consensus lines have the Eagles favored by 4 points on the road. For those worried about losing their bets if the Eagles prevail by a field goal, the best moneyline price on the Birds is -195 at the Kambi sportsbooks.
The over/under for the game is 48.5 points, the fifth highest total of any Week 1 contest.
These teams squared off last Halloween, with the Eagles’ ground game dominating and propelling them to a 44-6 blowout victory at Ford Field. If the score looks anything like that on Sunday, the Eagles’ Super Bowl odds are sure to shrink some more by Monday morning.
Photo: Bill Streitcher/USA TODAY