It’s hard to know what to make of the 2-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles, a team that, in a five-day span, came up just a play or two short of beating the mighty Baltimore Ravens and, by an equally slim margin, avoided losing to the hapless New York Giants.
In back-to-back road games, the Eagles hung with the Steelers and toppled the 49ers. This is the same team that, when slightly healthier, lost to Washington and tied with the Bengals.
Carson Wentz is a turnover machine one minute and a dart-throwing wizard the next.
It’s safe to say these Eagles are not an elite NFL team. They’re not even a good team.
But they’re currently in first place in the NFC East.
— FOX Bet (@FOXBet) October 23, 2020
And, according to ESPN’s projection system, they now have a 58.4% likelihood of winnin the division. Dallas, with a record of 2-4, has a 23.5% shot. Washington (1-5) still has a 15.3% chance, and the 1-6 Giants are still 2.7% likely to pull it off.
If you trust those numbers, now is the perfect time to visit one of Pennsylvania’s legal sportsbooks online or in person and bet on the Eagles to win this uniquely embarrassing division.
Best odds, boost odds
As of Friday morning, in the wake of Philly’s 22-21 victory (though not against the spread) over the Giants, here are the odds at all of the PA books that offer bets on division futures:
FanDuel, which still prices Dallas as the favorite, has the best number on the Eagles — although as a special odds boost on Friday only, with a maximum bet size of $25, FOX Bet has inflated its payout from even money to +125.
If you still lean toward preseason favorite Dallas, the sportsbooks for which Kambi provides their odds (DraftKings, Barstool, BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse, Parx, and Unibet) have the best price — although if ESPN’s projections are right, you’d need +325 odds to get fair value. At +950 at FanDuel, Washington is actually a good bet based on ESPN’s projections, while at a max of +1600, the Giants are not.
Remaining schedule daunting for Eagles
To these eyes, ESPN’s Eagles optimism seems a bit inflated, as the rest of their schedule outside the division is brutal. They play Cleveland, Green Bay, and Arizona on the road and New Orleans and Seattle at home. Each of those teams enters Week 7 over .500, and they possess a combined record of 20-7. Unless something significant changes in the weeks ahead, Philadelphia is likely to be the underdog in all of those games.
And if the Eagles do go 0-5 outside the division, they’ll surely need to go 4-0 in their remaining NFC East games to make the postseason. In all likelihood, they’ll be favored at New York and in home games against Washington and Dallas. Who will be favored when the Eagles visit the Cowboys in the second-to-last game on their schedule depends on what happens between now and then.
If they win all their division games and lose all the rest, the Eagles’ record would be 6-9-1. Is that good enough to win this putrid division? Maybe.
There’s not much concern about Washington or the Giants finishing 7-9 or better, especially if we’re assuming an Eagles win over each team in the weeks ahead.
But the Cowboys do have a path to 7-9 — even if they lose to the Eagles twice. Their game this Sunday at Washington — for which Dallas is a 1-point favorite — is extremely important. Looking beyond that, the Cowboys will likely be favored in home games against Washington and Cincinnati and on the road against the Giants. And it seems slightly more likely than not that, coming off their bye week, they’ll be favored at Minnesota. Add those up, and they can get to 7-9 even if they lose to the Eagles twice and fail to score any wins as an underdog the rest of the way.
The Eagles have been decimated by injuries all season, particularly on offense, where Wentz ended each of the last two games with only one fellow projected starter — center Jason Kelce — lining up with him. But they do have Wentz. The Cowboys lost Dak Prescott to injury, Washington had to bench Dwayne Haskins, and fellow second-year QB Daniel Jones isn’t doing much better for the Giants.
Eight wins will capture the NFC East in a walk. Seven wins is probably enough. Six wins, amazingly, might do the trick.
And the Eagles just might have the inside track toward being the lucky sub-.500 team that gets the honor of hosting a playoff game as a potential double-digit underdog.