Pennsylvania football fans and sports bettors get an unexpected double dose of weeknight games involving the state’s NFL teams this week, unless …
That’s unless further COVID spread among the Baltimore Ravens conspires to postpone their rematch with the Steelers for a third time, after plans to play Thanksgiving night and Sunday afternoon were both scratched.
The AFC North rivals are now scheduled to play Tuesday night in a game telecast nationally by NBC, with the Steelers favored by 10 points or more as of Monday morning, due to Baltimore’s decimated lineup.
The Eagles host the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football in a game that, blissfully, has been untainted by positive coronavirus cases after a weekend in which that topic overshadowed much of the on-field play in the NFL.
All of Pennsylvania’s online sportsbooks have Philadelphia as a 6.5-point underdog vs. the visitors who beat them at Lincoln Financial Field in a playoff game in January.
Bookmakers still make Eagles divisional favorite
Despite their 3-6-1 record and a tough stretch of schedule starting with these 7-3 Seahawks, the Eagles remain favored to somehow win the NFC East.
They are the +155 divisional favorite at FanDuel and FOX Bet and +150 at the sites using Kambi odds (DraftKings, BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse, Unibet, Barstool, Parx). Washington and the New York Giants both stand at 4-7 (and +250 or +260 on betting sites) in the division that goes by that old adage describing how in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
The Eagles are coming off two losses, including a 22-17 defeat to the Cleveland Browns, and continue to be plagued by offensive line injuries and inconsistent play from Carson Wentz. Backup quarterback Jalen Hurts has reportedly been getting more reps in practice this past week and could see more action Monday night, though not as a full-time replacement for Wentz.
The Seahawks’ weakness has been their pass defense, but they have recently become a sack-happy crew, averaging four sacks of opposing quarterbacks in their last four games. That just happens to be the same number the Eagles have been allowing, with a league-high 40 suffered by Wentz, which could be a factor.
The Eagles themselves are among the league leaders in pass defense and sacks, but that will be put to the test against Russell Wilson and his talented receiving corps. Seattle also has running back Chris Carson returning from injury to bolster its offense. Without him, the Seahawks still beat a strong Arizona Cardinals team, 28-21, a week ago.
With the Eagles about a touchdown underdog, the best moneyline price to be had betting on them is the +245 offered by Caesars.
The points total over/under is 49 from DraftKings, FOX Bet, and BetAmerica and 48.5 elsewhere.
COVID cases favor the Steelers’ chances
Before the Steelers-Ravens game planned for Thanksgiving night was postponed, the Steelers were favored by less than a touchdown. At that time, the Ravens had some serious spread of COVID, but nothing like what is the case now.
As of Monday morning, Baltimore is to be missing at least 20 players, including 10 starters, due to their either testing positive or being ruled out due to close contact with those players who tested positive. And the list of the inactives includes quarterback Lamar Jackson and other notable Pro Bowlers such as tight end Mark Andrews and defensive end Calais Campbell.
The 6-4 Ravens, fighting for their playoff lives, will now have to do so with Robert Griffin III behind center. They had been slumping of late even with Jackson and lost in overtime last week to the Tennessee Titans, 30-24.
The Steelers, meanwhile, have their own COVID cases, though nothing as extensive as with the visitors. They will be without running back James Conner and defensive end Stephon Tuitt, in addition to several others affected.
Before so many Ravens were sidelined, the game was to present one of the stiffer challenges to the 10-0 Steelers’ bid to become the first team since the 2007 Patriots to go through an entire regular season undefeated. The Kambi-backed sites now offer a wager at +400 for them to go 16-0, while a “no” bet is priced at -560.
While most sportsbooks make the Steelers 10-point favorites Tuesday night, BetAmerica favors them by 10.5 (with reduced vig at -104) and FanDuel lists 10.5 (-106).
The best moneyline price for a Steelers bettor is the -435 from either DraftKings or the twin BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse sites.
With all of the key offensive players missing, the game has a low points total o/u of 41 at the Kambi sites and 40.5 from FanDuel, FOX Bet, Caesars, and BetAmerica.