The Eagles and Steelers both host 0-2 teams Sunday, and the Eagles are winless themselves, but they’re bigger favorites than undefeated Pittsburgh to win their contest.
The key factor there is that Philadelphia’s opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, are considered much weaker than the Houston Texans, who travel to Heinz Field.
As of Friday morning, Pennsylvania’s 10 online sportsbooks had the Eagles as 4.5-to-5-point favorites, while the Steelers were favored by 4 points everywhere.
There are additional things to consider when betting: the vig, or juice, used by each sportsbook; the promos from the betting sites; the possibility that odds and incentives could change before game time. Those are all worth keeping in mind if you want to enhance your chances of overcoming the house edge in the third week of NFL action.
Here’s what we know that may be helpful, as of Friday:
Eagles look to reverse field
It wasn’t supposed to be this way for the Eagles, an 0-2 team whose Super Bowl odds have sunk from 20/1 to 40/1 on multiple sites in the space of two weeks.
They looked no better against the Los Angeles Rams in a 37-19 home loss last week than they did the week before, when upset by the nameless Washington Football Team. Carson Wentz has been abysmal, throwing two costly interceptions in each game, but has also gotten little help from his teammates.
The Bengals could be a cure for what ails Philadelphia. They could be a team of the future under No. 1 draft pick Joe Burrow, but the future is not here yet. Cincinnati lost to the Cleveland Browns, 35-30, in its second game after being defeated by the Los Angeles Chargers, 16-13.
For a never-say-die Eagles backer, the best online site to bet on them would be any of the Kambi-backed sportsbooks (DraftKings, Unibet, BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse, Parx, and the new Barstool Sportsbook), as those all listed them at -4.5 (-110). FOX Bet and Caesars have the game -5 (-110), while FanDuel and BetAmerica have slightly higher juice to pay on the -4.5.
Most sites have the points total over/under set at 47 (-110). Two, however, place it at 47.5: FanDuel (-105 on the over) and BetAmerica (-107 over).
Steelers hope to maintain momentum
There will be many Watts on the turf at Heinz Field Sunday — two for the Steelers and one for the Texans — in a game between two teams considered roughly evenly matched despite their opposite records. (One of those Watt brothers, Steelers linebacker T.J., has climbed to the top of the pack among Defensive Player of the Year odds, at +600 at DraftKings.)
The Texans might have a nit to pick with the NFL’s schedule-maker, in that they opened the season first with the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs (losing 34-20), then the AFC North favorite Baltimore Ravens (33-16 loss), and now have to travel to Pittsburgh.
The Steelers’ Super Bowl odds have climbed from 25/1 in the preseason to 18/1 at most sites after defeating the New York Giants (26-16) and Denver Broncos (26-21).
All of the Pennsylvania sites list the Steelers -4 for Sunday’s game, and most have the standard -110 vig for a bet on them. (BetAmerica has -112 when betting on the Steelers, and FOX Bet has -118.)
The over/under on points is 45 across the board, with BetAmerica the only one deviating on the juice by placing it at -113 on the over.
Some tempting promos are available
The online sportsbooks are offering incentives to bettors, though apparently not as many as in the prior two weekends. Here’s what was being offered as of Friday, though more could be added by Sunday:
DraftKings: The state’s second-most-popular betting site is offering bettors one 20% profit boost on each Week 3 NFL game, practically begging anyone who thinks they know something to get into action multiple times.
FanDuel: The Pennsylvania betting leader has two special options: The “Anytime Catch Bonus” rewards a $25+ bet on someone to score a TD by giving a $3 bonus per reception by the player, and the “Football Double Up” doubles winnings for a successful moneyline bet on a team that scores at least 35 points.
FOX Bet: The site’s “Super Boost” gives a payoff of +200 (“boosted” from +125) for a successful bet that the Eagles will score in every quarter.
Something more to watch for if betting Sunday will be whether the Barstool and BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse sportsbooks reduce the juice on many bets — to something like -108 or -107 instead of -110 — as they did last week. As of now, they’re posting vigs similar to the rest.
Pitt has the one college game in the state
On the college football front, the Pitt Panthers (2-0) are back in action in an ACC game that could indicate if they are serious conference contenders this year.
They are favored over visiting Louisville (1-1) at noon Saturday by either 2.5 points (with -118 vig from FOX Bet and -120 from FanDuel) or 3 points (-104 from BetAmerica, -105 from Kambi sites, -110 from Caesars).
The game could be a high-scoring affair, with the o/u set at 55 most places, and FanDuel making it 55.5. Louisville lost to Miami (Fla.) 47-34 last week while Pitt defeated Syracuse, 21-10.