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May 08, 2020

NFL odds: Eagles favored to make playoffs, plus point spreads for every game

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79_01052020_EaglesvsSeahawks_Jalen_Mills_Celebrates2_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Eagles defensive back Jalen Mills during the Philadelphia Eagles wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

It's everyone's favorite time of the year, where we all sit down and try to guess how the Eagles are going to perform in a season that's months away, based on nothing other than rosters on paper and a newly-released schedule. But considering how desperate we all are for sports across the board, there are worse things to spend our time on than NFL futures betting. Let the 10-6 predictions begin.

Now that the NFL schedule has been released in full, we know the general outline of the season so long as the NFL is actually able to have it (which at this point is certainly not guaranteed). Even with a division winner's schedule, things have broken pretty favorably for Philadelphia.

That's reflected in newly-released odds from the good folks in Las Vegas. Westgate's SuperBook released their first post-schedule odds of the year on Thursday, and as of right now, the bookmakers seem to think they have a good chance to make the playoffs, coming in tied for the fourth-best odds in the NFC with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

t-1. 49ers, Saints  -330
 3. Cowboys -250
 t-4. Eagles, Bucs -200
 t-6. Packers, Vikings -130
 8. Seahawks -110
 t-9. Rams, Bears +150
 t-11. Cardinals, Falcons +240
13. Lions +300
14. Giants +375
 15. Panthers +450
 16. Washington +600

On paper, these are the safe projections, although Vegas being this low on the Green Bay Packers is pretty interesting considering they went 13-3 and made a run to the NFC Championship game last season. Many fans and analysts doubted their credentials last season, and Vegas seems to be banking on Green Bay's record in close games last year regressing toward the mean.

(I also think the Bucs are a bit overvalued here. Tom Brady will have considerably better weaponry in Tampa Bay, but his play-to-play and game-to-game consistency dipped dramatically in the second half of last season, and he will continue to fight the aging curve this year. At those odds, I'd rather bet on someone I don't worry about crumbling into dust.)

But as the NFC leaderboard shows, the Eagles are not Vegas' favorite team in the division heading into the year. That title belongs to, you guessed it, the hated Dallas Cowboys, who are the even-odds favorite to win the NFC East this season.

 New York10/1 

There are several factors working against the Eagles here:

  1. There has not been a repeat division champion in the NFC East since the Eagles closed out a run of four straight division titles from 2001-2004. When you consider what the Eagles had to do to win the division title last year, you certainly can't call it a lock that they'll repeat.
  2. The public is generally bullish on Dallas' draft and offseason, while the Eagles had question marks coming into the draft and only added to the pile by drafting Jalen Hurts in the second round. Titles aren't won in the offseason, but they certainly impact perception.
  3. Dallas' core group has reliability on their side. Dak Prescott has started all 16 games in each of the four seasons he has been the starter for the Cowboys, while Wentz accomplished that last year for the first time since his rookie year. Philadelphia's ability to win with backups notwithstanding, knowing the QB will likely be the same guy every week matters in projecting out the season.

Even still, they're not far behind the Cowboys and are well out in front of the two rebuilding teams. And with their final two games of the season against divisional opponents, including a road game in Dallas in Week 16 that could decide the division if both teams are in the hunt, the Eagles should be a factor heading into January.

As our own Jimmy Kempski detailed earlier on Friday, there are far more advantages than disadvantages to Philadelphia's schedule. Outside of a Week 4 trip to San Francisco, their early slate is stacked with home games and easy travel games, including a Week 1 trip to Washington and a Week 5 journey to Pittsburgh. They could very easily get off to a 3-0 start, and they don't play any teams coming off of bye weeks this season, a nice break from the schedule gods that will put them on a level playing field with each of their opponents.

MORE: Game-by-game predictions for 2020 Eagles 2020 (including playoffs)

If you want to go game-by-game, we can already do that, too. BetOnline released preliminary lines for every NFL game following the release of the schedule, and the Eagles are favored in exactly half of them.

Philadelphia Eagles -6 @ Washington Redskins 
Los Angeles Rams @ Philadelphia Eagles -4
Cincinnati Bengals @ Philadelphia Eagles -10
Philadelphia Eagles +5½ @ San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles +1½ @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens @ Philadelphia Eagles +1½
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles -7
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles -2½
Philadelphia Eagles -3½ @ New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles pk @ Cleveland Browns
Seattle Seahawks @ Philadelphia Eagles -2
Philadelphia Eagles +2½ @ Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles pk
Philadelphia Eagles +1½ @ Arizona Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles +2 @ Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles -10½

A few scattered thoughts here:

  1. Pick-em against the Browns on the road seems a little insulting considering how much of a trainwreck the Browns were last year. Sandwiched between the Giants and a game against Seattle, so maybe a trap game, but meh.
  2. On the flipside, 10 points against the Bengals feels like a lot. It should be a comfortable Eagles win, but with a road trip to San Francisco looming the next week, this one could get funky. Easy favorites, but maybe a couple of points too many.
  3. Vegas must really be down on the Packers this year for the Eagles to only be 2.5 point dogs at Lambeau in December, with the game sandwiched between matchups with Seattle and New Orleans. Not even getting the traditional three points for playing at home is a tough look.

Anyway, all of this will only matter if this season is able to be played, which is far from guaranteed at this juncture. But if you need to feed the gambling beast, you have your latest excuse. 

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