Throughout October and November, while the Philadelphia Eagles stumbled their way through week after week of mediocre football, they nevertheless stood as betting favorites to win the putrid NFC East after the once-favored Cowboys lost Dak Prescott for the season.
In December, that’s no longer the case.
After Monday night’s 23-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks dropped the Eagles to 3-7-1, a half-game behind the New York Giants and Washington Football Team, Pennsylvania’s online sportsbooks have turned to the Giants to win the division. Most even favor Washington ahead of Philadelphia.
The Eagles, who have a difficult stretch of games ahead of them starting with a visit to Green Bay Sunday, can be bet to win the division with a payoff as big as +320 now at Caesars. Other sites range from +250 to +235.
Before suffering their third straight loss Monday, the Eagles were still the divisional favorite at +150 to +155. It has been a big fall for Philadelphia, considering it plays in a division with so many quarterback injuries (Giants starter Daniel Jones might be out this Sunday) and a collective record of 14-29-1. The division remains to be had by any team playing something resembling solid professional football in December.
Eagles are big underdogs yet again
Standing in the way of an Eagles turnaround, apart from their own injury situation and concerns about the performance rather than health of Carson Wentz, is the string of opponents starting with the 8-3 Packers. Green Bay, coming off a 41-25 beating of the Chicago Bears, is three games ahead in the NFC North, with Aaron Rodgers having among the best seasons of his long career.
Philadelphia is a 7.5-to-9-point underdog for Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. contest. That plus-9 can be had from either Caesars or BetAmerica for an Eagles backer, as of mid-day Thursday.
Caesars is also offering the best Eagles moneyline, at +340, for a game carrying an over/under of 47 from FanDuel, FOX Bet, and BetAmerica. A lower 46.5 o/u is posted by Caesars and the six sites using Kambi odds (DraftKings, BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse, Unibet, Barstool, Parx).
After facing Green Bay, the Eagles can also expect to be substantial underdogs when hosting the New Orleans Saints and visiting the Arizona Cardinals. They finish the season by visiting Dallas and hosting Washington.
Who can be the least stinky and win?
The one salvation for the Eagles’ increasingly desperate hopes — and anyone who bet on them to win the division weeks ago with potential payouts much worse than can be had now — is that the Giants and Washington also have imposing schedules remaining. The Giants are 10-point underdogs visiting the Seahawks Sunday, and Washington is an 8-point underdog at Pittsburgh Monday.
The Eagles’ remaining opponents’ records add up to 30-25. The Giants face the Seahawks, Cardinals, Browns, Ravens, and Cowboys at a collective 31-24. Washington plays the Steelers, 49ers, Seahawks, Panthers, and Eagles, who are a combined 31-24-1.
The Cowboys have the easiest schedule left by far, considering the combined 20-33-2 of the Ravens, Bengals, 49ers, Eagles, and Giants. But at the same time, at 3-8, they stand in last place currently and would lose any tiebreaker to Washington, to whom they lost twice.
In a perverse way, it all makes for the most interesting divisional race for the remainder of the season in the NFL, as there’s no other division in which every team has such good potential to win.
It may not be the version of parity former Commissioner Pete Rozelle once hailed, or even the kind of lucky mediocrity associated with a 7-9 division winner — none of these teams could be considered even a remote favorite at this point to win seven games.
But in 2020, it’s what the NFC East is. And it could keep Eagles fans and bettors engaged to the bitter end, even if they want to look away at times.