Any Philadelphia Eagles fan can attest to the NFC East’s toughness and unpredictability year in and year out. Every organization seemingly has a shot at winning the division when a new season kicks off, regardless of what the odds suggest. Parity rules recently. Not since the 2003-04 Eagles, in fact, has there been a repeat champion, so don’t look for the Redskins to take the title again.
This equality may explain why the Eagles’ +435 odds to win the 2016-17 NFC East are the shortest of any NFL team picked last in the NFL picks betting market to win their respective division (Cowboys +175, Giants +250, Redskins +325). In recent years, this same market struggles to handicap matchups where NFC East foes clash. Let’s look at some betting information Eagles fans can use when wagering on their beloved birds this year.
Sports books believe the NFC East is pretty weak this season. It is fourth choice at +450 to see a team win the conference and send a representative to the Super Bowl. Not since 2009, when the Eagles won 11 regular-season games and lost to the Cowboys 34-14 in the Wild Card playoffs, have two organizations from the division made it to the postseason.
Margins are always tight in the division. Since 2002, when the NFL realigned the conference to four sections, the NFC East’s average margin of victory against each other has eclipsed four points or more just three times. The North, South and West have each surpassed this number at least six times during this span. What does this mean? The gap between the East’s best and worst teams are always tight, making for competitive games and a betting challenge.
Such fierce competition is reflected in the odds. In the last five years, not including the last week of the regular season where playoff-bound teams often rest key starters, only four games between NFC East foes has seen a point spread greater than a touchdown.
Betting road underdogs in NFC East clashes has rewarded bettors handsomely over the last decade or so. Since 2007, they are 50-25 against the spread (ATS), spotted an average 5.0 points per game. Each season the dog has posted a winning record and net profit. Each team also shows a positive ATS return during the stretch. Most intriguing here is the value on the money line. An average 5-point spread implies the dog is two-to-one odds (+199) to win outright, which it has 51 percent of the time (38-37). As one would expect between division rivals, the spread in the majority these contests fall in and around a field-goal. It’s within this range where the money line bet shows most value. With a line under 4 points, road dogs are 23-14 straight up at 3.0 average odds, revealing an almost 20 percent edge over the books.
Let’s look at advanced NFL lines for the upcoming season and see where it may present value to bet on or against the Eagles using the divisional trend. So far, oddsmakers list Philly as road dogs in all three of their NFC East away meetings. In Week 6, it is getting 3 points at Washington, 3.5 points at Dallas in Week 8, and another field goal at MetLife Stadium against the Giants in Week 9. These numbers will shift accordingly depending on how the start of the season unfolds, but for now, zero in on these as potential moneymakers. The Eagles finish up the 2016-17 regular season with two at the Linc against the Cowboys and Giants. Philly is a small favorite (-1) against New York, while the Week 17 line against Dallas is off the board. These could be a spot for a fade.
Despite a new coach, and plenty of question marks surrounding the once high-powered offense, the Eagles should remain ultra competitive in divisional clashes. Look for them to possibly continue the trend revealed above this season. In the last 10 years, Philly is 12-3 ATS and 10-5 straight up as an away dog in NFC East clashes. The Giants are rebuilding under a new coach, the Cowboys struggle to stay healthy, and the Redskins may be one-dimensional with a horrid rushing attack and porous defensive line. Expect the Eagles to pull off an upset or two away from the Linc against their most-heated rivals.