News flash: The previously winless Philadelphia Eagles now sit atop the NFC East with a 1-2-1 record.
Up next is a Keystone State battle at the 3-0 Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday (1 p.m. kickoff).
By the way, the Birds are the only NFL team leading a division with just one win. The other seven first-place squads, including the Steelers, all have at least three victories apiece.
The perceived weakness of the NFC East is reflected in a surprising opening NJ sports betting line. DraftKings Sportsbook installed Pittsburgh as a 7-point favorite. Same deal with FanDuel.
Looking at NFL Week Five odds as a whole, all three teams with Garden State ties opened the week getting a minimum of seven points.
NFL Week 5 odds updated
Below are the odds for NFL Week Five from the top NJ sportsbooks as of 9 a.m. EST Oct. 6.
|NFL Week 5||DraftKings||FanDuel||Fox Bet|
Finding value in early Eagles odds
Getting back to the Eagles-Steelers line, the NFL betting odds came out after the Birds stunned the San Francisco 49ers 25-20 on Sunday Night Football.
Philly went off as a 7- to 9-point underdog across the major NJ sportsbooks.
In terms of this week’s game, the Eagles moved to +7.5 on Monday morning at FanDuel Sportsbook and +285 on the moneyline.
As of this afternoon, they are +245 on the DraftKings moneyline, and the over-under is 45.
This line is a big invitation to Eagles bettors who may want to get some early value and see where the spread goes.
Keystone State bragging rights
The rare battle of Pennsylvania only takes place once every four years (unless the two teams happen to meet in the Super Bowl). The game has additional intrigue this week.
The undefeated Steelers did not play Sunday. Their game against the Tennessee Titans was postponed until Oct. 25 after several Titans players tested positive for COVID-19.
Bettors can view this scenario as the Steelers being rested or being rusty.
As a result of the schedule change, this will be Pittsburgh’s third consecutive home game.
They defeated the Denver Broncos 26-21 as a 7.5-point favorite in Week Two and followed it up by toppling the Houston Texans 28-21 while giving three points. The Steelers are 2-1 against the spread.
The Eagles, meanwhile, are 1 -3 against the number.
Eagles vs. Steelers: So, how does this game shape up?
Here is a look at the intangibles.
The Eagles come off an inspiring victory against the defending NFC champion 49ers. The win is the result of a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns ignited by the defense.
After Malik Johnson recovered a fumble for the Eagles, quarterback Carson Wentz tossed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Travis Fulgham. He was signed off the practice squad on Saturday.
The second was a pick-six by Alex Singleton on the ensuing possession. A 14 -11 deficit had become a 25-14 lead.
The game wasn’t locked away until the final play. A desperation heave by backup 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard bounced among several hands in the end zone before falling incomplete.
The Philadelphia effort revealed some character. A second-quarter interception by Rodney McLeod saved at least three points. The fourth-quarter turnovers led to 14 more. Five sacks helped, too.
Even though San Francisco dominated the game in total yards, 417-267, Philadelphia’s defense gave the team a chance to pull this out.
Eagles + NJ sports betting action
Jumping ahead to this week’s game, the Eagles are likely to gain strong betting action.
Their betting support often increased substantially after a win last season.
The Eagles were even backed pretty well in the 49ers game, despite entering with no victories.
FanDuel reported Sunday that 72% of its moneyline bets and 58% of the handle rode with the Eagles.
That’s an unusually high percentage of moneyline bets for a 9-point underdog. The spread bets were evenly split, while the over 45 at FanDuel was a push.
Bettors were ready for the Eagles to turn the corner against the banged-up 49ers. They may be more supportive as a result of this game.
A playoff team from last year getting a touchdown?
Philadelphia bettors just cashed tickets on the exact same wager.
Steelers have a talented offense
Philadelphia has given up five touchdowns to tight ends this season, one of the highest totals in the league. Sunday night, 49ers tight end George Kittle returned from injury and caught an amazing 15 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown.
This brings a prop spotlight to Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald of the Steelers. Ebron caught five passes and scored in Week Three against the Houston Texans. He was targeted a healthy seven times.
McDonald had three catches. Watch both players for yardage or scoring props.
Pittsburgh is enjoying a fine start after missing the playoffs with an 8-8 record last year.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to rebound from a shoulder injury that shelved him last year. He has shown strong game management, hurling seven touchdowns against only one interception.
Roethlisberger has always enjoyed the luxury of speedy receivers, and JuJu Smith-Schuster is emerging as a star this season. James Washington and Chase Claypool are the other deep threats.
James Conner gives the Steelers offense a strong slashing runner in the backfield. Pittsburgh is one of the league’s more disciplined teams.
With many offensive weapons, the Eagles defense will need to step up once again. Wentz and crew will need to do their part, too.
And as far as Keystone bragging rights go, the Eagles dominated the last matchup (back in 2016), 34-3.
AP Photo/Scot Tucker