New Jersey bettors will have one of two sentiments in January when it comes to betting on the Philadelphia Eagles.

Come early next year, they will either be saying “the 2021 NFL season was for the birds” or “It was for the BIRDS!”

The standard version would mean the Eagles did not improve enough off their 2020 4-11-1 campaign to make the post-season.

But if it’s for the BIRDS, that would mean postseason football returned.

As the Eagles launch their campaign against the host Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, the consensus for his evaluation is “birds” not BIRDS.

Here is the Rodney Dangerfield rundown on how NJ online sportsbooks see the Eagles.

Philadelphia Eagles last in NFC East?

DraftKings Sportsbook has them last, at +500 to win the NFC East.

DraftKings has them highly placed in a prop they’d rather not be part of. Which team will be the last winless club?

The Detroit Lions are the “favorites” at +250.

The Houston Texans are next at +450.

And then come the Eagles and New York Jets at +1000.

The Jets won this dubious honor last year, going winless until their 14th game.

The key to whether the Eagles could cash in on this might be the opening game. Their DraftKings line improved to +3 against the host Falcons. If they don’t win Game 1, they face the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Kansas City Chiefs in the ensuing three weeks.

Will the Eagles make the NFL Playoffs?

DraftKings bettors indicate an emphatic “no.” It’s -400. For the Eagles to make the playoffs, yes is +300.

What would it take?

Probably nine wins in the 17-game campaign. Maybe 10.

DraftKings listed the Eagles’ over-under at 6.5 for the 17-game campaign. The “over” is nearly unplayable at -140. The under is +115. The feeling from this is that the Eagles will win at least seven.

How does this play into another intriguing wager, exact wins at DraftKings?

Here is the breakdown:

  • Six is +450.
  • Seven is worth +500
  • Eight is +600
  • Nine is +800
  • Ten is +1200

For the sadistic-minded, three wins or less is +600.

For those who want to take an insurance policy on frustration:

Caesars  Sportsbook has a prop.

The Eagles to finish fourth in the NFC East is +130. Some bettors will consider this a serious money-making opportunity. Some Eagles fans will view it as a consolation prize.

And for good measure, Dallas is +600 to finish last. If there’s no Dak Prescott, there is a chance. Eagles fans would delight in this outcome.

NFL East is a wide-open race

As badly as the Eagles finished last year, losing their last three games after defeating the New Orleans Saints, consider the backdrop. Even at 4-9-1, with two weeks remaining in the 2020 season, they could have won out and captured the division.

“Could have” being the keywords.

The Washington Football Team prevailed at 7-9. Although the division was jeered by fans across the country, it was exciting here. No team was out of it. That spirit carries over into this season.

“Last year, nobody was good coming out of the NFC East,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites. “But if you can hang around, win eight games, maybe nine, you should do it regarding winning the East. Maybe you are a better team at the end of the year, so hanging in the race is important.

“There is no reason to think any team is out of it.

“The Cowboys are favored because Dak Prescott is back, but we will see if he stays healthy. If he doesn’t, I think this division is up for grabs.”

A closer look at Eagles-Falcons odds

How about those Eagles in NFL Week 1?  Where are the most creative bets?

Let’s look at where DraftKings started the game week with the Eagles.

Eagles + 3.5 and it moved to +3.

The over-under is 49, up from 48.5.

The Eagles on the moneyline is +150

The Birds took some midweek cash.

Here are some interesting prop-betting considerations:

Running back Miles Sanders is +150 as an anytime scorer and +1000 to score first. This is good value on the “anytime” line, which is usually about even money for a running back.

Receiver DeVonta Smith is +190 as an anytime scorer, +1200 to record the first TD.

For Atlanta, tight end Kyle Pitts, the Philadelphia native the Eagles would have loved to draft, is +130 as an anytime scorer. This shows a lot of respect for a tight end, putting him in the Travis Kelce realm.

Pitts is +900 to score first.

Key issues to consider

Jalen Hurts took over as the team’s starting quarterback for the final four games of the 2020 season in place of the struggling Carson Wentz. He went 1-3 in those starts and finished the season with 1,061 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions while completing 52% of his passes. He also rushed for 354 yards and three scores.

When he threw for three second-quarter scores against the Arizona Cardinals late in the season,  Hurts looked like the second coming. He tailed off after that and the Eagles lost their last three games, but he is considered loaded with talent.

He was also invisible during the preseason as the Eagles decided to ensure against him being injured.

They have South Jersey native and one-time Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco as the backup. They made a late preseason pickup in Gardner Minshew, whose plight indicates how quickly life changes in the NFL.

Two years ago, he was an alliteration: Minshew Mania. He took the league by storm as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. There’s no place for him there now with Trevor Lawrence being drafted by the Jags, but Minshew has demonstrated he can play.

How about DeVonta?

The Eagles drafted the Heisman Trophy-winning receiver from Alabama amid much fanfare. He suffered a knee injury in training camp and was preserved to have him ready now.

Smith looked rusty, dropping passes in the second game of the preseason. What did he accomplish in practice?

Can the Eagles protect Hurts?

They gave up a league-leading four sacks per game last year. Improve that and this offense perhaps puts up five or six more points a game.

AP Photo/Chris Szagola

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.