The outcasts are in. The Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers remind New Jersey sports bettors how fortunes change when they meet Sunday in NFL Week 5.
At this time last season, Jalen Hurts was on the bench for the Eagles and Sam Darnold was an unpopular New York Jet.
Look at them now. Darnold leads the rejuvenated 3-1 Carolina Panthers against a 1-3 Eagles team quarterbacked by Hurts.
Darnold is reborn, producing fireworks with an astounding five rushing touchdowns. He is the first quarterback in league history to rush for five touchdowns in the first four games of the season.
And the Jets didn’t want him. They peddled Darnold to launch the Zach Wilson era. Darnold is laughing last at his 1-3 former team.
Hurts is maligned in some quarters, but has been a human cash register for New Jersey online prop bettors with 713 yards and four touchdown passes in the last two weeks. Gamblers don’t care if some of that came in garbage time.
Darnold enjoys the breakthrough season Hurts still wants to get as they meet in Carolina. Here is a look at five NJ sports betting angles for Sunday’s Eagles-Panthers game.
Eagles vs. Panthers odds at NJ sportsbooks
1. Philadelphia Eagles expected to keep it close
DraftKings Sportsbook bettors faded the Eagles, taking the Kansas City Chiefs at a whopping 98% last week, the book’s highest level of endorsement in any NFL game.
The Eagles’ opponent made good on it by covering the seven points in a 42-30 triumph.
But this week it’s not 98%. It’s 58% for the Birds’ opponent with Carolina -3.5, revealing that a decent percentage of gamblers expect the Eagles to stay in it.
There is a sharps-versus public betting sighting on the over-under of 44.5.
Although 85% of the DraftKings tickets have been cast on the over, only 49% of the money has gone there. The big gamblers think this game finishes under the total and there is precedent.
Five of the last six Carolina games have finished under.
2. Will the Eagles follow the Dallas Cowboys script?
The Dallas Cowboys singed Carolina for 245 rushing yards last week. That made the pass play far easier for quarterback Dak Prescott, who had four TD tosses and only 188 yards.
The ground game is an interesting consideration because the Eagles have not been using it. They only had 29 yards rushing, outside of Hurts, in Week 3. That improved last week with 56 non-Hurts rushing yards and 92 yards on passes to Kenneth Gainwell and Miles Sanders out of the backfield.
Gainwell had six receptions and a score.
If Carolina’s last opponent could run at will, the Eagles will probably use their backs more, even if much of that comes via swing passes.
Hurts wisely targeted his tight ends 13 times last week. This is a success formula going forward. Dallas tight end Dalton Schultz tore up both the Eagles and Panthers on successive weeks. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are quality receivers for Hurts.
But is the Eagles’ glass half empty?
They lost points via penalties, again, versus the Kansas City Chiefs. They self-destructed at times.
Or is the glass half full?
DeVonta Smith surpassed 100 yards receiving for the first time. The backfield was more involved. This offense could be ready to put a game together.
3. Eagles’ D is a major concern
Bettors who took the over feasted on the Eagles’ porous defense the past couple of weeks. Philadelphia yielded 41 points to the Dallas Cowboys (granted, a Pick 6 by Dallas doesn’t reflect on the Eagles defense) and 42 points against Kansas City.
In both cases, the Eagles were walloped both up the middle in the running game and deep with the passing attack.
Against Kansas City, Patrick Mahomes tossed five touchdown passes (although two were shovel passes, glorified handoffs that count as TD tosses). Equally concerning for Philadelphia, Clyde Edwards-Helaire had his best rushing effort of the season 102 yards.
Is the defensive glass half-empty?
The Eagles gave up more than 40 points in two consecutive weeks.
Or is it half full?
That was the Cowboys and Chiefs in succession. Carolina scores less (averaging 24.5 points per game).
4. The silent McCaffrey effect
Looking for an edge?
Here’s a possible nugget, coming from Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings.
The Panthers have an all-out star in running back Christian McCaffrey. Early reports were that he would not play Sunday, although that decision could come close to game time. However, he was back at practice Wednesday.
What’s McCaffrey’s impact on the line?
“A running back or a wide receiver never gets enough respect to be represented on the betting line,” Avello told NJ Gambling Sites, “but personally I think McCaffrey is worth two or three points. You won’t see this reflected in the official line, but he makes a difference.
“Sam Darnold needs a guy like that,” Avello adds. “He needs to have outlets and McCaffrey gives you that outlet.”
So, when everyone’s covered, Darnold can dump off to McCaffrey, who can turn routine plays into large gains.
If McCaffrey does not play, the other backs are pretty good but they can’t make tacklers miss them the way McCaffrey does.
Look for names like Chuba Hubbard, who had 13 carries last week. Receiver D.J. Moore had eight catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He is a legitimate threat and should be considered for yardage and touchdown-scoring props.
This leads us to …
5. Prop City at NJ online sportsbooks
If nothing else, Hurts is rewarding the bettors. He’s hit his yardage and touchdown over totals the last two weeks.
This one is more modest. His passing yardage is over 242.5 at -115 on either side at DraftKings.
Darnold is 252.5 yards for -115 on either side.
If you’re looking at touchdowns for Hurts, the over-under is 1.5. The over is -110, the under is -120.
Can Hurts and Darnold each throw and run for a touchdown? That’s +500.
Miles Sanders over-under 68.5 rushing and receiving yards is -115 either side.
Will the Eagles score more than 2.5 touchdowns? The over is +125, the under is -165.
What about how the opening drives will playout for the Eagles and Panthers? Here is a look at the Caesars Sportsbook odds.
- Punt -120
- Touchdown +350
- Field goal attempt +390
- Turnover +460
- Punt +113
- Touchdown +240
- Field goal attempt +350
- Turnover +500
NJ sports bettors who think the Eagles’ offense will lead the scoring race may want to check the BetMGM sportsbook odds. Philadelphia to win the race to 10 points is +115 while the first to 20 points is +180.
The Birds to score first is -105. They are 2-2 in that category.
The team that scores first to lose is +140.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke