Some New Jersey online gamblers have the golden ticket. They relish taking the Philadelphia Eagles at -2.5 last Sunday night, moments after DraftKings Sportsbook posted the line for this week’s game against the Washington Football Team.
Others will be happy they caught the Eagles Monday at -3.5 or -4, while the line was gaining steam.
By Tuesday, the betting odds shuffled between -4.5 and -5. Not a bargain, but not a bust. Just square odds.
And then the train left the station. One word wreaked havoc on this betting line on Thursday: Omicron.
The latest COVID variant sweeping the Washington dressing room vaulted the odds as high as Philadelphia -11 before settling at -9.5 across most NJ sportsbooks on Friday morning.
News of the outbreak, causing numerous players to be sidelined, made the betting line nearly unplayable.
It is difficult to trust any point spread involving players who may or may not appear. The number of cases grew to include talk of the game being postponed, or forfeited.
Perhaps props should focus on “will he play” for a specific Washington player, much like a touchdown prop.
Philadelphia Vs. Washington: Quarterback Issues
Taylor Heinicke, Washington’s starting quarterback, suffered a knee injury late in its 27-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboyslast week and did not return. His status is unknown, but the line has reflected him not playing all week.
Washington may turn to a Kyle to pick up the slack, but not the one bettors know. Not the Kyle Allen who spelled Heinicke late in the game and looked capable of leading the team. Allen was diagnosed with COVID and must present two negative tests before game time in order to play.
If he can’t go, it’s another Kyle. This one is Kyle Shurmer, who joined Washington’s practice squad in September after spending 2019-2020 on and off the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals’ scout teams.
Does the Shurmur name ring a bell? His father Pat, now the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator, was once the Eagles’ offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Shurmer was credited with helping Donovan McNabb and Nick Foles gain stardom. He even coached the Eagles for one game in 2015, a victory over the New York Giants.
How eerily fitting, in a situation like this, for his son to play against the Eagles?
Or there’s Jordan Ta’Amu, a brief standout in the XFL in 2020. He split time between the Chiefs and Detroit Lions’practice squads over the last two seasons.
One has to feel for Washington. Including the early-season loss of Ryan Fitzpatrick, this dilemma could make it use a No. 4 or No. 5 quarterback option in its biggest game of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles Prop Board Reduced
Most of the props throughout the sportsbooks are so lopsided favoring the Eagles that they can’t be wagered.
Some were simply not put up. DraftKings has several head-to-head matchups on quarterbacks throughout the league. But the Washington starter is unknown, thus the prop can’t be established.
Some remain at DraftKings:
Washington touchdowns over-under total is 1.5. Over is -135 and the under is -105. Total touchdowns in the game from both teams has an over-under of 4.5 with both sides at -115.
The longest touchdown of the game of over 40.5 yards is -110 and the under is -120.
First score of the game:
- Eagles touchdown +145
- Eagles field goal +285
- Washington touchdown +475
- Washington field goal +310
- Eagles safety +8000
This bet is not as freakish as it appears. It would not be surprising to see a new quarterback sacked in the end zone. Yes, it’s a long shot, but not ridiculous in this setting.
A Washington safety is +7500.
Eagles Odds Were Already Moving
Prior to Thursday’s news, the Eagles had already gained the public’s trust.
Before the COVID development occurred, DraftKings race and sportsbook director Johnny Avello said the public had lined up behind the Birds.
“We opened at the Eagles -2.5 and before too long it was at 5,” Avello told NJGS. “A lot had to do with Heinicke and whether he could play. There was the Terry McLaurin situation too,” he added regarding Washington’s top receiver, who was under concussion protocol from being knocked out of the game last week.
“When these two teams play, the normal circumstance would be that you think this line is three,” Avello added. “That is where you would position this.”
“It looks like many bettors thought the initial line was too light and when it got to 4, they started piling on.”
Caesars offers a startling number regarding the first drive of the game.
For Washington, the outcome of a punt is the largest posted all year, -220. That means the odds are better than 2-1 that Washington will boot it away after their first possession.
Many teams will be around even money on this. A good team will have plus numbers. For instance, an Arizona Cardinals punt on their first drive against the Detroit Lions is +130.
They also have the following odds for that market:
- Field goal attempt +430
- Touchdown +575
- Turnover +700
For the Eagles:
- Punt -110
- Touchdown +250
- Field goal attempt +400
- Turnover +625
Caesars also offers one with Washington’s total punts in the game exceeding 5.5. The over is +120 and the under is -140.
FanDuel teases bettors on whether each team can score a touchdown in each half. That’s +250.
How The Eagles Enter Week 15
Regardless of where bettors sit on this, the Eagles will be grateful for any break they receive.
They are in must-win mode and (along with the Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, and Atlanta Falcons) are tied with Washington at 6-7 for the final NFC playoff position, which Washington has.
The Eagles would leap-frog Washington with a victory and then scoreboard watch these games:
The Vikings visit the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football as the favorite.
Atlanta visits the 7-6 San Francisco 49ers as a substantial dog. At least one of the teams the Eagles are fighting with will obtain a loss.
San Francisco owns a tiebreak over the Eagles by virtue of beating them early in the season. Philadelphia has the same tiebreak edge over Atlanta and New Orleans by beating them. The Birds probably wouldn’t mind a Niners victory.
The Saints visit the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a big dog. That is expected to be loss No. 8 for New Orleans.
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)