Football Five: An Intriguing Week 17

Injury replacements, personnel decisions and unprecedented circumstances are all in play in a significant Week 17 for the NFL.

The extra playoff spot introduced this year sparks intrigue for NFL Week 17.

One more team qualifies from each conference, more teams contend and a slew of meaningful games arrive, dwarfing past season finales. New Jersey online sportsbook gamblers, and the operators, enjoy a bulging wagering plate.

Football Five observes some playoff quagmires, bizarre circumstances and high-pressure games.

Evaluating the NFC East

The division will be decided in prime time Sunday night when the last-place and eliminated Philadelphia Eagles host the first-place Washington Football Team.

The line has swung from Philadelphia -1 to Washington -1.5 as of Wednesday. More movements are expected as bettors weigh personnel decisions and seek a wagering edge.

Under normal conditions, a team with its season at stake against a last-place opponent would be considerably favored.

But this isn’t normal.

Washington has done its part to be overlooked. It played the last two weeks — home losses to the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers — waiting for something bad to happen.

And an avalanche of bad things did, especially last week.

Against Carolina, bad break number one was an incomplete pass by Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins that was ruled a fumble with the game scoreless.

Then came a muffed punt return, kicked into the end zone for a Carolina touchdown.

This was followed by a fourth-and-goal conversion barely made by Carolina to hike the score to 13-0. And then came a Haskins pick, enabling the Panthers to take a 20-0 lead.

Washington put forth perhaps the most timid effort ever from a team trying to clinch a division title.

Along with that, Haskins was caught in a strip club without a mask the previous week. The team had no choice but play him when he should have been benched.

But on Monday, Washington decided it had had enough. It released Haskins, who had been its captain one week earlier. That may lift the bad karma surrounding this team.

Alex Smith will likely start for Washington. If not, backup Taylor Heinicke was more effective than Haskins against Carolina.

The team’s entire season could rest on someone who was a backup in the XFL during the spring. And that may not be too bad if he can make quick decisions with the ball.

Washington, which has forgotten how to score, now meets an Eagles team that turned an 11-point lead into a 20-point loss against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. Philadelphia’s defense was particularly woeful at the end of the first half, enabling Dallas to score a go-ahead touchdown with seconds remaining before intermission.

Dallas never looked back, and the Eagles’ post-season hopes vanished.

Rams-Cardinals hopes ‘backed up’

It could be the ultimate battle of second-string quarterbacks.

In a worst-case situation for both the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams, a regular-season finale to determine their playoff fates could feature CFL quarterback Chris Streveler and AAF product John Wolford.

Neither Streveler of the Cardinals nor Wolford of the Rams has attempted an NFL pass. Bettors have a dilemma here. Whom do you trust? The normal answer is the running game, but both defenses will be primed to take it away. Wolford is mobile, which may play a factor.

The betting line was delayed until late Monday before going up with the Rams as a slight favorite.

This game will come down to which team loses rather than who wins. Going in, the loss of Kyler Murray for the Cardinals looms larger than Jared Goff’s departure for the Rams, as Murray’s running ability is a big part of the Arizona offense. The coaching staff is hopeful about Murray returning, but few have shared the optimism.

This heartbreaking scenario also shows what has saved the Cowboys’ season, for the moment. Andy Dalton, a former starting quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals, was signed in the offseason as insurance for Dak Prescott. And Prescott’s season-ending injury activated the policy.

Dalton, who struggled initially, has led the Cowboys back from a 3-9 hole to be 6-9. The Cowboys would claim the NFC East by beating the New York Giants and having the Eagles beat Washington.

What is one element separating the top teams from the field? The contenders have been able to stay with one quarterback. Think Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, among others.

Those teams have assembled a strong enough offensive line to keep their quarterbacks from taking big shots.

Pittsburgh Steelers-Cleveland Browns: Just read the lines

Bettors will tell you everything about whether the Steelers expect to rest their regulars for the season finale in Cleveland.

The Browns, in must-win mode, were picked by a solid touchdown early in the week for this win-and-you-are-in matchup. They rarely beat the Steelers and lost to them 38-7 early this season. The line suggests the Steelers won’t play Roethlisberger and several other big players.

But the Steelers, probably locked into the No. 3 playoff seed behind the Buffalo Bills, have been mum on the subject. They weigh the value of trying to steal the No. 2 seed from the Buffalo Bills by going all out or resting key personnel.

If the Steelers start their main players, that line will shrink substantially. Some Steelers backers took them now and hope the regulars play, gaining an instant deal. The Steelers have one of the league’s worst rushing attacks, and their offense just awoke from slumber, fueling the argument of trying to build offensive momentum for the playoffs.

The Steelers and Bills would presumably meet in a second-round game, in Buffalo. The value of trying to vault over the Bills would be obtaining a home-field edge in that game. Pittsburgh would have to defeat Cleveland and Buffalo would have to lose to the Miami Dolphins at home for that to happen.

And right now, the Bills look unstoppable. If the Steelers think the Bills are going to beat the Dolphins, they will rest big players. And is a home field without fans a big deal this year? Decisions, decisions.

The NFL’s new playoff format makes this type of thinking unprecedented. In previous years, with two teams collecting first-round byes, Pittsburgh and Buffalo would be all in, no questions asked, for the finale.

But with Kansas City locking up the lone AFC bye, whether teams go all out in Week 17 is individual choice.

The Browns are a team that struggles to get over the top. Cleveland needed just one more play to put away the Baltimore Ravens three weeks ago and could not get it. That puts them behind the Ravens in a tie-break situation here.

They also lost the majority of their receiving corps, including Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins, due to COVID-19 testing. Some irresponsibility there cost the Browns dearly. The lack of receivers was prominent in Sunday’s setback to the lowly New York Jets.

Who is this team? Sunday will go a long way to providing the answer.

Note new times for Packers, Saints

The NFL has moved back the Week 17 kickoff times of Packers at the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints at the Panthers to 4:25 EST to match the Seahawks at the San Francisco 49ers.

If Green Bay and New Orleans win, the Seahawks are the NFC’s No. 3 seed regardless of their result vs. the 49ers. Wanting to keep the suspense intact and the Seattle game meaningful to its viewers, the league is putting all three games on at the same time.

Seattle could steal the No. 1 seed if it ended up in a tie with the Packers.

Does this pattern look familiar? It should.

The NFL did the same thing in Week 16. It moved the Washington-Carolina game back to 4:25, coinciding with the Eagles-Cowboys encounter.

A Washington victory would have secured the NFC East and made the Cowboys-Eagles utterly meaningless. For the NFL, meaningless games cost viewers and money. For the sportsbooks, a meaningless contest derails betting interest.

So, this was a good move by the league. Combine it with the Rams-Cardinals, and the NFL has a good afternoon window to match the early games.

Throughout the league, this is the most meaningful Week 17 in several years.

AP Photo

NFL Week 9 Odds: How Eagles’ Win Over Cowboys Impacts NFC East Futures

NFL Week Nine arrives with the Philadelphia Eagles in first place and the favorites to win the NFC East. But are the Birds a good bet?

As NFL Week Nine arrives, the current state of the NFC East has many of us scratching our heads.

It’s been shaky. It’s been flaky.

Here we are at the  halfway point of the 2020 NFL season, and the Philadelphia Eagles are sitting gingerly atop what is now affectionately known as the NFC Least.

As the Eagles bye week dawns, the NJ sports betting crowd can examine the wagering prospects and the shape of the division.

NFL Week 9: Eagles + NFC East lead

While Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys was not pretty by any means, the Eagles just saved their season. Sunday’s 23-9 victory gives them two critical home triumphs over the course of 10 days.

DraftKings Sportsbook had the Eagles odds at +10.5, which somehow managed to pay out. Combine the Dallas win with last week’s 22-21 narrow escape against the New York Giants, and it’s Philadelphia with the inside track to win the NFC Least.

And from an NFL betting perspective, the Eagles are 3 -4-1 against the moneyline and 3-5 against the spread. By the way, the Birds are the first team in the division to put together a two-game win streak.

The Eagles still have three division games remaining on the schedule:

  • Nov. 15 at Giants, 1 p.m.
  • Dec. 27 at Dallas, 4:25 p.m.
  • Jan. 3 Washington, 1 p.m.

Suddenly, that 23-23 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals in Week Three looks like half a win rather than half a loss.

NFC East futures heading into NFL Week 9

So remember the beginning of the season, when the Cowboys were getting all the NFC East action at BetMGM Sportsbook?

Well, those Cowboys wagers are not looking so hot at the moment. At the same time, from a division-wagering standpoint, the Eagles’ train just left the station. The value went from -155 before the Dallas game to -250 at DraftKings.

Within the division, the value appears to be with the Washington Football Team, still an attractive +400 with its 2-5 record. Washington maintained a good price and vaulted to second behind Philadelphia.

Dallas, which stood  at +350 before the game, soared to +800. The Cowboys have been overbet all season and are the only NFL team that has yet to cover a spread.

It’s true that a small win streak can elevate any team’s chances in this division, but we’re essentially halfway home. Division losses are big.

Just look at the Giants. They held an 11-point fourth-quarter lead over the Eagles a few days ago. Strangely, the Giants would have been tied for first place had they pulled out the victory. Three days later, Washington beat Dallas.

But the Giants didn’t get the job done.

New York is in last place and getting  12.5 points at home against Tampa Bay tonight. New York will probably have seven losses when they invade Washington.

They have surged to +1300 to win the division.

OK, this is the first time since 1970 that no NFC East team had at least three wins through seven weeks. However, one of these teams will host a playoff game.

NFL Week 9 big matchups

Barring a tie in Sunday’s game, either Washington will move solidly into second place or New York will give the Eagles breathing room.

The FanDuel Sportsbook line of Washington -3.5 reflects the standard home-field edge of three points.

Washington lost to the G-Men 20-19 in Week Six. The team looks much better with Kyle Allen at quarterback than Dwayne Haskins, and Washington appears ready to play the best football it’s capable of in the next month. Plus, the Football Team  has covered the spread two weeks in a row.

Washington also has wins over Philadelphia and Dallas. This means if the team defeats the Giants, the franchise will have a victory over every NFC Least opponent.

And we can’t forget about them Cowboys.

They have the dubious task of facing the NFL’s only remaining unbeaten team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, at home. FanDuel has Dallas, who is rapidly becoming irrelevant, as 9.5-point underdogs.

Will Andy Dalton return at quarterback for the Cowboys? Will it matter?

Eagles offense continues to be a concern

Even though they are leading the NFC East, the Eagles are struggling offensively.

Coming into the Sunday game against Dallas, quarterback Carson Wentz had been sacked 28 times, which was the most in the league.

He had been hurried 128 times, also tops in the league.

The trend continued Sunday.

Wentz was sacked four times. He also committed a ghastly four turnovers, with two interceptions and two fumbles lost. Better teams will make the Eagles pay for those mistakes more than the Cowboys did Sunday.

Some of the trouble originates from the offensive line protection.

But most of it happens because receivers can’t get open. Wentz often has time, surveys the field and can’t find a receiver. Then he makes a bad play.

The Eagles need to involve the tight end, which used to be the key to their offense. They also need to pass more on first down, as this team has become significantly predictable.

Philadelphia passed on first down just once when starting drives against the Cowboys. There were no crossing routes and few screens.

Wentz made two awful plays in the first half against the Cowboys. One resulted in a fumble that threatened to help Dallas build on its 3-0 lead. The second was a throw off of the wrong foot when he could have run or thrown for a short gain. Wentz’s pass was intercepted in the end zone. The Eagles wasted prime field position throughout the second quarter.

Dallas had set a league record by allowing 20 points in the first half of every game this season. Against the Eagles, they gave up seven points and actually led at intermission.

Eagles bettors like that the defense tallied a touchdown to provide the cover and break open a 15-9 game midway through the final quarter. The defensive score prop also paid between 4-1 and 5-1 across NJ sportsbooks apps.

Around the league

We’ll see what Monday’s game takes out of the Buccaneers. They must turn it around quickly to host the New Orleans Saints in their most important matchup of the season.

This has the makings of a revenge game for Tampa quarterback Tom Brady, who looked ordinary in Tampa’s Week One loss to the Saints. Now he has Rob Gronkowski in full form, so this week could be a different story.

The Seattle Seahawks as a small favorite against the Buffalo Bills is an excellent matchup. The Bills are 6-2 but have not covered for three straight weeks.

And the Jets, playing better despite being the league’s lone winless team, are +7 on the early DraftKings line. They play the New England Patriots next Monday night.

The Jets and Giants may share MetLife Stadium, but between them, they have one home win. The visiting San Francisco 49ers have two.

Speaking of the 49ers, they host the Green Bay Packers in a marquee Thursday Night Football matchup. Green Bay is giving in the neighborhood of a field goal.

photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS

Football Five: Giants And Jets Enter NFL Week 6 Desperately Seeking Wins

The NFL Week Six schedule includes the 0-5 Giants giving 2.5 points against Washington, while the winless Jets head to Miami as 8.5-point underdogs.

The season becomes more intriguing and exciting as teams get ready for NFL Week Six.

Several teams are still seeking their first wins of the season. This includes the two franchises that call MetLife Stadium home

And there’s the situation in Dallas in which the Cowboys will be playing without Dak Prescott. More on his season-ending injury later.

Hard to believe, as we enter NFL Week Six, that there have already been two coaching changes.

Let’s look at the Football Five.

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 Jets + Giants = zero moneyline payouts

The New York Jets and New York Giants are the latest example of why the NFL should be grateful to legalized NJ sports betting. If the 18 NJ sportsbook apps didn’t exist, imagine what the lack of interest would be like in the NFL’s largest market.

The two teams are a combined 0-10 on the moneyline.

The Giants at least have a pulse and are 3-2 against the spread. The Jets are so bad that even the cutouts are staying home.

Looking ahead to Week Six, the Giants are hosting the Washington Football Team and are favored for the first time this year. DraftKings Sportsbook set the opening line at Giants -3.5 prompted, which attracted enough Washington money to move it down to -2.5  early Wednesday morning.

This line could move throughout the week, so timing will be important.

The Jets are +8.5 against the host Miami Dolphins, who just plastered the San Francisco 49ers, 43-17.

And New York will be playing without running back Le’Veon Bell, who was released on Tuesday.

Trusting  Justin Herbert + the Chargers

Justin Herbert, the rookie signal caller for the Los Angeles Chargers, was brilliant against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. Unfortunately, his efforts were undermined by kicker Michael Badgley.

Herbert took the Chargers into the end zone in the fourth quarter and into position to win on the last play of regulation. But Badgley’s game-winning field goal hit the upright.

In overtime, after the New Orleans Saints kicked a field goal, the Chargers were stopped half a yard shy of a first down at midfield. Los Angeles nearly beat the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and now the Saints.

They are a deceiving 1-4 and should be strong when they return from the bye week. The Chargers will put a hurting on somebody in the not-too-distant future.

Cowboys + the Prescott factor

The NFL has been sending get-well wishes to Dallas superstar Dak Prescott, who was lost for the season in the team’s 37-34 triumph over the Giants on Sunday.

What does the loss of Prescott mean to the line? Nearly six points. The Cowboys were -3 against the Arizona Cardinals in early betting for Monday night’s game. Now they are + 2.5, a swing of almost a touchdown.

Dallas is looking smart for signing Andy Dalton in the offseason. The former Bengals quarterback had hit a ceiling with that team and could not get them past the early round of the playoffs.

Now he inherits a Cowboys offense loaded with talent. Zeke Elliott is a premier runner, rookie CeeDee Lamb has emerged as a star receiver and Dalton himself is a veteran.

Prescott’s injury does remove the Cowboys’ mystique, however. Opponents know they are facing Dalton and will pressure a quarterback who is far less mobile than Prescott.

Oddity upon oddity: The Cowboys, at 2-3, lead the NFC Least. Dallas has scored a whopping 163 points, the second-highest total in football behind the Seattle Seahawks (169 points).

With all that offense, guess how many times the Cowboys have covered the spread?

None.

Dallas has also given up 180 points, which leads the NFL.

Super Bowl champs come back to earth

The Las Vegas Raiders not only knocked the Kansas City Chiefs from the unbeaten ranks but manhandled them in Sunday’s 40-32 win — at +10.5 no less. Las Vegas removed some of Patrick Mahomes’s crossing patterns, making him work for everything he got.

The Chiefs are showing some holes. They have had significant stretches of offensive inactivity during three of their games, and the defense is shaky.

They looked to be on another planet after defeating the Baltimore Ravens 34-20 in Week Three.

Now they are on this one.

Looking at NFL Week 6 point spreads

The Green Bay Packers are the only team to cover the spread in every game (based on the DraftKings Sportsbook lines at kickoff). In NFL Week Six, the Packers are giving 2.5  points to Tom Brady and the hosting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In Week Five, the Bengals suffered their first loss against the number, being pounded 27-3 by the Ravens. They are still a big +8 in visiting the Indianapolis Colts.

Pittsburgh Steelers bettors are  encountering late-game drama on a weekly basis.  This team plays close to the number every week, and with two minutes left, the spread is usually up for grabs.

Take last weekend’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The score was 31-29 Pittsburgh for a good chunk of the fourth quarter. The line was Steelers -7.5 points. The home team put the game away with 2:59 remaining when Chase Claypool scored his fourth touchdown of the day,

The Steelers are -3.5 against the visiting Cleveland Browns, winners of four straight overall and three in a row against the spread. Cleveland has hit 30 points on four consecutive weeks for the first time in over 50 years.

The Steelers are 3-1 against the number and are 4-0 for the first time since 1979.

Sportsbook operators will tell you that coaching changes rarely impact the line. But I think they impact performance, as players respond from fear of losing their jobs. The Texans earned their first win and cover of the season under new coach Romeo Crennel on Sunday.

This week, the Atlanta Falcons finally fired coach Dan Quinn and replaced him with Raheem Morris.  Will the players react?

Atlanta, 0-5 and 1-4 against the spread, is +3.5 when facing the host Minnesota Vikings.

It will be interesting to see if the Falcons show up. Their season is over, and the Vikings are in must-win mode at 1-4, including two losses by a single point.

Bettors note: There are no teams giving double-digit points this week.

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NFL Week 6 Odds: Eagles Getting 7.5 Points At Home Versus Ravens

The NFL Week Six has the 1-3-1 Eagles hosting the 4-1 Ravens. The early NJ sports betting line of +7.5 shows Philadelphia has another tough challenge ahead.

The Philadelphia Eagles are once again facing an uphill battle.

The bad news was losing first place in the NFC East (better known as the NFC Least these days) with Sunday’s 38-29 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is despite a gallant Philadelphia effort.

Unfortunately, it was coupled with the now first-place Dallas Cowboys’ improbable 37-34 triumph over the New York Giants.

And things aren’t looking much better for the 1-3-1 Eagles heading into NFL Week Six. The 4-1 Baltimore Ravens are coming to Lincoln Financial Field (1 p.m. EST, CBS). DraftKings Sportsbook had the Eagles’ odds at +7.5 as of  Monday afternoon.

The Ravens just silenced the Cincinnati Bengals 27-3 on Sunday. These are the same Bengals who tied the Eagles 23-23 in Week Three. With the Ravens beating the Bengals by 24 points, one might expect a double-digit line on this game.

From a NJ sports betting perspective, it will be interesting to see where the first wave of betting takes this contest.

NFL Week 6 odds updated

The odds for NFL Week Six are below from the top NJ sportsbooks as of 10 a.m. EST Oct. 12.

NFL Week 6DraftKingsFanDuel Fox Bet
Ravens
Eagles
-7.5
47.5
-7.5
47.5
-7.5
47
Bears
Panthers
+2.5
44
+3
43.5
+3
44
Bengals
Colts
+9
45.5
+9.5
46.5
+8.5
45.5
Browns
Steelers
+4
51
+4.5
51
+4.5
51.5
Lions
Jaguars
-3
53.5
-3
54
-4
54
Washington
Giants
+3.5
44.5
+4
43.5
+3.5
43.5
Texans
Titans
OTBOTBOTB
Falcons
Vikings
OTBOTB+3.5
OTB
Jets
Dolphins
OTBOTB+8.5
OTB
Packers
Buccaneers
-1.5
52.5
-1.5
52.5
-2.5
53.5
Rams
49ers
-3.5
49.5
-3
49.5
-3.5
53.5
Chiefs
Bills
OTBOTBOTB
Cardinals
Cowboys
-2.5
53.5
-2.5
54
2.5
54

Eagles-Ravens NJ sports betting picture

Philadelphia is 1-3-1 against the spread, but the team has hit the over in its win over the San Francisco 49ers and loss to the Steelers.

The explosive Ravens, meanwhile, have hit the under with point totals of 48 and then 30 in the last two weeks.

And the Ravens are 4-1 against the spread.

Taking an initial look at this week’s game, who thought the Ravens defense would be the biggest concern for Eagles backers?

Cincinnati held the high-octane Baltimore offense headed by reigning MVP Lamar Jackson to 20 points on Sunday. That should have been enough for the Bengals to at least cover the 13 points they received across the major NJ sports betting apps.

But the Ravens defense outscored the Bengals offense. Patrick Queen’s 53-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown made the score 27-0. As a whole, the Ravens amassed seven sacks of Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow and produced three turnovers.

On the offensive side, Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews scored his fifth touchdown of the year Sunday. The Jackson-Andrews connection is one of the NFL’s most lethal combinations, and Philadelphia has been vulnerable to opposing tight ends, yielding five touchdowns.

Wide receiver Marquise Brown is another Ravens player to watch. He caught six passes for 77 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals.

Eagles’ WR Travis Fulgham catching on

The Eagles made a household name out of Pittsburgh receiver Chase Claypool. Hnotched four touchdowns and won’t be a surprise on the prop boards anymore.

The Eagles, who scored a season-high 29 points Sunday, fashioned a breakout performance of their own by wide receiver Travis Fulgham. He notched 152 yards and a score, carrying the offense on his back much of the day.

Fulgham, who collected the game-winning touchdown against the 49ers one week earlier, made several critical catches and was a third-down favorite of Wentz.

Prop backers of all Eagles receivers, take note going forward. The Steelers double-teamed Fulgham on an important third-down play as the Eagles tried to march toward the lead. Don’t be surprised if the Ravens double Fulgham this week.

That could open the field for someone else.

Eagles-Steelers NJ sports betting recap

The over 44.5 came home in a breeze.

Prop backers of Eagles running back Miles Sanders at NJ sportsbooks were rewarded with his 74-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, remarkable against a stingy defense.

Fox Bet paid +300 for the Eagles and Steelers to both score touchdowns in each half.

Bettors who took the Eagles and the points were burned out of a cover in the final minutes.

Aggressive Eagles coach Doug Pederson had Jake Elliott try a 57-yard field goal in windswept Heinz Field with 3:18 remaining and Philly trailing by two. A deep punt and the use of all three of his timeouts would have given Philadelphia the ball back with one last chance to win. It also would have put Philadelphia +7.5 in many gambler’s pockets, even if the Steelers had run out the clock.

After the long miss, Philadelphia was burned on a senseless facemask penalty that gave Pittsburgh time to do more than run out the clock. On a third-down call, Roethlisberger spotted Claypool free in single coverage down the middle of the field. They connected on a 35-yard touchdown, game pretty much over.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, meanwhile, threw his eighth interception of the year — more than the entire 2019 season — and it set up a Pittsburgh touchdown to make the score 31-14.

He did bring his team back, getting to within 31-29. Wentz is taking too long to make decisions and rarely makes a comfortable throw. At the same time, his big-time weapons are sidelined with injuries.

Up next: Here comes the NFC Least

Win or lose against the Ravens on Sunday, the Eagles are approaching the critical part of their schedule. We’re talking about three division games over a four-week stretch. And since nobody is running away with the NFC Least, this could be the Eagles’ chance to take control of the division.

Here’s a look at the upcoming schedule:

  • Oct. 22: Thursday Night Football home game against the Giants
  • Nov. 1: Sunday Night Football home game against the Cowboys
  • Bye week
  • Nov. 15: Giants at MetLife Stadium 

Cowboys minus Dak Prescott + NFC East

The NFC East picture changed drastically on Sunday. Star Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a severe ankle injury that required surgery on Sunday night. He is done for the season.

The incident occurred during the third quarter of Dallas’ 37-34 win over the  Giants.

Former Bengals QB Andy Dalton is taking over the offense. He signed with Dallas during the offseason as an insurance policy for Prescott. And the policy has a claim on it.

It is likely that Dalton will play fairly well. He has significant support in running back Zeke Elliott and an emerging star receiver in CeeDee Lamb.

Injuries aside, the Cowboys are currently the team to beat. Even though the Eagles are no longer a first-place team, they’re still a contender for the NFC East title.

Then again, so are the Cowboys (2-3), Washington (1-4) and the Giants (0-5).

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NFL Week 5 Odds Boosts: Eagles-Steelers Bettors Rooting For Touchdowns

The Eagles-Steelers showdown in Pittsburgh has multiple NFL odds boosts from NJ sportsbooks, such as: Will both teams score touchdowns in each half?

NFL odds boosts are where the fun and business elements of NJ sports betting intersect.

They create entertaining wagers for bettors who like something different, especially yardage or team-scoring props.

Fox Bet NJ has emerged as a premier player in this space.

Here’s a look at some of the better Week Five NFL odds boosts.

Eagles-Steelers touchdown totals

What are the chances that the Philadelphia Eagles score a touchdown in each half against the Pittsburgh Steelers?

At the same time, what are the chances that the undefeated AFC North leaders do the same?

Well, Fox Bet has boosted this exact scenario from +200 to +300. Both of these teams can usually do that.

Why play it: Scoring is up everywhere in the NFL, so this scenario doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Through three games, the Steelers have scored a touchdown in every half. The Eagles have done the same in their last two games. If two medium-scoring teams have succeeded at this wager, it’s a good play.

Why skip it: Both offenses go through sporadic periods. One of these teams laid an egg for one half. More importantly, will field goals replace touchdowns if one team is up big?

Sticking with the same game, there is another odds boost related to Miles Sanders and James Conner. The running backs to combine for 150 yards total is up from +135 to +160 and is a worthy consideration.

Why play it: This bet has a strong chance to pay out. Both backs are capable of breaking off long runs. You have two guys going at once, rather than each player needing to hit a certain number.

Why skip it: If you think the game could be a blowout, one or both of these backs get taken off the field. Plus, injuries are always a concern in a yardage prop.

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Other NFL odds boosts on Fox Bet board

Todd Gurley and Joe Mixon to score touchdowns is boosted from +200 to +300.

Gurley plays for the Atlanta Falcons and is going against the Carolina Panthers. You’d like him to score and consider that in a separate prop.

Mixon is the mojo for the Cincinnati Bengals running game. This week, he is facing a Baltimore Ravens team that has been taking opposing running backs out of the picture by jumping out to big early leads.

Then is the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is off to an explosive start, throwing for at least 450 yards in each of the Cowboys’ last three games. The flip side is his team is 1-3.

And the Giants are 0-4.

With all this being said, Fox Bet has boosted Prescott to throw for 330 or more yards combined with a Cowboys win from +162 to +200  The tricky selection is needing to believe the Giants will stay close enough to make him throw.

So ironically, a Prescott yardage prop is really a bet on the Giants offense.

Sticking with the quarterback theme, can Russell Wilson throw for three touchdowns and his Seattle Seahawks beat the Minnesota Vikings?

The odds are boosted from +162 to +200. This is intriguing because Seattle’s offensive numbers would indicate he can toss three TDs. At the same time, the Seahawks often run the ball in, and Wilson is a threat to score a rushing touchdown.

Moving the points at FanDuel Sportsbook

We highlighted a prop here last week that came out just as projected.

FanDuel Sportsbook allowed bettors to move the Baltimore RavensWashington Football Team line from -14 to -12 and get a boost from -115 to +110.

The Ravens won 31-17, the exact original number. But this play became a winner on the special FanDuel props boost. Props if you took this prop.

Adjusting the spread, as opposed to a yardage play, remains the focus this week.

The Eagles at +7.5 moves from -120 to +100 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Maximum bet $50. This changes the odds from laying 6-5 to getting even money, while also getting half a point.

This is an interesting play in conjunction with the overall line. Based on when they make the wager, bettors may get 7-5 on this game for larger bets anyway, but it will be -110, not +100.

Bettors can also move the Vikings up to -8.5 against the Seahawks, the Kansas City Chiefs down to -10.5 against the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cowboys to -7.5 against the Giants. It boosts the payout from +479 to +550.

Taking the original lines on these games is +628, but there is substantial line movement in the bettors’ favor in the prop. Kansas City and Dallas both drop a full point. and Minnesota moves up by 1.5 points.

Jets odds and positive COVID-19 test

Earlier today, news broke that the New York Jets were sent home as the result of a positive COVID-19 test.

This puts Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium in jeopardy.

Both FanDuel and DraftKings Sportsbook had the game off the board as of 3:45 p.m. EST today.

Both operators had boosts that involved the Cardinals and may have to be updated. If the game gets pushed back, bettors may select other options with faster results.

Along that front:

The Denver Broncos at the New England Patriots game is now scheduled for Monday (5 p.m. EST) on ESPN. Sunday’s Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans contest now is set to be played on Tuesday (7 p.m. on CBS).

Positive COVID-19 testing by players moved, yet still preserved, these games.

PointsBet + no juice spreads

PointsBet NJ has a Saturday special, so to speak. The operator is running a “No Juice Saturday” promo. It applies to NFL point spreads and refers to those odds of +100 or the equivalent (one side listed at -110 and the other at +110). Normal trading limits apply.

This is an excellent play for bettors who know who they like on Saturday and won’t need a late-line Sunday movement to determine their wager.

Gene J. Puskar

 

Football Five: Which Teams Are Covering The Spread As NFL Week 5 Approaches?

Bettors may be looking at the Eagles’ odds of +7 vs. the Steelers. But as NFL Week Five arrives, the Birds and Giants are not winning against the spread.

The Philadelphia Eagles finally have some winning momentum on their side. The Birds picked up their first victory of the 2020 NFL season with a 25-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

From an NJ sports betting perspective, Philly bettors cashed in big time as the Eagles went off as 9-point underdogs. And the moneyline paid out, too. And it’s a big change from the previous three weeks.

Now that most teams have played four games, this is a good time to look at which teams are faring the best against the spread.

The New York Giants and Jets are two teams you won’t see on this list, as both franchises are still seeking that first win.

Time to take a closer look at the latest NFL odds with the Football Five heading into Week Five.

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Eagles, Giants and Jets Week 5 odds

The Philadelphia Eagles are traveling to Pittsburgh for a game against the Steelers.

The Birds opened as a surprising +7 against the host Steelers after upending the defending NFC champion 49ers. The Eagles defense did its part with three turnovers that led to 17 total points in a pivotal victory.

But that was last week.

FanDuel Sportsbook added a significant half point to the Eagles line on Tuesday, moving the line to 7.5. It was back to 7 as of Wednesday morning.

That extra half point is important for any Eagles backer.

Despite losing 17-9 to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, the Giants actually covered the spread and showed a stout defense.

But offensively, they haven’t scored a touchdown since Week Two. That should change against the Dallas Cowboys, who were scorched for 49 points against the Cleveland Browns. The visiting G-Men are getting 10 points at DraftKings Sportsbook, while FanDuel has the line at 9.5.

The Jets played with heart in last week’s Thursday Night Football game before falling to 0-4 with a 37-28 loss to the Denver Broncos.

A dropped pass by tight end Chris Herndon on the final drive probably prevented victory.

But Jets bettors jumped on a +7.5 number at FanDuel Sportsbook against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday morning. That line quickly dropped to 6.5 at the two books. Fox Bet still had the Jets +7  on Wednesday morning.

Which NFL teams are beating the spread?

Bettors like to know who is covering the number.

Here are top teams and their upcoming schedule compiled by NJ Gambling Sites. Results are determined by DraftKings odds at game time.

Odds for the upcoming week are from DraftKings and FanDuel unless otherwise noted.

Cincinnati Bengals, 4-0

Yes, sir, this 2-12 team from last year is climbing upward with rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. The Bengals are +13.5 against the high-flying Baltimore Ravens this week. You know expectations are high when the bookmakers gave the Jacksonville Jaguars three points when Cincinnati is entering Sunday’s game winless. The Bengals then prevailed 33-25.

Seattle Seahawks, 4-0

As partially expected, this is an excellent team. Seattle is -7 against the visiting Minnesota Vikings this week. Closest calls to not covering?

First, they stopped Cam Newton on the 1-yard line to preserve a five-point lead on the final play. The Seahawks were 4.5-point favorites to the New England Patriots. They provided a gift to bettors the next week in a 38-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys, again giving 4.5. They were losing 31-30 late and had third down from the Dallas 29.

Go for the field goal, right? Nope.

Quarterback Russell Wilson threw deep, secured a touchdown and Seattle -4.5 bettors rejoiced.

Green Bay Packers, 4-0

Green Bay is 4-0 against the spread and in the standings. The system is clicking with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and whoever steps up plays a role. The Packers have bye week.

Buffalo Bills, 3-0-1

The Bills are the real deal this year. They stole the push at -3 in a miraculous late-second win over the Rams in Week Three. And they beat a good Las Vegas Raiders team on Sunday. The Bills are scheduled to play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. However, there is no early line, as last week’s  Titans game against the Steelers was postponed due to several players testing positive for COVID-19.

Indianapolis Colts 3-1

Good defense is helping Indy overcome a Week One setback to Jacksonville. Last Sunday, the Colts stifled the previously undefeated Chicago Bears, 19-11. Now the Colts are getting ready to invade Cleveland and are giving up  1.5 at FanDuel and -2  at DraftKings. This one will pit one of the NFL’s top defenses against a red-hot Browns offense. Can’t wait for this one.

Having no luck against the spread

Only the Jets and Houston Texans are winless against the spread.

If the Jets show the same effort against Arizona that they did against Denver, they should at least cover the number.

The Texans will likely be motivated by Monday’s coaching change. Bill O’Brien is out. Romeo Crennel is in as an interim head coach. And the players won’t feel safe. Houston is giving six points to the Jaguars.

Browns attracting betting attention

The Cleveland Browns’ 49-38 over the Dallas Cowboys was a coming-of-age, get-over-the-hump triumph.

As they prepare to host the Indianapolis Colts, the Browns have cleared a big hurdle. They have won three straight and gone to 3-1 on the moneyline, 2-2 on the spread.

Sunday’s victory recertified the Browns as a playoff contender instead of the underachieving group from last year. Remember that Cleveland improved to 7-8-1 under quarterback Baker Mayfield two years ago. And then they acquired playmaker Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver. Playoff expectations came, but the combo did not click last season as the Browns went 6-10.

Sunday, the combo worked. In his finest game as a Brown, Beckham scored three times. The last was pure beauty as he helped Cleveland protect a lead that had shriveled from 41-14 to 41-38 late in the final quarter.

Beckham took an end-around handoff, circled wide to avoid being tackled in the backfield and stormed upfield for a 50-yard score. First down, touchdown, ballgame.

The Browns may have blown the entire lead if they had to punt there. Instead, they found the putaway play that was lacking the last two years. This was an emotional step forward.

The Browns also surpassed 30 points for the third straight week. That has not happened in 50 years.

The line on Justin Herbert + LA Chargers

Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert looked good for the Los Angeles Chargers in their 38-31 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The final score resulted in a push on the official line.  The Chargers had a 24-7 lead, but a mistake at the end of the first half cost them.

They got the ball back on a punt with 50 seconds to go at their own nine. Rather than kneel on the ball and take a 17-point lead into the locker room, the Chargers decided to run a play.

The running play resulted in a fumble. Tampa Bay recovered the ball and scored just before intermission. That changed the momentum. If a team runs the ball into the line, it is essentially running out the clock anyway. Why not kneel there?

Regardless, you can trust Herbert going forward.

NFL betting trend heading into Week 5

The prolific offensive records through the first four weeks are telling us something. Pass defenders are at least a couple of steps behind the receivers.

Keep this in mind going forward regarding the totals, or over/under,  in NFL games. Same goes with the enticing props like a player to produce certain numbers offensively and his team to win.

Take note that there is one fewer game this week, as the Packers and Detroit Lions are off.

AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn