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Sports betting has experienced exponential growth over the past year as states were freed to legalized wagering on the games we love. As a result, the activity has moved from barrooms and back alleys and into the mainstream. Last year, several local Pennsylvania sportsbooks were open for business, but since the last snap of meaningful football in February, the ability of books to operate through mobile apps has made backing up your knowledge with a few bucks easier than ever.
With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to look at wagers related to the Eagles each week and share our thoughts. As a bonus for Week 1, we'll look at a few season-long bets as well, and that will be the focus of today's article.
If you're new to sports gambling, season-long bets, or futures, are a great way to get started and offer better value, allowing you to have a chance at making some significant cash without risking an excessive amount of money.
Before we get started, let us put up a bit of a disclaimer: I certainly am not what those in gambling circles would consider a "sharp" and barring an incredible hot streak the majority of the wagers I place will be modest. At the same time, I'm familiar with the landscape and can help do some research that you may not have time to do during the week. Having said that, let's have some fun.
Player Props (All odds/props via Draftkings Sportsbook)
Player props allow you to bet on the season long stats of individual players. With Doug Pederson expected to get everyone involved in a crowded backfield, we'll skip the running backs and instead focus on Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, and Zach Ertz.
Carson Wentz Total Passing Yards: Over/Under 3,950.5
Wentz will quarterback what is expected to be one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL this season. He has a plethora of weapons at all the skill positions and will play behind a strong offensive line.
Wentz has yet to reach 3,800 passing yards in a season, falling just short in his rookie year with 3,782. However, he missed games in each of the last two seasons, and in each of those years he was on pace to surpass the 4,000 yard mark.
This bet comes down to your trust in Wentz's health. History tells us that if he's on the field for 16 games, he should easily go over the projected number. Similarly, the weapons around him and Pederson's aggressive style point towards the over. At the same time, two-straight injury plagued seasons are a huge red flag and nothing will sink a player prop faster than missed time.
We aren't touching this one, but if you think Wentz makes it through the entire season, the over is the play.
Carson Wentz Passing Touchdowns: Over/Under 28.5
Here we have the same story as above. Wentz went over this number in 2017 in just 13 games, tossing 33 touchdowns before going down. He was on pace for 40. In 2018, Wentz was again on pace to top 28.5 TD passes, throwing 21 in just 11 games despite never looking fully healthy. So again, statistical history and the Eagles offensive outlook support the over, and you just have to decide if you can stomach the injury risk.
Alshon Jeffery Receiving Yards: Over/Under 850.5
Jeffery has surpassed this mark just twice in his seven seasons: he had 1,421 receiving yards in 2013 and 1,133 in 2014. In his two seasons with the Eagles he had 789 yards and 843 yards. He's been a great addition for the Eagles, but history tells us this number is high. When you consider the fact that the ball will likely be spread around in Philadelphia and the ever-lurking possibility of injury, all signs point to the under here if we were inclined to get involved with player props. (We're not)
Alshon Jeffery Receiving Touchdowns: Over/Under 6
At first glance, this number seems quite manageable. The Birds should put the ball in the end zone plenty, and Jeffery should play a decent part in that. He's eclipsed six touchdowns in a season three times and had exactly six once (last year). In 2017 with the Eagles, he had nine.
One concern is the potential progression from Dallas Goedert and the Eagles desire to take advantage of that. Goedert has the makings of an excellent red zone target and could emerge as a go-to player near the goal line. With DeSean Jackson taking up some of home run opportunities, it gets incredibly difficult to predict the touchdown totals for individual Eagles. This one feels like too much of a toss up to take action on.
Zach Ertz Receiving Yards: Over/Under 875.5
Ertz has surpassed this number once in his six-year career when he obliterated it last year by gaining 1,163 yards. He's been a favorite target of Wentz, and he has been incredibly durable, playing at least 14 games in all six of his seasons in the NFL.
The plethora of weapons at Wentz's disposal is a concern, but Ertz's talent and his rapport with Wentz are hard to overlook. He could afford a fairly significant regression and still hit the over. Proceed with caution, but if we were pressed to pick one or the other, we'd go over.
Zach Ertz Receiving Touchdowns: Over/Under 6.5
Ertz has gone over this number in each of the last two seasons, hauling in eight touchdowns in both 2017 and 2018. The number of other weapons in the offense serves as a reason to pause, but it feels like Ertz is still trending up and he should continue to serve as one of Wentz's most trusted options. Still not touching this one as we don't like the variables involved with these types of bets, but the over would be our pick.
Let's move on to team-related future bets.
Eagles to Win the Super Bowl: +1200
If you are new to this, the +1200 simply means you win $1,200 for every $100 you bet.
Futures are fun because they're basically shots in the dark and can provide a nice return on even modest bets. If you're just looking for some fun, you can put a bet or two on some of the favorites just to spice things up or put money on your favorite team. If you're taking things a little more seriously, futures are a great way to look for some value.
The Eagles currently have the fifth-best odds to win the Super Bowl, trailing the Patriots, Chiefs, Rams, and Saints.
Another fun thing about futures is you can place the bet at any point in the season, but the odds will change as the season moves along.
Eagles to Win the NFC: +500
Here, the Eagles have the third-best odds to win the conference, trailing the Rams and Saints.
Eagles to Win the NFC East: -134
The Birds are the favorite to win the division as we enter the season, not only having the best odds but introducing us to the negative number on the odds. This simply means that you have to bet $134 to win $100.
I realize I got a little long here, so thanks for sticking through. Check back later this week for our thoughts on the Week 1 game against the Redskins.