2020 Team Betting Previews: Eagles

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2020 Team Betting Previews: Eagles

Injuries plagued the Eagles on both sides of the ball for much of the 2019 season, and they sat two games below .500 heading into their final four games of the year, all against divisional opponents. The Eagles ran the table in those final four games to finish 9-7 overall and to cash -240 odds to make the playoffs and -160 odds to win the NFC East. The Eagles fell 17-9 to the Seahawks in the Wild Card Round after Carson Wentz left early with a concussion on a dirty hit by Jadeveon Clowney.

The Eagles finished with a 7-10 against-the-spread record because of their shaky 5-6 mark in one-score games — they ended the year with a 3-2 record in games decided by three scores or more. Philadelphia ended the year with a 9-8 mark toward under totals after scoring the 15th-most points per game (23.2) and allowing the 15th-fewest points per game.

Philadelphia’s 2020 win total (9) fell by a victory from last season despite winning the division last season. The Eagles fell below their 2019 season win total with their seventh loss of the season to the Dolphins in Week 13. Philadelphia has -177 odds to reach the playoffs for the fourth straight year in Wentz’s fifth season. Entering the season, I have the Eagles power rated as the eighth-best team in the NFL (+2000 to win Super Bowl LV), as the sixth-best team in the NFC (+1000 to win the conference), and as the second-best team in the NFC East (+140).

2020 Schedule

WeekOpponent (spread if available)Time
1@Washington Football (-6.5)1
2Los Angeles Rams (-4)1
3Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5)1
4@San Francisco 49ers (+5.5)8:20 (Sun)
5@Pittsburgh Steelers (+1.5)1
6Baltimore Ravens (+2.5)1
7New York Giants (-7.5)8:20 (Thurs)
8Dallas Cowboys (-2.5)8:20 (Sun)
9BYEBYE
10@New York Giants (-3.5)1
11@Cleveland Browns (+1)1
12Seattle Seahawks (-2.5)8:15 (Mon)
13@Green Bay Packers (+2)4:25
14New Orleans Saints (+1.5)4:25
15@Arizona Cardinals (-1.5)4:05
16@Dallas Cowboys (+3.5)4:25
17Washington Football1

Key Off-season Moves

Additions

Darius Slay (CB)

Javon Hargrave (DT)

Nickell Robey-Coleman (CB)

Jalen Reagor (WR)

Jalen Hurts (QB)

Departures

Halapoulivaati Vaitai (OT, Det)

Malcolm Jenkins (S, NO)

Jordan Howard (RB, Mia)

Timmy Jernigan (DT, Hou)

Nelson Agholor (WR, LV)

Ronald Darby (CB, Was)

Darren Sproles (RB, retired)

Vinny Curry (DE, FA)

Nigel Bradham (LB, FA)

Marquise Goodwin (WR, opted out)

2020 Season Odds

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Team FuturesOdds
Season Win Total (O/U)9 (-134/+110)
NFC East+140
Playoffs (Y/N)-177/+144
NFC Championship+1000
Super Bowl+2000

Reasons to Bet Over the Season Win Total

The NFL had a relatively light year when it came to head coaching turnover from the 2019 season to the 2020 season. This year’s coaching carousel produced a 10-year low for turnover at the 32 head coaching spots with just five teams hiring new coaches — the league averaged 7.1 head-coaching changes per year in 2011-19. However, the NFC East saw the majority of that turnover with three of the four franchises making changes at the top. The Eagles with Doug Pederson and his coaching staff were the only NFC East team to stand pat, which could be a massive advantage in the division this season with such a chaotic off-season/preseason to implement new systems.

The Eagles already had one of the best defensive lines in the league in recent seasons with a top-10 run-stuffing unit (rushing yards per game) in each of the last three seasons thanks to studs like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. They could have the best D-line in the league this year after signing former Steeler Javon Hargrave, and it doesn’t hurt that they’ll get Malik Jackson back in the fold after he played just one game last season. The Eagles also attacked their perennially weak cornerback play by trading for Darius Slay and by signing Nickell Robey-Coleman.

Philadelphia’s two biggest weaknesses last season were in their secondary and at wide receiver, and the Eagles attacked those personnel issues this off-season. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert make up the best tight end tandem in the league, but they were by far the biggest threats in the passing game after a slew of injuries crippled their thin WR depth chart. The Eagles drafted speed, speed, and more speed by selecting Jalen Reagor (4.47 speed), John Hightower (4.43), and Quez Watkins (4.35). Carson Wentz wants to aggressively attack downfield, and he’ll be able to get back to doing it this season with the Eagles loading up on speed.

The Eagles didn’t get many breaks from their schedule this season, and they’ll need to make hay early in the year. They’ll be big favorites in their first three games of the season (@Was, LAR, Cin) before their schedule gets much tougher. Philadelphia is currently favored in five of their first eight before being favored in three of their next seven lined contests — their Week 17 matchup with the Redskins isn’t lined.

Reasons to Bet Under the Season Win Total

The Eagles have been one of the best teams in trenches on both sides of the ball in recent seasons, but they have some mild concerns along their offensive line this season. Philly lost RG Brandon Brooks for the season in July with a torn Achilles, which is a massive blow after PFF graded him as their top guard last season. The Eagles were able to bring back veteran Jason Peters after Brooks’ injury, and he’ll likely shift inside to right guard. Andre Dillard, a 2019 first-round pick, will get his big chance to be blindside protector for Carson Wentz after a disappointing rookie year. Dillard’s development at left tackle this season could dictate if this unit remains among the league’s best or if this unit is in flux this season if they have to move Peters back to left tackle.

Philadelphia attacked wide receiver in the draft this off-season, but it still has potential pitfalls at the position. The Eagles are relying on injury-prone veterans like Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson once again, which didn’t work out well last year. And they’re relying on a bunch of rookies like Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins, which is risky since first-year players could have a tougher learning curve this season. They certainly weren’t helped out by Marquise Goodwin deciding to opt-out for the season. The Eagles have more WR depth compared to last year, but it wouldn’t be shocking if they have wide receiver issues again if D-Jax starts to look his age (33) and if Reagor isn’t quite ready for a big role.

The Eagles could have the best defensive line in the league, and they’ll need to play at a high level this year since the Eagles have some back-seven concerns. The Eagles could have issues at linebacker this season, especially after free-agent signee Jatavis Brown abruptly retired in early August. Philly’s secondary is still an area of concern even after they landed Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman this off-season. Slay performed below expectations in Detroit last season, and the Eagles are banking on Jalen Mills making a smooth transition from cornerback to safety to replace Malcolm Jenkins.

The Eagles will face the 14th-toughest schedule this season based on 2020 win totals (per Sharp Football) and this year’s slate is more difficult than last year’s schedule. The Eagles schedule includes a brutal three-game stretch in Weeks 4-6 (@SF on SNF, @Pit, Bal) that will be key for their 2020 win total. Philly’s schedule after their Week 9 bye is no cakewalk either, with a pair of back-to-back road games in Weeks 10-11 (@NYG, @Cle) and in Weeks 15-16 (@Ari, @Dal).

The Eagles also have to travel to Green Bay in Week 13 on short rest after hosting the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. The Eagles and the rest of the NFC East drew tough matchups with their crossover games with the AFC North and NFC West. Philadelphia will also play the Saints and the Packers in their extra NFC games.

Notable Player Props

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Carson Wentz: passing yards (3900.5), passing TDs (27.5), MVP (+2000)

Fantasy Points Projections: passing yards (4250), passing TDs (30)

  • Best-case Scenario: Wentz delivers an MVP-worth season with an improved cast around him after the Eagles saw their wide receiver depth chart cleaned out last year.

  • Worst-case Scenario: Wentz’s injury concerns pop back up after he didn’t miss time until Jadeveon Clowney knocked out of the playoffs with a cheap shot to the head.

Miles Sanders: rushing yards (1000.5), most rushing yards (+2000)

Fantasy Points Projections: rushing yards (1015)

  • Best-case Scenario: HC Doug Pederson unleashes pure fantasy gold and he uses his talented sophomore runner as a true workhorse back in one of the league’s best offenses.
  • Worst-case Scenario: The Eagles add a veteran grinder to their backfield to take some early-down work off of Sanders’ plate, which caps his overall production.

Jalen Reagor: receiving yards (650.5)

Fantasy Points Projections: receiving yards (855)

  • Best-case Scenario: The Eagles use Reagor all over the field as a rookie with Alshon Jeffery injured, and he immediately becomes Carson Wentz’s top WR target.
  • Worst-case Scenario: With the lack of preseason games and limited practice time, Reagor underwhelms as a rookie as Wentz counts on his healthy veteran pass catchers.

Zach Ertz: receiving yards (850.5), most receiving yards (+7000)

Fantasy Points Projections: receiving yards (770)

  • Best-case Scenario: Ertz remains among the league’s elite route runners, and he keeps Dallas Goedert at bay to finish as a top-four fantasy TE for the fifth straight season.
  • Worst-case Scenario: Goedert’s role continues to expand in his third season and a healthy receiving corps sucks just enough targets away from Ertz to keep him from hitting expectations.

Dallas Goedert: receiving yards (475.5)

Fantasy Points Projections: receiving yards (575)

  • Best-case Scenario: After loading up on WRs in the draft, the Eagles cut back on their 12 personnel usage after using the grouping 52% of the time last season.

  • Worst-case Scenario: Goedert stays inside the top-12 at the position in FPG and his role continues to grow despite an influx of WR talent this off-season.

Best Bets and Leans

I don’t really have any strong reactions toward the win totals of these NFC East squads outside of the Giants, who I think will finish under their six and a half win total that’s floating out there. The Eagles addressed their biggest off-season concerns by trading for CB Darius Slay and by loading up on WR talent in the draft. However, Philly’s schedule doesn’t offer much room for error with the Eagles getting the NFC West, the AFC North, the Saints, and the Packers for their extra games this season. I see the Eagles finishing in the 8-10 win range this season so I’m leaning toward the Eagles finishing under their nine and a half win total this season.

I am betting on Carson Wentz to throw for more than 3800.5 passing yards this season in a bit of a correlated wager with my lean on the Eagles to go under nine and a half wins. The Eagles offense could be on Wentz’s shoulders more than ever before after the Eagles drafted three speedy WRs and after the Eagles failed to land a grinder for this backfield. I love Miles Sanders’ fantasy upside this season because of his receiving ability out of the backfield, which is only going to help Wentz’s passing number if he’s on the field more than 60% of the time like he was from Week 11 on last season. Wentz just needs to stay relatively healthy as he did last season when he played in all 16 games before getting injured in the Wild Card Round.

I nearly wagered on Jalen Reagor to clear 700.5 receiving yards back in May when I broke down the rookie props after the draft. I’m officially adding this wager to my best bets now that his yardage has dipped by 50 yards and now that I’m confident he’s going to have a huge role right out of the gates. Alshon Jeffery looks like a prime candidate to miss time early in the season, and Reagor has been learning Jeffery’s X-receiver spot in addition to the Z-receiver spot. Reagor needs to average just 40.7 receiving yards per game to clear his new total so I’m wagering on Reagor to go over 650.5 receiving yards this season.

I’m also betting on Zach Ertz to go under 924.5 receiving yards this season. I like Wentz to go over his passing yards total and Ertz to fall under his receiving yards total because I’m expecting the Eagles to have a more balanced passing attack after Ertz owned a 24% target share last season. Ertz has been off my fantasy radar at his fifth-round ADP this summer because I’m expecting both Sanders and Dallas Goedert to have bigger roles in this passing attack this season. Wentz will also have DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor at his disposal this season after his WR corps got decimated by injuries last season. Ertz averaged 9.4 targets per game over the last two seasons, but this season I’m expecting him to be closer to his 7.6 targets per game average from 2015-17.

Best Bets: Carson Wentz over 3800.5 passing yards (-115, Sportsbook.ag). Risk one unit to win .87 units…Jalen Reagor over 650.5 receiving yards (-110, DraftKings). Risk one unit to win .91 units…Zach Ertz under 924.5 receiving yards (-110, FoxBet). Risk one unit to win .91 units...Jalen Reagor to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+4000, posted May 7)

Leans: Eagles under nine and a half wins (-120, FanDuel)

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.

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