2021 Betting Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

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2021 Betting Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles unexpectedly bottomed out last season after winning the Super Bowl just three short seasons before, which resulted in the end of the Doug Pederson/Carson Wentz era in Philadelphia. The Eagles lost seven of their final eight games to finish with a 4-11-1 record (6-10 ATS), which was their worst season since 2012. They also missed the playoffs (+130) for the first time since 2016, and they failed to score 30+ points in a single game for the first time since 1998. Wentz became one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league in 2020 after being drafted as a consensus top-12 quarterback in fantasy drafts. He posted career-worst numbers across the board before getting benched for the final four games for 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts, who will lead the franchise this season.

The Eagles scored the seventh-fewest points per game (20.9) and they allowed 13th-most points per game (26.1), which resulted in a 9-7 mark toward unders. Philadelphia ended the year 3-5-1 in one-score contests and 0-1 in games decided by three scores or more, and they finished with the league’s sixth-worst point differential (-84).

Philadelphia’s 2021 win total (6.5) plummeted by three victories after its disastrous 2020 campaign and after trading away Wentz this off-season. The Eagles fell 5.5 wins shy of their 2020 win total and they locked in their under with their seventh loss of the season to the Browns in Week 11. Entering this season, I have the Eagles power rated as the 27th-best team in the NFL (+10000 to win Super Bowl LVI), as the 15th-best team in the NFC (+5000 to win the conference), and as the fourth-best team in the NFC East (+550).

2021 Schedule

Spreads are first-look lines from the SuperBook, which were released in early June.

WeekOpponentSpreadTime
1@Atlanta Falcons+3.51
2San Francisco 49ers+41
3@Dallas Cowboys+6.58:15 (Mon)
4Kansas City Chiefs+81
5@Carolina Panthers+31
6Tampa Bay Buccaneers+7.58:20 (Thurs)
7@Las Vegas Raiders+3.54:05
8@Detroit LionsPK1
9Los Angeles Chargers+24:05
10@Denver Broncos+4.54:25
11New Orleans Saints+3.51
12@New York Giants+31
13@New York Jets+1.51
14Bye
15Washington Football Team-1.5TBD
16New York Giants-1.51
17@Washington Football Team+31
18Dallas Cowboys+2.51

The Good

The Eagles will face the 10th-easiest schedule this season based on 2021 win totals (per Sharp Football), including a gettable stretch in Weeks 12-17. They have five matchups with teams lined at eight wins or worse during that span in the Giants (x2), Jets, and Football Team (x2). The Eagles also have matchups against the Panthers (W5), Raiders (W7), and Lions (W8) in the first half of the season. The Eagles caught a break since they’re one of 11 teams that won’t face an opponent coming off of a bye this season, and the NFL scheduled them just twice for primetime games.

The Bad

New Eagles QB Jalen Hurts will have his work cut out for him right out of the gates with a brutal stretch of games in Weeks 2-6 with matchups against the 49ers, Cowboys, Chiefs, and Buccaneers. They also have a three-game run in Weeks 9-11 against the Chargers, Broncos, and Saints, who are each lined at 8.5 wins or better. Philly is favored in just two contests based on first-look lines released in early June.

Key Off-season Moves

AdditionsDraftDepartures
Ryan Kerrigan (DE)DeVonta Smith (WR)Carson Wentz (QB, Ind)
Joe Flacco (QB)Landon Dickerson (C)DeSean Jackson (WR, LAR)
Hassan Ridgeway (DT)Milton Williams (DT)Alshon Jeffery (WR)
Anthony Harris (S)Zech McPhearson (CB)Malik Jackson (DT, Cle)
Eric Wilson (LB)Nate Gerry (LB, SF)
Jordan Howard (RB)Nickell Robey-Coleman (CB)
Steven Nelson (CB)Jalen Mills (DB, NE)
Johnathan Ford (S, Jax)
Vinny Curry (DE, NYJ)

2021 Season Odds

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Team FuturesOdds
Season Win Total (O/U)6.5 (-130/+110)
NFC East+550
Playoffs (Y/N)+275/-350
NFC Championship+5000
Super Bowl+10000

Season Prop Movement

  • Win Total: 6.5 (-150) in late March to 6.5 (-130)

  • Super Bowl: +5000 in early February to +10000

Reasons to Bet Over the Season Win Total

The Eagles’ organization has been trending in the wrong direction since Nick Foles and company stunned the league with a Super Bowl title during the 2017 season. It turned a bit toxic last season with Carson Wentz turning in an abysmal campaign. He averaged just 6.0 YPA and his TD rate (3.7%) nearly matched his INT rate (3.4%) before the organization finally pulled the plug after 12 games. The Eagles rid themselves of Wentz by trading him to his old OC Frank Reich and the Colts, and they also moved on from HC Doug Pederson after a tumultuous final season. A black cloud has been lifted from over this team this off-season and better results could follow despite shrinking expectations.

The Eagles have been snake-bitten with bad injury fortune the last three years since they won the Super Bowl LII. They finished inside the top 12 in Football Outsiders’ adjusted games lost for five straight seasons in 2013-17 before the bottom fell out the last three years when they ranked in the bottom 12 in adjusted games lost.

The Eagles have certainly had some bad injury luck recently but, perhaps more importantly, their roster got too old in that span, which led to more time missed from their key players. Philadelphia has been steadily getting younger bodies onto the field, which should eventually help with their injury issues. A youth movement is also going to help with their recent speed problems too. They’ve had one of the slowest offenses in the league with Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Howard, and Zach Ertz manning key positions recently. They’ll now have the likes of Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Miles Sanders, and Dallas Goedert in their top skill positions.

Reasons to Bet Under the Season Win Total

Philadelphia has been trending in the wrong direction ever since they stunned the Patriots in the Super Bowl during the 2017 season. The Eagles have finished under their win total in three straight seasons and their win total has been steadily moving in the wrong direction until it plummeted to 6.5 wins this year.

The Eagles could certainly outperform their odds as the second-worst team in the NFC, but it’s clear this franchise has more of an eye toward the future than the present. GM Howie Roseman used this off-season to build for the future by collecting draft capital in next year’s draft. He traded Wentz for a conditional second-round pick in 2022, which can turn into a first-round pick if he plays 75% of the snaps. They also traded down from No. 6 to No. 12 in this year’s draft to collect one of Miami’s 2022 first-round picks. I have a difficult time getting to the window to bet an over win total when a franchise isn’t committed to success in the present.

Those two trades also gave the keys of the offense to Hurts, who will be a full-time starter after getting a taste as the team’s starter at the end of last season. I’ve been taking my chances on Hurts in fantasy drafts in the eighth or ninth round, but I fully recognize his fantasy performances this year might not equal victories for the Eagles this season. Hurts will also be throwing to one of the league’s worst receiving corps even though they drafted 2020 Heisman winner DeVonta Smith 10th overall. The Eagles have a lot of unknowns with their WR corps, and the Eagles are one of two teams without a vested veteran (three years in the league) at the position.

Notable Player Props

Jalen Hurts: passing yards (3650.5), passing TDs (20.5), rushing yards (655.5), rushing TDs (7.5), MVP (+5000), most INTs (+1100)

Fantasy Points Projection: passing yards (3525), passing TDs (22), rushing yards (695), rushing TDs (6.5)

  • Best-Case Scenario: Hurts showed he could post some big numbers as a passer and as a runner at the end of the 2020, and he keeps it going and he’s the toast of Philadelphia after all of Carson Wentz’s drama in 2019.

  • Worst-Case-Scenario: Hurts completed just 52% of his passes and he averaged an acceptable 7.2 YPA in three-plus games in 2020, but he fails to take a major step forward as a passer despite some passing game upgrades over the off-season.

DeVonta Smith: receiving yards (775.5), receiving TDs (5.5), OROY (+1800)

Fantasy Points Projection: receiving yards (955), receiving TDs (6.5)

  • Best-Case Scenario: Smith’s previous experience playing with Jalen Hurts helps him to lead the Eagles’ receivers in target share as a rookie, beating out his only competition in Dallas Goedert and Jalen Reagor.
  • Worst-Case-Scenario: It can’t get much worse than Wentz’s performance last year, but Hurts fails to be a significant upgrade for this passing game and Smith struggles to post consistent production.

Miles Sanders: rushing yards (1000.5), most rushing yards (+3500)

Fantasy Points Projection: rushing yards (1100)

  • Best-Case Scenario: Sanders finally joins the 1000-yard rushing club in Year Three with Jalen Hurts’ dual-threat ability opening up more running lanes behind a healthy offensive line.

  • Worst-Case-Scenario: Sanders sees the most touches in the Eagles’ backfield, but he’s still stuck in a major rotation with some combination of Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, Kerryon Johnson, and Jordan Howard.

Dallas Goedert: receiving yards (675.5), receptions (60.5)

Fantasy Points Projection: receiving yards (715), receptions (64)

  • Best-Case Scenario: The Eagles finally find a trade partner for Zach Ertz, which frees up more TE targets for Goedert as he becomes the top target in this thin receiving corps.
  • Worst-Case-Scenario: Goedert has to share targets with Zach Ertz sticking around for the entire season, and this passing attack shows little upside with Jalen Hurts taking over at quarterback.

Jalen Reagor: receiving yards (675.5)

Fantasy Points Projection: receiving yards (760)

  • Best-Case Scenario: Reagor hits his stride after a rocky rookie season and his late-season momentum with Jalen Hurts carries into 2021 after he posted 10/125 receiving in Hurts’ three full starts.
  • Worst-Case-Scenario: In an already limited passing attack with Jalen Hurts at quarterback, Reagor is stuck as the team’s #4 receiver with Zach Ertz hanging around for the season.

Brolley’s Bets

Best Bets

  • Jalen Hurts to win the 2021 MVP (+10000, DraftKings, Feb. 16). Risk .5 units to win 50 units.

  • Jalen Hurts over 574.5 rushing yards (-112, FanDuel). Risk one unit to win .89 units.

Hurts has a history of big-game hunting for top awards during his time at Oklahoma and Alabama. He was a contender for the Heisman Trophy during his college career, including when he finished as the 2019 runner-up to Joe Burrow, who had arguably the greatest season by a college quarterback of all time. Hurts finished as fantasy’s QB4 in Weeks 14-16 with 847/5 passing and 238/1 rushing in three games before the Eagles pulled him early to tank against Washington in the season finale. Hurts will need to average 33.8 rushing yards per game over 17 contests to clear his rushing total, and he averaged 12.7 carries and 79.3 rushing yards per game in his three full starts last season. Hurts has a chance to challenge for 1000+ rushing yards if he’s able to remain in the starting lineup this season.

DeVonta Smith over 725.5 receiving yards (-110, FOXBet, May 17). Risk one unit to win .91 units — DeVonta landed in a pristine spot to make some early noise in an Eagles’ offense that’s devoid of a #1 WR. Smith has plenty of experience catching passes from Hurts from their time together at Alabama, and he has a relatively clear path to lead the Eagles receivers in target share this season. My one concern is that Smith could be overwhelmed by bigger, stronger CBs in the NFL, but he never had any issues playing against the top CBs in the best conference in college football.

Leans

Philadelphia Eagles under 6.5 wins (+120, William Hill) — Philadelphia is ready to give Jalen Hurts a chance as the team’s starting quarterback, and the fortunes of the 2021 Eagles will likely rest in his hands. Philadelphia could have three first-round picks next year — depending on if Carson Wentz plays 75% of the snaps in Indy — so they can easily change directions and move on from Hurts next off-season (or even later this year with Deshaun Watson’s name being thrown around in trade rumors). The Eagles have been trending in the wrong direction since they won the Super Bowl in 2017 and they bottomed out last season. They’re starting a rebuild this season and, as we saw in the 2020 season finale on Sunday Night Football, they won’t be afraid to throw away games late in the season to improve their standing in the draft. The SuperBook oddsmakers are also a little skeptical about Hurts and the Eagles as they’re favored in just two games against the Football Team and Giants in Weeks 15-16. I did like some of the one-year contracts the Eagles handed out to veteran defensive players this off-season, and Philadelphia’s O-line should be improved after a rough 2020. In the end, I can only look at an under for a team that already has a significant eye toward the 2022 draft/off-season.

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.