Going, going, but not gone.
That’s the sentiment of Philadelphia Eagles bettors at Pennsylvania online sportsbooks as their team has crashed and nearly burned in the last couple of weeks.
SugarHouse Eagles bets down to 55% from peaks of more than 80%
At PlaySugarHouse.com, where the Eagles are enormously popular, optimism wavers in the face of skepticism. Philadelphia received 55% of the midweek tickets prior to Sunday’s game in Buffalo, according to Mattias Stetz, the COO of Rush Street Interactive, which operates PlaySugarHouse.com in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“With the Eagles as a 1.5-point underdog, you could normally expect them to have more than 80% of the tickets,” Stetz said. “This is, by far, the lowest percentage of support they have received this season.”
With good reason. Major breakdowns in two areas impacted games for the last two weeks. The scorching of the Eagles’ secondary resembled a bonfire in Minnesota and early fumble-itis set a bad stage for the blowout in Dallas. Injuries at key positions, dropped passes, misfires by Carson Wentz, and the inability to make a key stop have deflated a team that’s now 3-4.
How different from just one month ago.
Eagles had over 90% of bets in Week 2 NFL game
The Eagles entered Week 2 on an emotional high via the come-from-behind week-one victory over Washington. An exhilarating rally displayed their custom tenacity. The return of DeSean Jackson as a deep threat and the Eagles’ tremendous second-half prompted bettors to forgive the back-door cover Washington got with six seconds left.
As they entered Atlanta, the Eagles, unknowingly, hit their high-water mark of wagered endorsements.
“The highest amount of support the Eagles received was against Atlanta,” Stetz said. “They had over 90% of the tickets for that game. Even after that, we still saw them in the 70%-80% range, but the support for them against Atlanta was big.”
Then, it slowly tumbled. The Eagles came within one play of going 2-0, but could not make the final stop and lost a heartbreaker. Jackson was hurt and hasn’t returned. The bettors took notice.
Cracks in the supporting armor emerged before the next game versus Detroit. The Eagles canceled a Wednesday practice because of injuries. By midweek, the Lions had more support, even though the Eagles received more tickets by the end in a game they lost, according to Stetz.
Same pattern before Green Bay. There was a slight majority for the Packers at midweek and a little more for the Eagles by game-time in a Thursday night affair.
And presto! The Eagles notched the upset. The prodigal sons and daughters returned and betting order was restored. Sentiment returned to a healthy level near 80% before the Eagles pummeled the Jets.
After Packers upset, Eagles bets trended downward
A slow sag has emerged in the past three weeks. A strong majority of bets before Minnesota, tepid support before Dallas and a skittish, slight edge in Eagles’ bets before Buffalo.
To underscore Stetz’s point, the betting lines involving Atlanta and Buffalo are similar. This is the game in which the vintage Eagles, the Super Bowl champions two years ago and a playoff team last year, should receive 90% of the action.
But it’s not in the apps right now. The Eagles continue befuddling their bettors, going 2-5 against the spread this year and covering only twice at home last year as Super Bowl champions.
Beyond the regional scope, Philadelphia remains a popular team amid the perception of being snakebit.
“By kickoff, the public will back Buffalo,” said John Murray, executive director of race and sportsbook for the fabled Westgate in Las Vegas.
“It’s interesting because some people I respect really love Philly in this game. I love Philly. Other people I respect really want the other side. It’s a game I would initially stay away from as a bettor.
“It’s a tough spot for the Eagles. They have to play three good teams in a row on the road. The schedule has been very difficult for them.
“They also have so many guys hurt. It’s pretty clear to me that all they need is to get guys healthy. If you are an Eagles fan, look at the injury reports on a Friday and see if these players come back.”
Mixed signals mark the wagering ground. Some media reports indicate an Eagles’ locker room in disrepair.
Data suggests an alternate view. PlaySugarHouse, FanDuel, and DraftKings did not anoint the Bills as a kingmaker in the AFC East before the season. FanDuel pegged the Bills over/under at 6.5 wins. They already have five, suggesting the chance of a letdown game. FanDuel projected the Eagles for 9.5 wins. A loss to Buffalo would make them 3-5, way off that pace. Preseason numbers indicate the Eagles have underachieved so much that this is a turnaround game. Following this path would entail a leap of faith, which Eagles bettors have shown they will do.
Patterns suggest Eagles fans want to jump back on the wagering bandwagon. But they need to be convinced.