Cover The Spread: Can The Eagles Fly Through Wild Card Weekend?

Posted on January 4, 2019

It took a little bit of patience, but as promised, the early moments of 2019 certainly promise to be historic in Pennsylvania.

The state’s fourth sportsbookParx Sportsbook, expects to go live next week. Following that, the crowd should only grow as spring nears. Then, the first online PA sports betting products should hit the market.

But Parx, while certainly keeping the long-term future in mind, has more pressing matters at hand if it tends to open Jan. 8. The foremost concern, of course, is the Philadelphia Eagles pulling out an upset win in NFL’s wild card game Sunday with the Chicago Bears.

Considering the proximity of Bensalem-based Parx to Philadelphia, an Eagles win would definitely benefit the casino. Though any NFL carries weight in a sports-crazy state like Pennsylvania.

From Parx Senior Vice President of Interactive Gaming and Sports Matthew Cullen, in a Philadelphia Inquirer story:

“The market is insane for [the Eagles], as we’ve seen at the SugarHouse and at Rivers [in Pittsburgh] and in New Jersey. But even if they’re out, people are still gonna want to bet [football]. But it would be great if they were playing.”

Parx may not be open in time, but let’s take a look at what the casino might have offered. The sportsbook will be powered by Kambi, which runs Rivers Sportsbook in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Sportsbook in Philly. Seeing as SugarHouse operates an online sportsbook in nearby New Jersey, a hop and skip away from Parx, it seems fitting to use that platform as the foundation.

The odds are stacked

George W. Bush was still in office the last time an NFL team won consecutive Super Bowl titles. Though, on two occasions in the previous five seasons, teams have had a crack at snapping that streak.

This year, the Eagles have that chance.

Although, the road ahead appears rough. Even for a team like Philly, last year’s Cinderella that barreled through the playoffs with a backup quarterback who ended up as Super Bowl MVP.

As wild card weekend nears, the New Orleans Saints stand as front-runners for the Lombardi Trophy. Behind their futures line of +250 are the Kansas City Chiefs (+450), Los Angeles Rams (+500) and New England Patriots (+600).

Only the Seattle Seahawks, according to SugarHouse, have worse odds at winning the league title than Philadelphia, which pays +2,500 with a championship victory. By the Eagles simply reaching the big game, in winning the NFC Championship, bettors collect +1,400. Not bad for the bettor. Not optimistic for the fan.

It begins in Chicago

As of Friday, only one of the weekend’s four games features a point spread exceeding 2.5 points. That’s Philadelphia, which enters the Windy City as a 6.5-point underdog.

The Eagles, according to Pro Football Reference, have not faced such a postseason spread since the 2004 Super Bowl. All time, the franchise is 0-5 when dogged by 6.5 points or more in the playoffs.

Then again, the postseason is when miracles happen. And it’s happened before. With the Eagles. Last year. Why not begin in the wild card round, where an outright Philly win pays +205 and keeps fans’ hopes alive for another Super Bowl?

Postseason props

Parlays abound at SugarHouse’s online sportsbook in New Jersey.

And this Philadelphia-Chicago showdown stays true to form.

Moneyline and total points

What’s it going to be? Go with the heavy favorite? Or lean toward the underdog? Will the final score be over or under 41.5 points?

Here are the payouts for each scenario:

  • Chicago win, over 41.5: +163
  • Chicago win, under 41.5: +463
  • Philadelphia win, over 41.5: +440
  • Philadelphia win, under 41.5: +440

Leading at the half, winning the game

A popular parlay among bettors: which side has the advantage at the half, and which claims the victory?

  • Philly leads at half, Philly wins: +370
  • Philly leads at half, Chicago wins: +575
  • Chicago leads at half, Chicago wins: -139
  • Chicago leads at half, Philly wins: +1,000

Of note, the Eagles led just three times at the half in seven road games this season, winning twice. At home this season, Chicago trailed at the half just once. It was a loss. The Bears have gone 6-0 at home when up at the break. Philly, meanwhile, is 0-3 when trailing at the half.

Quarterback versus quarterback

Nick Foles has somehow done it again. After inspiring Philadelphia last season to finish strong and eventually claim the franchise’s first Super Bowl win, Foles, again, has the Eagles in the playoffs.

At SugarHouse, bettors can wager on the performances of Foles and his Chicago counterpart Mitchell Trubisky.

  • Most passing yards: Foles -134, Trubisky +100
  • Most touchdown passes: Foles +160, Trubisky +125, Same +250

Customers can also wager on the over/under TD passes for each QB, a total that sits at 1.5. The over for Foles and Trubisky pays +120 and +100, respectively.

Of note, Foles has eclipsed 300 yards twice in five games this season. In last year’s playoffs, he hit that number twice in three games. Conversely, Trubisky has not hit 300 yards since early November. With a stifling defense like Chicago’s, though, he might not need to.

Simple bets to consider

Without getting overly in-depth and analyzing each figure, it’s often entertaining to take a different approach to NFL betting. Even one that involves no research. In fact, one that arguably involves no knowledge at all.

For example, these props from SugarHouse:

  • Total points: Odd -139, Even +107
  • First to 10 points: Philadelphia +145, Chicago -220
  • First to 15 points: Philadelphia +188, Chicago -220
  • First to 20 points: Philadelphia +240, Chicago -155
  • First to 25 points: Philadelphia +460, Chicago +128, Neither +100
  • First team to score: Philadelphia +128, Chicago -175
  • Chicago scores first and wins: +106
  • Philadelphia scores first and wins: +400

Yes, the NFL playoffs certainly steal the spotlight. Surely they will do so when Parx opens its sportsbook to the public. And if the Eagles are somehow still alive and kicking when the facility activates, the next round of games should be quite profitable for the Bensalem sportsbook.

Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.

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