Philadelphia Eagles NFL Betting Preview: Carson Wentz Must Deliver

Posted on: August 22, 2020, 06:38h. 

Last updated on: August 24, 2020, 01:15h.

When the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl in 2017, it appeared to be just the start. After all, quarterback Carson Wentz was playing at an MVP level when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. It was the backup quarterback, Nick Foles, who took down the legendary Tom Brady in an epic Super Bowl victory over New England.

Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz overcame the lack of quality receivers to throw for 4,039 yards last season. (Image: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

The Eagles, however, have stumbled to back-to-back 9-7 seasons. Last year, they needed a four-game winning streak to end the regular season just to get in the playoffs. They then proceeded to lay an egg in a wild card loss at home against Seattle after Wentz exited with a concussion.

While Wentz is viewed as a quality starting quarterback and Doug Pederson is considered one of the best coaches in the business, the Eagles aren’t among the prime contenders to win this year’s Super Bowl.

Philadelphia ranges from +1,800 at DraftKings to +2,000 at Westgate SuperBook to +2,500 at BetMGM.

Over/Under: 9.5 Wins

While the Eagles rallied to edge Dallas for the NFC East crown last season, they are considered a notch below the Cowboys entering this season. In its division odds, PointsBet has Dallas at -100 and Philadelphia at +130.

Carson Wentz is coming off a so-so year, but he didn’t have much to throw to. Unfortunately for the Eagles, that really hasn’t changed,” Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sportsbook operations at SuperBook, told “Their tight ends are rock solid. But with injuries to DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery again, the wideouts are a suspect group.”

The consensus over/under win total for the Eagles is 9.5. At FanDuel, for instance, the bet is +100 on the over and -120 on the under.

In a league full of unusual training camps, it’s been particularly unusual for the Eagles. Pederson missed about 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. Feeling “really no symptoms whatsoever,” Pederson ran the team from home during his quarantine and was back in time for the first practice.

Welcomed by Wentz

Is Wentz a good quarterback or a great quarterback? That’s up for debate. Regardless, he can’t do it alone. Last season, his leading pass catchers were tight ends Zach Ertz (88 receptions) and Dallas Goedert (58). No. 3 was running back Miles Sanders (50).

His leading wide receiver was Jeffery, who caught just 43 passes in 10 games. The receivers who finished second and third on the team in receptions, Nelson Agholor and Greg Ward, are no longer on the team. They were replaced by first-round pick Jalen Reagor and fifth-round pick John Hightower, two players with big-time speed. Rookie receivers generally take a while to take flight. The lack of off-season practices won’t shorten their learning curve.

Thus, it might be up to Wentz to carry the team. His shortest MVP odds are at FanDuel, where he’s fifth on the board at +1,700.

While much of the focus is on Wentz, the defense must play better, too. In 2017, Philadelphia finished third in points allowed. It fell to 12th in 2018 and 15th in 2019. The Eagles traded for Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay and signed defensive tackle Javon Hargrave in free agency to pair with Fletcher Cox. They also drafted linebackers Davion Taylor (third round) and Shaun Bradley (sixth round).

Editor’s Note: This is the 10th of 32 NFL team previews and the second of four on the NFC East.