NFL Betting: When Will the Eagles Lose Their First Game in 2020?
FanDuel Sportsbook has bets on when seven "local favorites" will earn their first win in the 2020 season. But for certain teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles, you can also bet on when they will lose their first game of the season.
Philadelphia has made the playoffs each of the last three years and won the NFC East in two of those seasons, including the last year. The FanDuel Sportsbook is high on the Eagles this season as they are listed as the second choice to win the division this year at +140 behind the Dallas Cowboys. The win total bet is set at 9.5 with the over at -105 and the under at -115, and Philadelphia is at -188 to make the playoffs.
As a result, there aren't any appealing options for when the Eagles will win their first game of the season. Philadelphia has one of the softest opening schedules of the league with a trip to the Washington Redskins to open the season followed by back-to-back home games against the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals.
The Eagles are early touchdown favorites against the Redskins, so the odds on that being their first win are currently at -300. Philadelphia has beaten Washington six straight times with an average margin of victory of nearly 13 points, but if it somehow doesn't defeat the Redskins in the opener, it's +320 for the Eagles to earn their first win against the Rams and +850 for it to happen the following week against the Bengals. The chances of Philadelphia going 0-2 to start the season are too slim for it to make sense to bet for Philadelphia's first win comes against Cincinnati.
For that reason, let's focus on the other side of the coin, and explore when the Eagles will suffer their first defeat.
The Loss Bet
Philadelphia follows its easy opening three-week stretch with an absolutely brutal one over the next three weeks. The Eagles have road trips to the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers in Weeks 4 and 5 only to return home and face the reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth game.
The toughness of that stretch leaves some interesting bets for when that first loss will come, but not a lot of value. Unless you're bold enough to predict Philadelphia's first loss will come to Cincinnati -- it's listed at +550 -- the other three games in the Eagles' opening four contests are listed at +260 or worse. The value comes if the Eagles can head to Pittsburgh unbeaten, when the odds jump up to +950 and beyond the longer Philadelphia can stay unblemished in the loss column.
As it stands, three bets stand out for when the Eagles will suffer their first loss of the 2020 season.
Weeks 2 vs. L.A. Rams (+240)
The Rams are still a scary team despite releasing Todd Gurley this offseason and finishing 9-7 last year. They had just one truly bad loss last year -- the odd 55-40 loss to Tampa Bay at home -- but otherwise beat the teams they should have last season. And the weapons are still there on both sides of the ball to make them a dangerous team in the NFC West.
Jared Goff returns his top-three receiving targets from last year along with standout left tackle Andrew Whitworth. Goff faced the third-most blitzes last season but was sacked just 22 times while still throwing for the third-most yards in the league. He has two 1,000-yard receivers on his side with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods that helped the Rams finish seventh in total offense a year ago.
The Eagles were average against the pass last season and ranked in the middle of the league in most statistics. They attempted to close those holes by trading for Darius Slay and signing Nickell Robey-Coleman from the Rams, but Malcolm Jenkins isn't roaming the secondary anymore, which could open the door for Goff to have a field day.
However, the Rams did lose many valuable pass-rushing pieces around Aaron Donald on defense, so it might give Carson Wentz a little bit time to operate, something he lacked in key games last season. The loss in the front seven also weakens an already suspect rush defense with the Eagles relying on more of a running back by committee this season.
Overall, numberFire's 2020 NFL power rankings rank the Eagles 7th and the Rams 14th, suggesting the Eagles should be able to handle their business at home.
Week 4 at San Francisco (+260)
A stingy defense and excellent running game are always good recipes for success in the NFL, and it led the 49ers to the Super Bowl last season. The cross-country trip for a primetime game is always tough, but it's easier to go east to west like the Eagles are doing in Week 4.
The biggest question Philadelphia faces is trying to score on this San Francisco defense that ranked second last season in fewest yards allowed and were the NFL's second-best schedule-adjusted defense according to numberFire's metrics.
San Francisco's front seven is among the best in football, led by Fred Warner at middle linebacker, and are an opportunistic bunch when the ball is on the ground. The Eagles lost 15 fumbles last season, second most in the league, and Wentz put the ball on the turf 16 times last season by himself, losing seven of those. San Francisco forced a league-best 23 fumbles last season and recovered 15 of them, good for fourth most.
Philadelphia's third-ranked rushing defense from a year ago will also earn a test from the 49ers' second-best rushing offense. It will be a tall task for the Eagles to slow down the San Francisco running attack that will be led by Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert, but it will be their best chance at upsetting San Francisco on the road. Philadelphia was 3-1 when teams ran for more than 120 yards against it last year with that only win coming in the finale against the Giants.
The 49ers rank third in numberFire's power rankings.
Week 5 at Pittsburgh (+950)
A top-five defense that led the league in takeaways almost propelled the Steelers into the playoffs last season. The only thing that held back Pittsburgh was an abysmal offense that was clearly missing Ben Roethlisberger under center. But Roethlisberger is back this year to lead the Steelers' offense, and Pittsburgh returns almost everyone from its dominant defense, making them a scary foe once again.
The Steelers were numberFire's third-best defense when adjusted for schedule last season, and that should scare the Eagles because it will put a lot of pressure on the offensive line to protect Wentz. The Steelers led the league last season with 54 sacks, led by the combination of Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt at the outside linebacker spots. Wentz was sacked 37 times last season, but the Eagles ranked 19th in the league with an offensive line that could sustain blocks for at least 2.5 seconds just 58 percent of the time.
The Steelers will clearly see an uptick on offense with Roethlisberger's return after he threw for more than 5,100 yards in 2018 when the Steelers ranked sixth in scoring offense and fourth in yards. It's unfair to say Roethlisberger can match those heights, but his presence will help JuJu Smith-Schuster bounce back from an off year last season and perhaps elevate some of the younger receivers like Diontae Johnson and James Washington, who are excellent complements to the offense.
Sleeper: Week 6 vs. Baltimore (+1700)
If the Steelers contest wasn't a rivalry game then maybe it wouldn't make sense to look this far down the road. But suppose the rivalry juice and momentum of the big win in San Francisco propels the Eagles past Pittsburgh in a tight one.
However, after back-to-back road wins over playoff teams, the Eagles come home exhausted and Lamar Jackson tears up the Philadelphia defense. Wentz can't match Jackson's production in the first half and a valiant second-half comeback comes up short, leaving the Eagles to lick their wounds with two NFC East rivals ahead on the schedule.
The prop is +1700 because the likelihood of any team surviving back-to-back road trips to San Francisco and Pittsburgh seems slim. Yet, stranger things have happened in the NFL.
Wentz probably has enough weapons to edge out the Rams at home as Los Angeles adjusts to new teammates and a new defensive coordinator. The Bengals shouldn't be a threat in Philadelphia, either, leaving the Eagles 3-0 heading across the country to face San Francisco.
It's just hard to envision Philadelphia scoring enough points against San Francisco's elite defense to beat the defending NFC champions. The Eagles' offense is good enough to be dangerous in the NFC East, but against the best of the best, it's hard to see Wentz being able to will his team over the finish line.
The odds are not amazing -- +260 for San Francisco to hand the Eagles their first loss -- but it's a similar situation to the bet on Philadelphia's first win, and the value of the other bets aren't worth going against conventional wisdom.