Expectations Modest For Giants, Jets, Eagles Heading Into NFL Week 1

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Most NFL fans in New Jersey can be described one of four ways:

  1. Giants fans
  2. Jets fans
  3. Eagles fans
  4. Fans of whatever team they bet on

(Of course, quite a few fall into the fourth category and one of the other three categories.)

The 2020 NFL season began Thursday night with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs winning and covering against the Houston Texans in front of a limited gathering of mostly socially distanced, mostly mask-wearing fans. Over the next few days, the New Jersey-adjacent local teams will spring into action.

The New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles both play as road teams in divisional games at 1 p.m. Sunday, the former at Buffalo, the latter at Washington. On Monday night at 7:15, the New York Giants play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium, just the proverbial hop, skip, and jump away from the brick-and-mortar FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

All three local teams are undefeated for now. They all have hope. But is hope high?

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Based on the futures odds provided by the legal sports betting operators in Jersey, the answers are mostly in the negative.

Pick six for NY teams

The Jets and Giants are staring at the same win totals. Some books, such as FanDuel and PointsBet, have them both at 6 wins. Others, such as FOX Bet, have them both at 6.5, with heavy action on the under driving the vig to -125 on the Giants and -133 on the Jets. DraftKings separates them with the Giants at 6 and the Jets at 6.5, but the under on that 6.5 carries daunting -150 juice.

Expectations are considerably higher for the Eagles, but with the team struggling with injuries before a down has even been played, bettors are banging unders. FanDuel has the Birds’ win total at 9.5, but the under has been hammered to -145 while the over sits at +125. The splits are slightly less extreme at most other books, but they all indicate bettors see 9.5 as too high a number.

Will they/won’t they bets on making the playoffs follow a similar pattern. Here are the most bettor-friendly prices we found for each option for each team:

  • Jets will: +430 (FanDuel)
  • Jets won’t: -460 (Caesars)
  • Giants will: +380 (FanDuel, Caesars)
  • Giants won’t: -450 (FOX Bet)
  • Eagles will: -165 (Caesars)
  • Eagles won’t: +154 (FanDuel)

Week 1: two dogs, one fave

Not all bettors like to think 16 games ahead, so for those who prefer to attack NFL wagering on a week-by-week basis, many of the 17 active online books in NJ have lines up already for each individual game on the Giants’, Jets’, and Eagles’ schedules. FanDuel has a handy-dandy “local favorites” tab where you can find each game for those teams or place a bet on when exactly each team will get its first win. “First loss” is also a betting option for the Eagles; it’s perhaps somewhat telling that FD doesn’t have the same offering for the two New York squads.

As far as Week 1, you’ll want to shop around, but here are the most common lines for each game:

  • Jets +6.5 at Bills
  • Eagles -5.5 at Washington Football Team
  • Giants +5.5 vs. Steelers

As usual, numerous sportsbooks are offering promotions on this weekend’s games, many of them applying to any team or game on the board.

PointsBet appears to have put the most effort into targeting the New Jersey-area teams specifically with promos and odds boosts. Here’s what that particular bookmaker has on the menu:

  • Eagles QB Carson Wentz to throw two or more TDs vs. Washington boosted from -130 to +100
  • Eagles RB Miles Sanders to rush for a TD vs. Washington boosted from +130 to +145
  • Giants RB Saquon Barkley to rush for a TD vs. Pittsburgh boosted from +115 to +130
  • Bet $25 or more on a player prop for Barkley or Jets RB Le’Veon Bell and receive a $6 free bet for each touchdown the player you bet on scores this season

With all of the local teams at 0-0 right now, hope is alive for each fan base. Should that get snuffed out by midseason, a few extra dollars in your bankroll every time Barkley or Bell scores isn’t a bad way to keep the sweat alive even after hope is gone.

Photo by Noah K. Murray / USA Today Sports

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Eric Raskin

Eric is a veteran writer, editor, and podcaster in the sports and gaming industries. He was the editor-in-chief of the poker magazine All In for nearly a decade, is the author of the book The Moneymaker Effect, and has contributed to such outlets as ESPN.com, Grantland.com, and Playboy.

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