This post was originally published on Cold-Brewed Bets.
We continue our NFL team betting previews today with the NFC East.
If you missed our previous articles, check them out below, along with the bets I’ve made so far or am considering…
A reminder of how these preview work…
For each division I’m going to do a very general team-by-team breakdown, share where I have them projected to finish in terms of win totals compared to the market, and look at their current odds to win the super bowl, conference, division, and make/miss playoff markets - along with any bets I see value in or am making.
Some of these division previews will likely end up without any bets. The way I look at it, at this point in the year, if I’m going to be tying up money on bets that won’t get graded until January, I have to be almost certain I’m making a bet that isn’t going to be there before the season starts.
However, just because I may not have any bets, doesn’t mean you can’t. My hope is that these previews help you look at teams in different ways that may help you find a valuable bet or two to make.
So let’s get to today’s preview of the NFC East…
Note: Teams are ranked in order of where they are projected to finish based off their current market win totals.
NFL Betting: NFC East
In what projects to be a weak NFC this season, the NFC East stands above the rest with two teams projected at 10 wins or more, a team led by last year's Coach of the Year winner, and a team that I think may surprise some folks if they can get competent play out of their young QB.
Let’s dig in.
1st Place - Philadelphia Eagles
Last year's Super Bowl runner-up is poised for another strong season.
This is a team led by the MVP front-runner most of last year, Jalen Hurts, with a ton of weapons on offense, and a really stout defense that landed arguably the most talented player in the draft.
Not much not to love.
The big question mark is going to be the loss of both their offensive and defensive coordinators, in Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon, to head coaching positions this offseason.
Both were considered integral parts of the Eagles' success in 2022, and with those changes - plus the Eagles being more of a hunted team this year - bring the question of if they can repeat their level of success even with all their talent.
Let’s look at the odds.
Odds (All odds according to the Westgate Superbook in Nevada)
Super Bowl/Conference: +700/+275
Make/Miss Playoffs: -420/+320
Win Total: 11.5, O/U -110
After Buffalo, Philly is my highest power-rated team; and from a roster standpoint, there really aren’t a ton of holes that would have me believe they shouldn’t be the number one choice to come out of the NFC this year.
I have the Eagles projected as an 11.2 win team, so right in line with the market.
However, depending on where this number goes over the next couple months, I may be interested in an Under bet.
The Eagles fit two categories that I look at which could signal some regression this year:
Last year they outperformed their Pythagorean win total (the number of games they should have won based on point differential) by 2.4 games.
They were +8 in turnover differential - 3rd best in the league.
Many people attribute the Eagles' success last year to an easy strength of schedule - which their Pythag win total of 11.6 in 2022 would support.
They then blew out the Giants in the Divisional round of the playoffs, and ended up blowing out the Niners after Brock Purdy got hurt in the first quarter of the NFC Championship game.
They did handled the Chiefs for a good majority of the Super Bowl before ultimately losing, so I don’t want to take anything away from what they did last year - they were a very good team.
However, I feel like there’s more evidence to support them coming back down to earth a little bit this year.
11-6 seems perfectly reasonable for a team that plays in a usually competitive division, as well as games at the Jets and Chiefs, and home against the Niners and Bills.
A good exercise I like to use to look at win totals from a slightly different perspective is to categorize each game as a Win, Lose, or Toss-Up.
You assign all the games where a team is a favorite of 7 points or more as a win, an underdog of 7 points or more as a loss, and then all the other games less than 7 points are considered 50/50 toss-ups.
While these games aren’t true toss-ups according to the odds, in the competitiveness of the NFL, a .500 record in one-score games is considered the mean, or average. And teams that are either really good or really bad in one-score games are the outliers that will regress back to mean over time.
So looking at that, using my ratings, this season the Eagles play 4 games in which they project to be a likely favorite of 7 or more (Bucs, Rams, Cardinals, and home vs Commanders) and 0 games where they will be more than 7 point dog.
That leaves 13 games in the ‘toss-up’ range. So you consider half of those wins, plus the 4 blowout wins, and you come out with 10.5 - exactly where their win total opened up in most of the market.
I’m not going to do this exercise for every team, but I just wanted to highlight it here as another tool you can use to evaluate teams going into the season.
And in the Eagles case, yes I do think they’re going to be good. But I definitely think there could be value in an Under 11.5 bet - especially if that drifts out to plus money as the season gets closer.
2nd Place - Dallas Cowboys
Ah, the perpetual underachievers of the NFL.
As tough as it’s been to be a Packers fan at times with the numerous amount of heartbreaking playoff losses, I feel sorry for Dallas Cowboys fans. This team just cannot get over the hump.
I like a lot of their moves this offseason. Trading for Stephon Gilmore who, while not the elite corner he used to be, can still provide help in a Dallas secondary that tends to get beat a lot.
Brandin Cooks will be a nice addition to the offense as well, and if their 2nd year WR Jalen Tolbert can take a step forward after basically doing nothing last year, this offense will have a lot of weapons to play with.
The biggest upgrade I think comes from the loss of Zeke Elliot.
Too often this Cowboys offense has handicapped itself by force-feeding Zeke the ball and giving him way too many carries. Him being gone should hopefully open up this offense.
The main issue, I believe, is the head coach. I think the Cowboys have a ton of upside this year, but Mike McCarthy has proven time and time again he’s more than capable of holding his team back.
Let’s look at the odds…
Super Bowl/Conference: +1600/+650
Make/Miss Playoffs: -200/+170
Win Total: 10, O/U -110
I have the Cowboys projected at 10.2 wins, so right in line with the market. If I could still find a 9.5 at -150 or better, I would bet that Over, but at 10 this is a no-bet.
The Cowboys are a likely candidate for some turnover regression this year. Last year they were 2nd in the league with a +10 TO differential.
However, this was a team that was still able to win 12 games despite Dak missing more than a month, and they played pretty in line with their projected Pythag win total.
So if I can find a 9.5 at -150 or better, the over is a play for me.
3rd Place - New York Giants
I wouldn’t say the Giants surprised everyone last year, as I know there were a lot of people expecting them to take a step forward with the addition of Brian Daboll head coach.
However, I don’t think anyone expected them to take the leap to a playoff team in his first year.
The biggest reason for that was the improvement of Daniel Jones. But will that continue? I have questions…
Hell, up until last year, most people were assuming the Giants were going to move on from Daniel Jones.
Has Brian Daboll unlocked DJ’s potential like he helped do for Josh Allen? Or was this a one-year wonder and we’re going see more of the DJ we saw his first few years in the league? Lets look at the odds…
Super Bowl/Conference: +5000/+2000
Make/Miss Playoffs: +160/-190
Win Total: 7.5, O/U +100/-120
My projections for the Giants win total is the exact same as the market - 7.5.
While they won 9 games last year, there is a lot of regression built into their win total this year.
They slightly outperform their Pythag win projection of 8.3, but more importantly, including the playoffs, they were 9-4-1 in one-score games - another metric that is very hard to be on the right side of multiple years in a row.
Because of that, I actually show value in the Giants to MISS the playoffs this year. But in a weaker NFC, I’m not sure I want to lay that much juice on a team that could easily sneak into the playoffs with a poor record. So it’s a bet I’m considering, but not making just yet.
4th Place - Washington Commanders
First off, I just want to say that Washington still is, and always will be to me, the Football Team.
Hand down the best team name in all of sports, ever.
I like Washington this year. I was firmly in the camp that they should have been starting Sam Howell the second half of last year, instead of the Carson Went/Taylor Heinicke nonsense.
I’m fully aware that we really don’t know what we’re going to get in Howell. But the one thing uncertainty often does in the NFL is create valuable bets - because no one really knows, but the market will sometimes price itself like it does; which I think is the case here.
Super Bowl/Conference: +8000/+3000
Make/Miss Playoffs: +300/-400
Win Total: 6.5, O/U -110
I have Washington projected as a full win higher than the market at 7.6.
This is a team that won 8 games last year, and played as an 8-win team according to their Pythag win total - while being tied for the 6th worst turnover differential.
Wentz and Heinicke combined for 15 INTs last year. To put that into perspective, Davis Mills lead the league with 15 INTs. So Washington didn’t exactly get stellar QB play and still won 8 games.
And now, the market is expecting them to be worse than that with an almost complete unknown at QB?
I’m not buying that. Over 6.5 is a definitely play for me, and I may even look for an over 7.5 at plus money.
Also at a 40-1, Ron Rivera is absolutely a bet for me for Coach of the Year.
Here’s a 2-time COY winner, with a team I expect to outperform expectations - I definitely think there’s value at that number. He’s already down to 25 and 30/1 at some books so if you can find a 40, I would absolutely bet that.
I’m also tempted to make a bet on Washington to make the playoffs. My projections have them at around +200, so with a lot of +300s on the board, that’s something I’m looking at.
NFC East Bets:
Commanders Over 6.5, -110
Ron Rivera Coach of the Year 40/1
NFC East Bets I’m Still Considering:*
Eagles Under 11.5 - waiting; don’t think there’s any need to bet this yet.
Cowboys Over 9.5, -150 or better - think all these are gone, but if I find one I’m betting it.
Giants to MISS the playoffs - probably would need at least -150, and not sure we’ll get it.
Commanders Alternate Season Win Total Over 7.5 - Markets not open yet.
Commanders to MAKE the playoffs - +300 or better.
*Make sure you follow our Notes on Substack and on Twitter. If I make any of these bets, I’ll post them there.
Are there any valuable bets you see in the NFC East? Let me know in the comments.
Stay tuned for our next issue later this week when we preview the AFC North.