Despite Philadelphia being the NFL’s best team for much of the season, oddsmakers have them as an underdog against the sixth-seeded Falcons. It’s the first time a No. 1 seed has started the playoffs as an underdog in NFL history.
The Eagles’ fortunes changed this season when they lost quarterback Carson Wentz to a knee injury a month ago, leaving Nick Foles to try to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl.
It’s rare enough for No. 1 seeds to be less than 3-point favorites. Since 1990, only four of them have been so, with the 2010 Falcons being the most recent as 1-point favorites against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round. Aaron Rodgers proceeded to complete 26 of his 31 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns in his torching of Atlanta.
“The early action, it’s pretty much all on Atlanta,” Westgate Superbook oddsmaker Ed Salmons told ESPN on Sunday. “The public is going to bet Atlanta.”
CG Technology’s Jason Simbal told ESPN, “We might not take a bet on the Eagles until it hits (Atlanta minus) 3.5.”
According to ESPN, Salmons estimated that the Eagles could have been as high as 6.5-point favorites over the Falcons if Wentz had been healthy.
Chris Long and the Eagles aren’t worried about all of the talk though:
Instead, Salmons told ESPN that the Eagles would have been an underdog to any other team they could face in the NFC this weekend.
They’ll have the home-field advantage, but Vegas is reflecting what most believed when Carson Wentz fell to injury — they’re in trouble.