DraftKings Sportsbook Director Explains Why Eagles Are Already 2.5-Point Favorites Versus Vikings

Written By Dave Bontempo on May 12, 2022
Eagles MNF Home Opener

There are three things Philadelphia Eagles fans already know  about the 2022 season.

One, their full schedule will be tonight (Thursday, May 12). That’s when they’ll discover the location of their Week 1 road game.

Two, they do know they are hosting the Minnesota Vikings in a Week 2, Monday Night Football contest on Sept. 19.

Three, they are already a 2.5-point favorite for that game at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Sure, the game is more than four months away. But as the  NFL releases snippets of its schedule, designed to maximize  media coverage, New Jersey sports bettors see a September betting line that inspires immediate  interest.

Some gamblers will jump right on it, taking the favorite-friendly betting bait and making additional wagers closer to kickoff.

This line, and others like it, were not just thrown up there. Oddsmakers constructed them with thought.

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DraftKings Sportsbook director weighs clear-cut early factors

Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Play NJ “There are several things we can  do to come up with a betting line this early.”

“We know the entire makeup of each team. We know who they drafted. We have our power rankings and we probably adjust them a little bit.”

Avello sees clear-cut early factors that make the game essentially even, other than the estimated  impact of 2-3 points for the Eagles playing at home.

“They have improved a little since the end of the season,” he said. “I don’t know if the Vikings are better. They are an OK team; they lose a lot of close games.

“With Aaron Rodgers losing a key receiver (Devante Adams, who went to the Las Vegas Raiders) , maybe that puts the Vikings a little closer to Green Bay.

“As for the Eagles, you know I have not been a big fan of Jalen Hurts. I am not sure he is actually the guy who can lead this team. I haven’t seen anything yet that says he is a guy that brings this team a long way, but we’ll see.”

More backdrop to Eagles vs. Vikings on Monday Night Football

It’s  never too early to anticipate some of the early drama in this Week 2 Monday Night showdown.

This is  the coulda-woulda-shoulda scenario involving Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson. He was taken one pick AFTER the Eagles selected Jalen Reagor two years ago.

Jefferson has overwhelmingly outplayed Reagor in two seasons and has already made the Pro Bowl. He is one of the most prolific receivers in the league.

This is his first trip to Lincoln Financial Field, where he could have been a regular the past two years.

Reagor, meanwhile, has been a dud and may not even be a starter when this game unfolds.

The quarterback matchup between the scrambling Hurts  and the pocket-passing Kirk Cousins will provide an interesting contrast. Dalvin Cook of the Vikings and Miles Sanders of the Eagles provide exceptional backfield talent.

Kevin O’Connell will make his debut in Minnesota as head coach after a disappointing 8-9 season that cost Mike Zimmer his job. He will face a revamped Eagles defense that includes top draft pick Jordan Davis, third selection Nakobe Dean and others.

It’s also the Philadelphia home debut for A.J. Brown, the game-breaking wide receiver the Eagles traded for  to complement DeVonta Smith. Brown may have the biggest spotlight and pressure of any player on the field.

Prime time for 2022 Philadelphia Eagles

With the Eagles as their anchor, the  NFL unveils a tweak on its MNF doubleheaders this season.

Bettors are familiar with the classic opening week lineup, in which  one game starts several hours earlier and may be complete before the second one begins.

This time they overlap.

The Tennessee Titans-Buffalo Bills contest starts at 7:15 p.m., just more than an hour before the Eagles-Vikings game. The opener will likely be around halftime when the Eagles contest starts.

The Titans-Bills will be broadcast on ESPN. The Eagles and Vikings will start at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.

Once both games are rolling, viewers will flip  channels between commercials and NJ sports bettors will  catch both games on separate devices to make in-game wagers.

“You add another game to a Monday Night schedule and it’s always good,” Avello asserted. “People who were all focused on one game now have two.

“The bettors on the West Coast can easily watch both games from start to finish. You guys on the East Coast might be up quite late with the second game

“… If the bettors like the matchups, they are going to take their fair share of pops on that game.”

Books love the island games on Thursday night, the Thanksgiving schedule, late-season games on Saturdays and full weekends in the post-season.

Anything with the word “more” resonates with the books. Two games on a Monday night will represent a betting bonanza for them.

Expect to see more Eagles odds up at DraftKings Sportsbook

Very soon, Eagles bettors will have more to analyze.

It will be interesting to see how close this opening line comes to the one that’s finalized just before the Vikings-Eagles kickoff.

Betting lines on this, and other games, could change by as much as a touchdown before they actually kick off, Avello said. DraftKings nonetheless plans to post every team’s entire schedule, with betting odds, shortly after the league announces the full schedule.

“The sharps are going to look at this board closely to see if there are any mistakes,” Avello said. “You can’t predict injuries or, with some of the later-season games, the losing streaks.

“Bettors on the individual games and with futures props like season win totals will pay close attention to the schedule.

“It’s one thing if you play the Kansas City Chiefs, take on some lesser opponents and then face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But if you face the Chiefs and the Bucs back-to-back, that might change your confidence level in that team.”

The schedule release will make Eagles bettors consider whether their over-under win projection of 9 at the books is an “over” invitation.

They may believe that the  Eagles are ready to at least add one victory to last season’s 9-8 finish.

We know, it’s only May

NFL bettors can hit mid-season form at any minute.

Gamblers can see a path, the opening of training camp, preseason games and the September launch of the season. It’s been three months since the Super Bowl. In another couple of weeks, we’ll be closer to the 2022 season than the end of 2021.

The schedule release will buoy their spirits further.


Photo by AP/Matt Rourke
Dave Bontempo Avatar
Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and others. He writes about all major sports in the booming legal New Jersey sports betting industry. Dave also hosts the Why Eagles Why podcast. Dave is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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