Week 5 of the NFL season is here, and it will be a battle for Pennsylvania when the Eagles and Steelers square off on Sunday afternoon.
Perhaps no NFL team in recent memory plays the “nobody believes in us” card better than the Eagles, and more evidence of this claim was on display last Sunday night when they once again pulled off another improbable upset win. Can the bruised and battered Birds complete a similar stunner as a road underdog once again this week? That’s the question we will try to answer in our Eagles vs. Steelers betting preview with odds, picks, and predictions.
Indeed, the Eagles have proven a few things in the early going of this season:
- They aren’t good enough to handle business when they’re supposed to handle business.
- They aren’t bad enough that they’re incapable of winning when they shouldn’t win.
Not exactly the makings of a championship contender here, but in this year’s NFC East, it’s enough for first place at the season’s quarter-pole.
While the Eagles’ upset win as a nine-point underdog over the 49ers last week was a shocker, it would be an even greater surprise if they can make some more magic happen in Pittsburgh this Sunday.
Eagles vs. Steelers Betting Preview
I have to imagine that Eagles fans woke up on Monday morning feeling a blend of relief, self-deprecation, and faint hope that their 1-2-1 team was in position to host a playoff game. Problem is, of course, the inconvenient reality that the Eagles will now have to deal with an undefeated Steelers squad that is fresh off an unexpected bye week probably quelled some of the good vibes.
That defense? Against this no-name offense? Yikes.
But many of those same fans, being the internal optimists they’ll never let bleed through their hardened exteriors, have probably worked their way into believing the Eagles can do it again this week.
- Ben Roethlisberger talked earlier in the week about the bye hurting the Steelers’ momentum.
- The Steelers’ three victories have come against teams with a combined 1-11 record. That one win was secured by a Broncos team that beat the Jets. That doesn’t even really count. That team absolutely stinks.
- The Eagles will again be without the services of DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery for this one. No problem. Travis Fulgham, baby.
WENTZ TO FULGHAM FOR A 42-YARD TD! #FlyEaglesFly
— NFL (@NFL) October 5, 2020
And so the “there’s no shot in Hell the Eagles win/cover this game” phase has transitioned to the “maybe, possibly” phase.
Will such optimism be rewarded? Let’s jump into that very question with our Eagles vs. Steelers betting preview and take a look at the odds as well as make some picks and predictions.
Eagles vs. Steelers Odds
Let’s take a look at the Eagles vs. Steelers odds.
It is pretty easy to see why the Steelers are favored in this one. They’re 3-0, they’re at home, and they possess one of the game’s most tenacious defensive units.
Earlier this week, the Steelers were a seven-point favorite over the Eagles at DraftKings Sportsbook. By mid-week, the spread moved to -7.5 but has since settled back at -7. Meanwhile, the game total has tumbled from 46.5 points on Monday all the way down to 44.5 by Friday morning.
Here is a look at the current Eagles vs. Steelers odds for Week 5:
|Eagles||+7 (-120)||+265||O 44.5 (-110)|
|Steelers||-7 (-103)||-315||U 44.5 (-110)|
|Eagles||+7 (-110)||+260||O 44.5 (-110)|
|Steelers||-7 (-110)||-333||U 44.5 (-110)|
Eagles vs. Steelers Odds Analysis
Obviously, the Steelers appear to be the superior team, so it makes sense that they’re favored in this spot. But should they be favored by seven points? Let’s look to the ELO projection model to see how it stacks up with the markets set by oddsmakers.
This week, ELO projects the Steelers as a 6.5-point favorite with a 72% chance of winning the game. In terms of how the ELO forecast compares with the current market odds, it suggests there is roughly one-point of spread value on the Eagles. That one point, however, is not without significance because it jumps the key betting number of seven.
Meanwhile, a 72% win probability translates to a -257 moneyline price. Given the current -315 Steelers moneyline price at DraftKings, ELO indicates this is a significantly overinflated price. On the other hand, the projection model suggests the Eagles +265 moneyline number presents modest value.
How to Bet on Eagles vs. Steelers
There’s plenty of excellent sportsbook promos available for Week 5.
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Where is the Money Going?
Let’s break down the Eagles-Steelers betting splits across the reporting markets.
As of Friday morning, the Eagles are receiving just 73% of spread bets and 79% of the money.
Much like last week, bettors don’t want to back the Eagles — and that makes sense. The Steelers are well-rested, have more star power, and appear to be among the top teams in football. The Eagles, on the other hand, well, they’ve got some work to do.
In terms of the total, 57% of bets but just 8% of the money is on the over. It’s again worth noting the game total has tumbled two full points since the start of the week.
How to Watch Eagles vs. Steelers
- Date: Sunday, October 11
- Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
- Location: Heinz Field (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
- Network: FOX
- Announcers: Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Jonathan Vilma (analyst), Shannon Spake (reporter)
- Radio: 94 WIP (Philadelphia); 102.5 WDVE-FM, 970 WBGG-AM (Pittsburgh)
It feels like the Steelers always crush the Eagles, doesn’t it? The weird thing is — that’s simply not true. In fact, the Eagles and Steelers have met in the regular season six times since the 1997 season, and the Eagles are 4-2 in those games. To stretch out the sample size a bit further, the Eagles are 7-3 against the Steelers since 1979.
Still, they lost in their last two trips to Pittsburgh, which came in 2004 and 2012, and haven’t won there since 2000.
Relive the magic:
We could comb through the rankings to see how these two teams stack up, but this one is going to boil down to pressure:
- How well will the Eagles’ reworked offensive line hold up against a Steelers defense that leads the NFL with five sacks per game?
- How well will the Steelers’ offensive line deal with an Eagles defense that leads the NFL in sacks and is second in the NFL in sacks per game?
After an encouraging performance against a depleted 49ers defensive front on Sunday night, the unit will face a much tougher test this week. It’s likely that Eagles head coach Doug Pederson will continue his recent tendency to call plays that utilize Carson Wentz’s athleticism. In addition to an increase in designed movement, Wentz is running more, too.
After just three rushing attempts for nine yards over the first two weeks of the season, Wentz has rushed 16 times for 102 yards over the last two weeks.
Carson Wentz with 16 rushes for 102 yards the last 2 games
His most over a 2 game span in his career
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 7, 2020
Reason for Concern
Moving Wentz around is important because he has been sacked on 8.05% of his drop backs this season (10th most in the NFL), while Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked on just 4.39% of his attempts (9th least. Making matters more difficult for Philadelphia is a middling rushing attack that has produced just 111.5 yards per game this season (18th in the NFL) which must deal with a Pittsburgh rush defense that has put up some pretty legit numbers:
- 2.7 yards allowed per attempt (No. 1)
- 54 yards allowed per game (No. 1)
- 0.3 Rushing touchdowns per game (No. 1)
The Eagles won’t have the services of deep threat DeSean Jackson again on Sunday, so someone else will need to provide some juice for the NFL’s 25th-best scoring offense, one that has produced just 21 points per game. That figures to be a tough task against a Pittsburgh defense allowing just 19.3 points and 290 yards per contest.
Then again, as noted above, the Steelers haven’t exactly dealt with an elite group of opponents to this point.
A key for the Eagles will be maximizing scoring opportunities when they occur, and in order to do this, they will need to improve on their 55.6% red zone touchdown rate against the NFL’s fourth-best red zone defense.
Eagles vs. Steelers Betting Trends
Note: All trends date back to the start of the 2003 season, unless otherwise indicated. The Eagles are a seven-point underdog at the time of this post.
Why Backing the Eagles Makes Sense
- The Eagles are 2-1 ATS as a road underdog of at least seven points under Doug Pederson, including their win last week.
- Undefeated home favorites of 7-8 points are just 2-4 ATS against teams with below .500 records in October.
Why Backing the Steelers Makes Sense
- The Steelers are 23-16 ATS as a home favorite of at least 6.5 points and 22-14 ATS when a favorite of at least seven points under Mike Tomlin.
- Road underdogs of 7-8 points that are coming off a win as an underdog the previous week are just 25-38-3 ATS.
- Undefeated home favorites that are playing an opponent with a sub-.500 record are 7-4 ATS in non-conference games played in October.
- The Steelers are 5-1 ATS under Mike Tomlin as exactly a seven-point favorite.
Eagles vs. Steelers Total
The totals split is exactly 34-34 in Doug Pederson’s 68 career regular season games, but upon closer inspection, there are some extremely heavy road splits worth noting:
- The over is 24-10 in Eagles road games under Pederson, and a whopping 7-1 in non-conference games.
- The over is 8-3 in October road games coached by Pederson.
- It is also 10-2 in road games with closing totals between 44-46 points under Pederson and 6-1 when that range shrinks to 44-45 points.
As for Tomlin-coached teams at home, the under holds a slight 54-51-X advantage, but it is just 8-9 in games with a closing total between 44-46 points.
Eagles vs. Steelers Prediction
Typically, I’d tell you that a team with playoff aspirations needs to avoid starting the season 1-3-1, but do the Eagles really need to win on Sunday to stay afloat in this division?
No, but a win over the 3-0 Steelers would go a long way in legitimizing the Eagles’ top spot in a disastrous NFC East.
Here’s what I’m trying to size up ahead of this game–are the Steelers an elite team, or are they a good team that has benefited from a JV schedule? I know they’re undefeated, but those three wins have come against the winless Giants, the winless Texans, and a 1-3 Broncos team that beat…the Jets. Gross teams, all.
While most people look at this game as a stiff test for the Eagles, the Eagles also provide the Steelers with their stiffest test to date. Still, I’m a bit concerned about an inexperienced Eagles offensive line that remains in a state of flux against the potent pass rush of the Steelers.
Ultimately, I’m going to roll with the Steelers to win (feels like a good spot for the old six-point tease). As for the spread, I’ll take a stab at the Eagles +7.5, but if the spread sits at seven, this is a no-play for me.
Bets We Like
Over 2.5 touchdowns in the first half at DraftKings Sportsbook (-148): (get it here ).
Eagles vs. Steelers Pick
Give me the Eagles +7.5 to cover the spread and over 44.5 points.