Eagles Make Gambling History As Huge Underdog on Sunday Night Football vs. Rams

Dec 14, 2018 11:02 AM EST
Credit:

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) and head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz (11) and quarterback Nate Sudfeld (7) Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

  • The Eagles are 11.5-point underdogs on the road facing the Los Angeles Rams this week, becoming the first reigning Super Bowl champ to be a touchdown underdog twice in the same season.

A little more than 10 months after the Eagles were celebrating their first Super Bowl in franchise history, Philadelphia is now an 11.5-point underdog on the road in Los Angeles against the Rams.

When the Eagles close as an underdog of a touchdown or more against L.A., they will become the first reigning Super Bowl champion in the last 35 years to be listed as an underdog of a touchdown or more multiple times in a season.

Prior to this week against the Rams, there have only been ten other teams in this span to close as a touchdown underdog as a reigning Super Bowl champion — those teams are 2-8 straight up and 6-4 against the spread in those games.

The real shock? Only two other teams in this span have closed as a double-digit underdog as a reigning Super Bowl champion:

  • 1994 49ers in 1995-96 season

In Super Bowl XXIX, Steve Young and Jerry Rice led the 49ers to a 49-26 win over the Chargers, their fifth title in franchise history.

A season later, the 49ers faced the Cowboys in Dallas as a 13.5-point underdog with their star quarterback, Steve Young out due to injury. They turned to Elvis Grbac. With 6 minutes and 39 seconds left in the first quarter, the 49ers knocked Cowboys Super Bowl-champion quarterback, Troy Aikman, out of the game.

With Dallas down to their back up, the 49ers dominated in a 38-20 win as almost a two-touchdown underdog.

  • 1986 Giants in 1987-88 season

In Super Bowl XXI, Phil Simms and the New York Giants beat the Broncos in a 39-20 win, giving New York its first Super Bowl title.

A season later, the Giants faced the Redskins at home as a 10.5-point underdog during the 1987 NFL strike-shortened season, where at this point, both teams had replacement players on the field and Phil Simms and Doug Williams on the sideline for New York and Washington.

The Giants got waxed at home, with Washington leading 24-3 at the half and . winning 38-12.

Other Circumstances…

In both scenarios above, backup quarterbacks and strike-shortened seasons caused the large point spread. When was the last time this situation occurred with a team at full strength and this big a spread?

  • 2009-10 Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger missed a road game in Baltimore after suffering a concussion and the Steelers are 9-point underdogs against the Ravens with Dennis Dixon at quarterback. Not this example.
  • 1999-00 Broncos: After John Elway retired, Brian Griese took over as quarterback of the Broncos and were 9-point road dogs against the Jaguars. Griese and Denver lost 27-24 to Jacksonville, but covered the lofty spread. This example works.
  • 1991-92 Giants: This was the battle of Jeff Hostetler and Phil Simms. Simms went down with an injury in 1990 and backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler led New York to a Super Bowl win. In 1991-92, they jockeyed for the starting position most of the season. In Week 16,  they were 9-point underdogs on the road in Washington with Simms at the helm, and lost 34-17, failing to cover the spread. This example works.
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