All it took was one lousy performance on Monday night at New Orleans for the entire world to see, and the Philadelphia Eagles have quickly turned into the betting nation's least wanted team. Even though the Eagles had lost three straight games prior to their stinker in the Bayou, they were still slated to be 2 ½-point home favorites Sunday against the Cowboys, a team they swept in last year's regular season.
Once the game played out with Philly losing 28-13 -- the Eagles basically gave up, the game was reposted as a pick 'em, which was quite an extreme rating drop for a loss. But between large and small money, that line was still way off in the public's eyes as the sour Eagles taste was still lingering from Monday night, because as of Friday afternoon, the Dallas Cowboys had been bet to 2 ½-point road favorites.
So now we have somehow anointed the Cowboys as the model of consistency to rely on. We're all of sudden ready to trust the Cowboys because the Eagles have lost five of their past six games, as though the Cowboys losing four of their past five is any better, right?
While the Cowboys may have lost their past two games against the Giants (24-29) and Falcons (13-19) gaining more style points, the fact remains that these two teams are about the same. They're both terrible.
They're also both in the same boat with controversy. Quarterback Michael Vick's brother tweets that he should be traded. Sean Payton is rumored to be the next Cowboys coach and Jon Gruden is being talked as the 2013 Eagles coach.
This is probably the toughest game of the week to handicap because of all the drama mixed in with bad play, but a five-point swing against the Eagles after one loss suggests that all the value in this one is with the home team.
Here's a look at some of the other moves this week:
-- The Patriots are fresh off a bye and get to go through their annual ritual of beating up the Bills in Foxboro, but Bills money dropped the number from 12 to 11 ½. The Patriots have gone OVER the total in six straight games and the total has been bet from 51 ½ to 52 ½.
-- The Giants have covered 38 of their past 54 road games under Tom Coughlin, but the Bengals have been bet as home 'dogs here. The Giants opened as 6-point favorites and they're currently -4.
-- The Buccaneers have been on a roll offensively and the combination of the Chargers beating no one, despite being 4-4 like the Tampa, and playing in the eastern time zone caused the Bucs to go from 2 ½-point favorites to -3 (-120). The Bucs have also gone over the total in five straight games, but the total dropped from 48 to 47 ½.
-- The Broncos are just starting to catch fire and could possibly be the most bet team over the last three weeks in ticket counts. The Public loves them, and that love has been reciprocated as the Broncos have won and covered their past three games. The Broncos were bet up from 3 ½-point favorites to -4 and already are one of the most bet teams of the week by small money. The public doesn't really care who they play this week, but we'll give the Panthers a little credit here for their home game. Outside of the Week 3 home loss (7-36) to the Giants, they have played well while losing. They broke the funk last week at Washington (21-13), which could be the spark they needed, and probably most of all, the spark Cam Newton needed to gain his confidence back.
-- The Ravens have been bet up from -7 to -7 ½ for their home game against the Raiders. The Ravens covered the spread last week at Cleveland breaking a five-game non-cover streak, despite winning four of those games. Baltimore is a hard team to trust laying a touchdown.
-- The Saints beat the Falcons in both games last season and they've been in a groove lately. The Falcons have remained -2 ½ all week with good two-way action.
-- The Lions have won three out of the past four games and last week we finally saw them put away a team, beating the Jaguars 31-14. The Vikings won 20-13 at Detroit in Week 3, but have lost three of their past four games. The Lions opened as -2 ½-point road favorites and have been bet up to -3 (EVEN).
-- The Seahawks opened as 6 ½-point home favorites against the Jets, but despite being 4-0 ATS at home this season, Jets money has dropped the game to 6.
-- The 49ers opened -12 for their home game against the well rested Rams. The 49ers are currently -11.5 with a total that dropped from 39 to 38 ½.
-- The game of the week is Sunday night with two 7-1 teams squaring off. We have the No. 3 ranked defense of the Texans traveling to Chicago against the Bears No. 5 defense. The Bears opened up a low -1.5 and it has remained there. Because of possible rain and wind coming into play, the total has dropped from 42 to 40 ½.
-- As further evidence that Monday night isn't what it used to be, we have the awful Chiefs getting 12 ½-points at Pittsburgh. The game opened at -13 ½ on Sunday night. The total has dropped from 43 to 42.