It’s time to cash some of those future bets — and forget about some others. With the 2021 NFL regular season in the books, we look back at the highs and lows of betting action in the NFC East from this past season based on some of the preseason NFL betting odds:
Dallas Cowboys (12-5): Domination From Day One
The Dallas Cowboys were the odds-on favorite to win the division at +110 before the season and, almost right from the beginning it was readily apparent that Dallas was the team to beat in the NFC East. Dak Prescott bounced back from an injury-shortened 2020 to throw for 37 touchdowns and only 10 picks, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard both managed to have big seasons on the ground, and Dallas got big contributions from a bunch of pass-catchers.
And that’s just on offense. Trevon Diggs turned in a historic season from an interception standpoint and Micah Parsons — as a rookie — was one of the best defensive players in football. It felt like everything has clicked for the Cowboys, who blew past their preseason 9½-win total with ease.
Dallas also didn’t just beat teams this season; the Cowboys crushed them. Dallas was the best team in the league in terms of NFL picks against the spread, going 13-4 with tons of double-digit wins. Also, even with the No. 1 offense in terms of points and yardage, Cowboys games only went 8-9 in terms of hitting the over ,which shows how good Dallas’ No. 7 scoring defense was at keeping opponents off the board.
Vegas, and the betting public, knew the Cowboys would be good but there were justifiable reservations about Prescott and Elliott’s health. Those concerns have been dismissed, as have any issues with Dallas’ lack of depth from recent seasons. This was a full-team effort all season in all facets.
Philadelphia Eagles (9-8): Trending in Right Direction
The Philadelphia Eagles surprised the league all season as Jalen Hurts took his first full NFL season as a starting quarterback and literally ran with it. The statistics aren’t particularly striking, but he showed remarkable poise and leadership for a 23-year-old leading a team beset by injuries and a midseason trade of a longtime franchise stalwart in Zach Ertz.
Philadelphia’s season ended with a thud in a blowout loss to Dallas, but the Eagles rested their starters with their playoff position — and a matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — all but secured. Still, the Eagles severely outperformed their preseason expectations, easily surpassing their 6½ win over/under total and making the playoffs despite being +250 to do so.
So, if you backed Philadelphia futures on the BetUS sportsbook this season, you probably made a nice chunk of change in doing so. They only went 8-8-1 against the spread — in part due to some lopsided losses — but the over went 10-7 due to a late-season resurgence from the offense.
The Eagles actually had the worst odds (+500) to win the NFC East and ended up finishing in second place, well ahead of Washington and the New York Giants. That’s just another sign of how impressive Nick Sirianni’s team was, even with a host of major injuries.
Washington Football Team (7-10): Same Old, Same Old
The 2021 season was Washington’s fifth straight year with a losing record and Ron Rivera’s squad dealt with a lot of the same issues it has for years. Taylor Heineke, who probably is a little over his head as an NFL starting quarterback, had an up-and-down campaign, pass-catchers not named Terry McLaurin had trouble distinguishing themselves, and an extremely talented defensive group failed to live up to expectations.
Injuries and even some in-fighting did in Washington, as did a pair of four-game losing streaks before and after WFT’s Week 9 bye. But, Washington did win four games in a row immediately following the bye to climb back to 6-6 and it looked like the team could actually hit the over on its 8½ win total. Then, the second big skid happened and that possibility disappeared.
WFT wasn’t expected to make the playoffs (+150) or win the division (+225), but there was hope that Ron Rivera’s team could repeat its relatively surprising 2020 campaign. It had one of the most intimidating defensive lines in football, an All-Pro receiver in McLaurin, and a Pro Bowl-caliber running back in Antonio Gibson.
As a team, though, Washington just couldn’t put it all together, going 7-9-1 against the spread. Points were hard to come by later in the season, as were overs, which went 7-10 in WFT games.
New York Giants (4-13): Fair Verdict for Judge
If you were betting online on the NFL this season, you would have done better by backing almost any team other than the Giants. New York, which fired head coach Joe Judge this week after a disastrous two-year tenure, never was close to eclipsing its seven-win over/under total, making the playoffs (+210), or competing in the division (+400).
Nothing clicked all year for the Giants, either on offense with Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and free agent pickup Kenny Golladay (who didn’t catch a touchdown all season), or on defense. New York scored the second-fewest points in the NFL and gained the second-fewest yards from scrimmage while having a solidly bottom-third defense.
It’s no wonder the Giants were 6-11 against the spread, one of the worst marks in the league, when you look at how non-competitive they were, especially late in the season. New York went 1-7 after its Week 10 bye, and all seven of those losses were by double digits.
The over going 5-11-1 in Giants games isn’t particularly surprising either, even with New York’s mediocre defense. The Giants scored 14 points or fewer in a remarkable 10 games, and had single-digit points in four of their last six games. There’s no question that the lackluster offense is what did in the 2021 Giants and anyone who bet on them.