The Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins play each other on Sunday.
The Eagles are 1-4, they have key injuries, there is talk of firing the head coach or at least the defensive coordinator, and other evidence of general disarray is present.
The Redskins are 3-1, they are one of the healthiest teams in the league, the coach is being lauded for engineering a nice turnaround, and the game is being played at FedEx Field.
So why is the game currently a pick ‘em on Bodog.com? Some on my Twitter timeline have reported seeing that the Redskins are one-point underdogs in some sports books.
If the line ends up as even or with the Eagles favored one of my favorite tweeters, @SimoneBrett, says that it will only the second time since 1993 that a 1-4 road team would not be the underdog to a home team with a better record.
As many of you know, the line reflects the betting public’s perception of the two teams. The purpose of establishing a point spread is to get an equal amount of money bet on both teams. That way the house is a guaranteed winner as losing bets are hit with a 10 percent surcharge.
So apparently the Redskins’ 10-22 record of the past two seasons are still on the minds of many bettors as are the “dream” acquisitions that the Eagles made as well as Philly’s decade-plus of mostly winning football. It can take a long time for such perceptions to die.
I don’t think that the point spread will create any extra motivation for the Redskins, just like I don’t think that being desperate for a win will help the Eagles’ chances of winning. If these guys can’t get up for a game like this without any artificial help then they are in trouble to begin with. But it is interesting how public perception sticks around long after the reality has changed.