-- Long shots to start the season, the Philadelphia Eagles have emerged as the clear-cut favorites in the NFC and are closing in on the New England Patriots at the top of the Las Vegas sportsbooks' odds to win the Super Bowl.
The Eagles, who had odds as high as 65-1 in the offseason to win the Super Bowl, are now 4-1 at the Westgate SuperBook, behind only the Patriots at 7-2.
Philadelphia has won seven in a row and separated itself from other contenders in the NFC. The Eagles are 2-1 to win the conference and overwhelming -1,200 favorites in the NFC East.
"They're legit, well-coached, well-quarterbacked," said South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews, who last week moved the Eagles (7-2) ahead of the Patriots (4-1) in his Super Bowl odds.
Few bettors saw the Eagles' rise coming in the preseason. At William Hill's Nevada sportsbook, the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were among 17 teams that attracted more bets to win the Super Bowl.
But the betting public is clearly on board now, and it's starting to take a weekly toll on sportsbooks. Philadelphia is 8-1 straight-up and 7-2 against the spread.
"I'm pretty sure we'll see strong play on the Eagles from here on out," Jay Rood, vice president of MGM race and sports, told ESPN on Sunday afternoon.
The Denver-Philadelphia game was the most-heavily-bet game of Sunday at multiple sportsbooks, with the bulk of the money wagered on the Eagles.
Behind four touchdown passes from quarterback Carson Wentz, Philadelphia blew out the Broncos and easily covered as a 7-point favorite in a 51-23 rout. It was the most costly decision for several sportsbooks, which got off to a rocky start Sunday.
"The only game that saved our day from being a total disaster was the Panthers busting up the Falcons," Rood said, as the afternoon games were coming to an end. "Otherwise, we'd be stuck probably double what we are now."
"It could have been a lot worse," Ed Salmons, assistant manager at the Westgate, said of the early slate. "The Atlanta game was the only one we really won on."
The Panthers, who were 3-point underdogs, beat the Falcons 20-17.
The books recovered in the late kickoffs, primarily thanks to the underdog Washington Redskins' 17-14 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Bettors sided heavily with the Oakland Raiders in the Sunday night game with the Miami Dolphins, but the game was a push, with the Raiders, who were 3-point favorites, winning 27-24.