So who’s going to get fired first: Andy Reid or Jason Garrett? They might not even make it to Sunday night’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The earliest NFL odds say Dallas will put the next nail in Reid’s coffin.

Well, they keep letting me fade the Eagles, so what’s a guy supposed to do? Philadelphia made my Monday night, falling 30-22 to the Carolina Panthers (–2.5) in true Philly fashion – three lost fumbles and another star player on the injury list. That drops our meal ticket to 3-8 SU and 1-9-1 ATS. If Fireman Ed were an Eagles fan, he’d have retired ages ago. 

Ah, but now the handicapper finds himself in a dilemma. Philadelphia’s next opponents are the Cowboys, who are eminently fade-worthy themselves at 5-6 SU and 4-7 ATS. And the first NFL betting lines at bwin have the Cowboys laying 6.5 points. As The Joker once said, who do you trust? Hubba hubba hubba!

A Correction

Tony RomoI’d like to take a moment to explain the concept of “opening odds.” The odds I’m discussing are the first odds that show up on any of the 29 books on our NFL odds page. Our friends at bwin are often first on the scene. And sometimes they jump the gun. They even opened the Panthers at +3.5. It’s true. You could look it up.

Naturally, I got some rude comments from some people who said I screwed up last week’s Panthers-Eagles article. Here’s a quote: “You write a whole column on a game and have the spread reversed. That's a true testiment (sic) of how ignorant you people are on this site.” The only thing I got wrong was I had bwin opening Carolina the previous Sunday at +3 (–115), when they actually opened three days before that at +3.5. Mea culpa

Help Me Help You

I’m mentioning this because it’s not the first time this has happened – nor will it be the last, I’m sure. This is at least the third NFL game I’ve covered for this site where the “opening” point spread flipped almost symmetrically from one side to the other. There was also the Panthers-Giants game in Week 3 and the Ravens-Steelers game in Week 11.

It’s very important that you’re aware this is happening for real. Our friends at bwin are European and they’re willing to go outside their area of sports expertise for your early betting business. They can always adjust later to balance the books, but you can’t go back in time and shop there. 

Too bad, because if you’re legal to bet at bwin, you could have middled the abovementioned three games and cashed in big-time with both the Ravens and Steelers at +3.5 (the final official NFL odds were Steelers +3). Baltimore won 13-10.

Philly on Toast

I doubt you’ll find bwin needing to flip this week from Dallas –6.5 to Philadelphia –6.5. The oddsmakers in Vegas opened Sunday with the Cowboys laying 7.5 points, so by the time you’re reading this, I suspect the online books will be chiming in around the same number. 

It’s just a shame it’s the Cowboys this week. They’ve got a lot of the same problems as Philadelphia: head coach on the hot seat, multiple injuries to the offensive line and the skill players at wideout and running back. But at least the Cowboys still have Tony Romo (85.9 passer rating). 

The Eagles, on the other hand, have thrown rookie Nick Foles (58.9 passer rating) into the fire and might not be in too much of a hurry to bring back Michael Vick (79.2 passer rating) from his concussion. Also hurting: WR DeSean Jackson, who left the Carolina game with a potentially serious rib cartilage injury. 

Because Vick might play, I’d be tempted to add Philly as a purely speculative play to my NFL picks. He’s a far better quarterback at this point (and I emphasize that qualifier) than Foles, and like I said last week, some people just don’t like his kind of folk, if you catch my drift. Racism against black quarterbacks is a real bias that affects the football betting marketplace – dismiss it at your handicapping peril. But I’ll go with Dallas for now at this price.

NFL Picks: Take the Cowboys –6.5 at bwin