Betting Odds for the Eagles in the NFL Draft

Betting Odds for the Eagles in the NFL Draft

Earlier we examined why the
Eagles are likely to wind up with either an offensive or defensive lineman if
they keep the fourth-overall pick when round one of the NFL Draft gets underway
on Thursday. What does Vegas have to say about who the home team will select, or whether
or not they will stay put for that matter?

According to these odds from
online sportsbook Bovada, the Birds are likely to choose one of four players –
three of whom are linemen.

2013 NFL Draft - Who will be the 4th Pick
Overall?          

Lane Johnson               3/2      

Star
Lotulelei                 7/4      

Dion Jordan                  2/1     

Chance
Warmack          9/1      

Interesting that Oklahoma
tackle Lane Johnson appears on the list as the favorite, but neither Luke
Joeckel nor Eric Fisher is here at all. One of the two will almost certainly go to the Chiefs
first overall, and the odds makers must feel confident the other will be scooped up as well
before the Eagles are ever on the clock.

Lotulelei and Jordan are players that have been routinely mocked to the Eagles. Along with Johnson (assuming Joeckel and Fisher are gone), it's probably not a reach at all to narrow down the list to these three players in this spot.

And ‘Bama’s Warmack at 9/1?
Can’t rule him out here simply because he’s one of the best guard prospects in years,
but he certainly seems like a longshot at number four.

Of course, the wording is very
important: “Who will be the 4th Pick Overall?” There is definitely some
thinking the Eagles will not sit on the fourth pick, so much so that Vegas is
taking bets on this as well.

2013 NFL Draft - Will the Eagles trade the
4th pick overall?         

Yes                  +170     (17/10)

No                    -250      (2/5)

Who knows what to make of that
other than there is plenty of suspicion as to whether the Eagles will stay put.
One thing is for certain, and that’s with Andy Reid moved on to Kansas City and a few new faces
in the front office, the Birds are going to be less predictable than ever on
draft day.

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Jay Wright amazed by Joel Embiid's improvements since Kansas

Jay Wright amazed by Joel Embiid's improvements since Kansas

Jay Wright remembers facing Joel Embiid's Kansas team, and he's shocked by the improvements Embiid made while sitting out the last two years.

"Could you imagine not playing for two years and getting better?" Wright said Friday on TCN's Breakfast on Broad. "We played against him in college and he was not close — he was good, but not close to the player that he was at the start of this year. 

"What [the Sixers'] staff did while he was out is incredible. I don't know what other pro athlete has done that or could do that — not play and improve drastically.

"He's a unique force. We haven't seen a guy that's got this will defensively and ability defensively and then the skill level and mobility offensively. I've heard some people compare him to (Hakeem) Olajuwon. He's far more mobile than Olajuwon. Olajuwon, offensively, had his set of skills, which [Embiid] will develop. But the mobility he's got far exceeds Olajuwon. He's exciting. ... It's nice to feel this vibe with the Sixers right now."

Wright was also asked if he, as a coach, would want a player on a minutes restriction participating in the All-Star Game.

"Yeah, I would," he said. "I think that it's such an accomplishment for Joel Embiid. It would build his confidence so much to be on the floor with those guys and realize he's earned this. And to have that a part of his psyche going into the next season — 'OK, I've already been separated during the regular season with those guys, I belong with those guys.' So next year I'm thinking, 'I wanna beat these guys, I wanna be better than these guys.' 

"I think it'll be great for him. I think it's awesome ... what Brett Brown and his staff have done with this guy."

As lucky as good?
With a national championship and another No. 1 ranking this season, it would be understandable if Wright was feeling himself right about now. 'Nova is 17-1 and back atop the AP poll after a brief stint at No. 3.

National Player of the Year candidate Josh Hart is leading the way for the Wildcats with 18.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. A lot of Villanova's success this season is owed to Hart's decision to return for his senior year, so Wright has no issue admitting there's been some luck involved in the Wildcats' recent success.

"It's a tremendous advantage and it's really been probably the most important factor in our success the last three, four years," Wright said of 'Nova's senior leadership Friday on TCN's Breakfast on Broad.

"A lot of it is, on Villanova's side, luck. Josh Hart could have left last year. He just looked at it and kind of said, 'I could be maybe a late first-round, early [second-round pick]. I'd rather come back and get my degree.' 

"Having people that make that choice, you're lucky. If we lose him last year, we're a lot younger team this year. Daniel Ochefu the year before was faced with that decision. He stayed. 

"So when you get those guys that decide they're gonna stay, you catch a break because they're invaluable, a senior of that level. Daniel's playing in the NBA now. So we had a guy for a year that was an NBA player. And we have that with Josh this year. Kris (Jenkins) is developing into one, Darryl (Reynolds) has a chance."

Villanova, which destroyed Seton Hall 76-46 on Monday, hosts Providence Saturday at noon.

Gregg Popovich on Sixers: 'One of my joys in life to watch them win'

Gregg Popovich on Sixers: 'One of my joys in life to watch them win'

When Brett Brown agreed to become the Sixers' head coach, he knew he was embarking upon a unique challenge with a franchise that planned to be as methodical as possible in its rebuild. 

One of the results was a career record for Brown of 47-199 entering this season, a record so lopsidedly poor that Brown may never break the .500 mark.

But the Sixers are finally showing real progress, with a star in Joel Embiid and young players who are turning out to be useful pieces. The Sixers have won seven of their last nine, and there's no one happier to see that than Brown's former boss and mentor, Gregg Popovich.

"It's one of my joys in life to watch them win basketball games because if there's any team that deserves it, it's those guys," Popovich told ESPN.

Brown and the Sixers aren't out of the woods yet. At 14-26, they're still closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference, but the entire vibe around the team has changed. 

"They've had it really tough for all the obvious reasons," said Popovich, who has been the Spurs' head coach since 1996 and worked with Brown from 2002-13.

"There's nobody in our business that is more positive, and more day-to-day upbeat and ready to teach and love than Brett Brown. He's a unique, unique guy."