The first thing out of Steve Maltepes, known nationally as “The Philly Godfather,” is “everyone in Philly is going to hate my guts.”
The noted national professional gambler has deep seeded roots in the Philadelphia area. He grew up in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philly, and currently lives in South Jersey. Last year, he liked the Eagles to go deep in the NFC playoffs—and was right.
This year, he likes someone different—the dreaded, hated Dallas Cowboys.
In many national books, the Cowboys are a plus-190 to win the NFC East, a plus-600 to win the NFC, and a plus-1,600 to win the Super Bowl. Their over-under for wins is 9.5.
It looms as an interesting dilemma for Eagles fans who are prone to put down a wager or two: Where do their loyalties lie? With their hearts and Eagles’ midnight green on the field, or with the wallets and the color of money—possibly more money with the looks the Cowboys are getting by the books?
“When betting futures in the sports’ betting market, it’s all about the price and about the teams you feel can go deep into the playoffs,” Maltepes said. “That can give you an opportunity to hedge your money and get some free money if the ball bounces your way. With the Cowboys being 16-to-1, you’re risking $100 dollars to win $1,600, so it’s a great price. This is the reason why: No team in the NFC East has repeated since the Eagles did in 2004. Over the last 10 years, between the Eagles and Cowboys, they won the division four times each and eight times total. As we all know in the NFL, injuries play a major role. The Eagles were the third-healthiest team in the NFL, with the Pittsburgh Steelers being the least injured team, and they didn’t even make the playoffs.
“The second-least injured team was Jacksonville, followed by the Eagles, then the Kansas City Chiefs. The Eagles this year face an extremely difficult schedule, and the Dallas Cowboys, on the other hand, their offensive line let up the fourth-least amount of sacks in the NFL in 2022, and their defensive line had the third-most sacks last year. The nucleus of the Cowboys is very strong. They picked up Mazi Smith (the Cowboys’ first-round pick from Michigan), and he’s made their defensive line that much better.”
Dak Prescott missed five games last season and the Cowboys sill finished 12-5. The Cowboys put up points and could score in 2022, but their defense was on the field far more than the Cowboys’ coaching staff would have liked. Dallas’ offense got better; their defense certainly improved. Dallas will be a threatening team to the Eagles, good enough to possibly be the only hindrance Philadelphia may face in returning to the Super Bowl.
The NFC could be wide open, with the Eagles, Dallas and San Francisco, and after that trio, there is a cavernous drop off when it comes to the rest of the NFC.
“I think the NFC comes down to a three-horse race and when one of those horses is a 16-to-1 underdog, you have to bet it every time,” said Maltepes, who can be followed on Twitter @phillygodfather and @theeight8all. “Never bet with your heart. Never bet with emotion. Anytime you let emotion dictate decision making, it’s a recipe for disaster.
“Look at the best prices. My allegiances are to my bankroll and my wallet. These teams don’t pay my mortgage or my bills. I have to make money to eat. Betting futures, getting 16-to-1 odds, if you hit 50-percent of them, you’re ahead of the game. Don’t hate me, Philly. If the Eagles reach the Super Bowl, that’s great. It doesn’t mean I’m betting on them if the price isn’t right.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written feature stories for SI.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, MLB.com, Deadspin and The Philadelphia Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project piece for ESPN.com called “Love at First Beep.” He is most noted for his award-winning ESPN.com feature on high school wrestler A.J. Detwiler in February 2006, which appeared on SportsCenter. In 2015, he was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.