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Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for Thursday, July 4. In this column, we’ll set the stage for Keystone State sports bettors’ day ahead and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities.

It doesn’t get much more patriotic than baseball on the Fourth of July, and there’s plenty on the docket. Both the Pirates and Phillies will be part of the festivities. They’re wrapping up series against the Cubs and Braves, respectively. We’ll take a look at both a Run total and moneyline wager pertaining to those games. Prior to that, it’s Rivers Casino Pittsburgh‘s turn in the spotlight. We’ll delve into the details of its forthcoming new retail sportsbook and further examine how Rivers and SugarHouse may soon be largely indistinguishable.

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Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News

Rivers, SugarHouse casinos have more and more in common

Just yesterday, we detailed SugarHouse Casino’s ambitious plans for its new, permanent retail sportsbook. While that’s scheduled for a fall opening, it’s also prudent to note SugarHouse will be transitioning to the Rivers Casino Philadelphia name over the next few weeks. This move makes for considerable branding synergy with fellow Pennsylvania operator Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. It’s fitting, given that both are owned by Rush Street Gaming. The latest reports indicate all SugarHouse signage and branding on the property will reflect the name change. Presumably, this will be complete by the time the snazzy new sportsbook space is ready for its ribbon-cutting.

The Pittsburgh sportsbook will join its Philadelphia brethren with its own new digs by the time the NFL plays its first regular-season snap this September. Like SugarHouse, Rivers also opened retail sportsbook operations in temporary housing. It’s been doing quite well in that location, racking up $7.9 million in handle during May to pace the Keystone State. And as with SugarHouse, Rivers Pittsburgh’s new home will have no shortage of impressive amenities. That includes two 50 x 7 LED monitors, 24 additional 86-inch monitors, 18 self-serving betting kiosks, and six betting windows. All will be spread out over a 5,500-foot space that used to house Levels Lounge. Rivers Pittsburgh patrons will also be able to utilize the casino’s mobile app, BetRivers, while enjoying the multitude of on-site features.

Thursday’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks

Major League Baseball

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs, 4:05 p.m. EDT

  • SugarHouse Casino Total Runs Odds: Over 9.5 (+102)/ Under (-118)
  • Parx Casino Total Runs Odds: Over 9.5 (+100)/ Under 9.5 (-121)
  • Rivers Casino Total Runs Odds: Over 9.5 (+100)/ Under 9.5 (-121)

Jose Quintana and Jordan Lyles are on the hill for the visiting Cubs and hometown Pirates in the finale of a four-game set. Neither pitcher has been anything to write home about this season. Still, Lyles owns a 3.93 ERA in his home park. He’s given up just three home runs there across 34.1 innings as well.

However, Lyles has had considerable trouble versus left-handed hitters. That’s a worrisome vulnerability against the Cubs. They roll out Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and Daniel Descalso. Lyles is allowing a .345 average and .411 wOBA to lefty bats at home, along with a 5.83 xFIP. He also sees a precipitous drop in strikeout rate at PNC (17.7 percent, compared to 30.7 percent on the road) and strand rate (70.4 percent, compared to 80.6 percent on the road) against all hitters.

Then, Quintana checks in with a .283 BAA and .341 wOBA across 44.1 road frames. He does have better K/9 and strand rates outside Wrigley Field. However, the southpaw seems to constantly flirt with trouble when traveling. He’s surrendering a 33.3 percent line-drive rate and 51.4 percent hard contact rate in same-handed matchups on the road. Then, there’s a 22.5 percent LD rate and 46.6 percent HC rate to right-handed hitters in away matchups as well.

The Pirates started the season off mostly inept against southpaws. However, they’ve been much better of late. Pittsburgh owns a .275 average and .319 wOBA against left-handed pitching at home over the last month while also tying for sixth with 22 runs against that handedness over that stretch. And even before factoring in Craig Kimbrel’s ninth-inning stumble Wednesday, the Cubs bullpen was already surrendering a 7.17 ERA and allowing a .396 wOBA on the road over the past month.

By the Numbers: The Over is 24-18 (57.1 percent) in the Cubs’ road games this season, including a 12-9 mark (57.1 percent) in their games as road favorites. The Over is also 25-12-2 (NL-high 67.6 percent) in the Pirates’ home games this season. That includes a 14-4-1 mark (MLB-best 77.8 percent) in their games as home underdogs.

The Pick: Over 9.5 runs

Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves, 7 p.m. EDT

  • SugarHouse Casino Moneyline Odds: Phillies (+148)/ Braves (-167)
  • Parx Casino Moneyline Odds: Phillies (+143)/ Braves (-177)
  • Rivers Casino Moneyline Odds: Phillies (-143)/ Braves (-177)

The Braves beat the Phillies over the first two games of this series with both pitching (2-0) and a complete performance (9-2). There’s little reason to think that Thursday’s series finale won’t fall into one of those two categories, or somewhere in between. Philadelphia will roll out the inconsistent Zach Eflin. The right-hander owns a .265 BAA and .323 wOBA across 49.2 road innings. He’s also yielding well over 40.0 percent hard contact when traveling. Then, the Philadelphia bullpen continues to be one of the worst performing groups in the Majors on the road of late. Even without factoring in the three earned runs that Juan Nicasio surrendered Wednesday, Philly relievers were allowing a Majors-high 9.07 ERA and .429 wOBA on the road over the last month.

In turn, the Braves should be in fine shape with dominant rookie Mike Soroka on the mound. Soroka has actually been an even better road pitcher. However, that doesn’t mean he’s been shabby at SunTrust Park by any stretch. Soroka has a 3.28 ERA and .282 wOBA allowed across 35.2 home innings. And he’s been outstanding at keeping the ball in the park all season, regardless of locale. Soroka has surrendered just four home runs over 84.2 frames overall. He’s been tough on all hitters and is yielding a wOBA of .256 or less on three of the four pitches in his arsenal.

By the Numbers: The Phillies have an 18-24 (42.9 percent) away record, including a 9-16 mark (36.0 percent) as away underdogs. Then, the Braves boast a 25-18 (58.1 percent) home record, including a 23-15 mark (60.5 percent) as home favorites.

The Pick: Braves moneyline

                     View up-to-the-minute odds and daily promotions by visiting SugarHouse Sportsbook