Embiid

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for Monday, July 8. In this column, we’ll set the stage for Keystone State sports bettors’ day ahead and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities.

First, the final major free-agent signing of this year’s tumultuous NBA summer caused significant upheaval in the league’s power structure. We’ll touch on how Kawhi Leonard’s decision impacted the Philadelphia 76ers’ futures odds now that the defending champion Toronto Raptors will officially be without his services next season. Then, with the MLB Home Run Derby on tap Monday night and Christian Yelich a last-minute withdrawal, we’ll delve into odds for both a first-round matchup and the overall winner of the contest.

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Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News

With Kawhi decision finally rendered, 76ers see a bump in 2019-20 Finals odds

Kawhi Leonard’s decision to join the Los Angeles Clippers as part of a package deal that also includes Paul George has shifted the balance of power in the NBA. We all knew the “Kawhi Domino” would affect the 2019-20 championship odds. But plenty of momentum had built toward the multi-time All-Star going to that other Staples Center tenant. The Lakers were the odds-on favorites status thanks to the Anthony Davis trade.

Those expectations turned upside down on Saturday morning. Now, the Clippers have vaulted to the top of the futures heap at Pennsylvania sportsbooks. The official confirmation that Leonard is out of the Eastern Conference, and specifically the Atlantic Division, has also bettered the 76ers‘ chances. Philly’s futures odds were in the low quadruple digits at multiple sportsbooks last week. They’ve since crept up to +900 at SugarHouse Casino, Parx Casino, and Rivers Casino.

The free agency dust has settled now for the league and Philly, alike. Despite losing Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick from last year’s team, the 76ers should be optimistic about acquiring Josh Richardson and Al Horford. The latter’s ability to fill the power forward spot also allows newly re-signed Tobias Harris to fill the small forward role. It certainly could be argued that a projected 2019-20 starting five of Ben Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford, and Joel Embiid is a reasonable facsimile of last year’s lineup. While Richardson is not exactly “Jimmy Buckets” at this point of his career, he’s on the rise. Moreover, he’s already a more complete player than Redick, who he directly replaces at shooting guard. Then, Horford should be a considerable upgrade on the defensive end at power forward over Harris.

Monday’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks

Major League Baseball

All-Star Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. EDT

First-round matchup: Josh Bell (PIT) vs. Ronald Acuna, Jr. (ATL)

This first-round matchup should be one of the most entertaining, given Bell’s propensity for tape-measure blasts and Acuna’s own impressive power profile. Bell has slugged 27 homers overall and has a pair of 470-foot-plus blasts on the campaign. He also heads into the contest with an impressive 28.4 percent HR/FB rate, which significantly outpaces Acuna’s 21.4 percent figure. Bell has the slight edge in exit velocity (93.4 mph to 91.4 mph) and xwOBA (.401 to .395). Plus, he’s just shy of equaling Acuna’s barrel percentage (14.8, compared to Acuna’s 14.9).

This should be one of the most hotly contested head-to-heads. Ultimately, I give the red-hot Bell (21 homers since May 1) the edge to advance.

The Pick: Bell -190

All-Star Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. EDT

Overall Winner
  • SugarHouse Casino Run Line Odds: Josh Bell +300
  • Parx Casino Run Line Odds: Josh Bell +300
  • Rivers Casino Run Line Odds: Josh Bell +300

It wasn’t exactly a Kawhi-level shake-up, but Christian Yelich’s last-minute decision to withdraw from the Home Run Derby removed a major obstacle to the top prize of $1 million. It also reinforced Bell’s candidacy as the odds-on favorite to take the 2019 title. The Pirates slugger’s previously cited power metrics help his case.

As written above, I expect Bell to get past Acuna in the first round. Then, I envision a likely Bell-Pete Alonso (+400) final, which should be a battle for the ages if it does come to fruition. Alonso is a formidable opponent and is tied with Gary Sanchez for the hardest-hit home run in the Majors (118.3 mph exit velocity) this season. Just as in his first-round matchup, I give Bell the nod in a barn-burner to take home the crown.

The Pick: Bell +300

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