Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for Friday, July 12. In this column, we’ll set the stage for Keystone State sports bettors’ day ahead and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities.

With online casino set to roll out on Monday, we’ll touch on its potential impact on mobile sports betting in Pennsylvania. We’ll also take our first look at the MLS in this column by breaking down the Philadelphia Union-Real Salt Lake matchup Friday night. Then, the Phillies jump back into action Friday night and must hit the ground running. They’re 6.5 games out of first place but just a half-game back of second-place Washington, their Friday opponent. We’ll delve into the projected run total for that contest.

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Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News

Online sports betting will see competition for digital gambling dollars

Things have by and large gone swimmingly thus far in the nascent Pennsylvania online sports betting market. The first good omen was the $573 million that SugarHouse Casino managed to rake in just four days of operation in late May. Then, after a month alone in the online pond, SugarHouse got some company in the form of Parx Casino and Rivers Casino in the final days of June. Now, we’re hotly anticipating June revenue reports from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). We’ll see how close Parx and Rivers may have come to SugarHouse’s four-day May take in their own abbreviated late-June debuts.

But all three operators will have new competition as of Monday. Latest reports indicate Parx and Hollywood casinos will be ready to go for live testing of their online casino games. Online slots, table games, and poker are expected. Then, August will be the first full month in which the potential impact of online casino on sports betting can be gauged.

It remains to be seen whether there will be any appreciable moving of the needle in either direction. Casino games and sportsbooks certainly share crossover customers. That much has been proven for decades in Nevada. Theoretically, there will also be a certain number of customers who’ll have to choose one or the other depending on their personal finances. However, the opportunity for cross-promotion, including those involving the individual operators’ rewards programs, could well result in a net benefit for both legs of the online money-based gaming space in Pennsylvania.

Friday’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks

MLS Soccer

Philadelphia Union at Real Salt Lake, Saturday, July 13, 10:00 p.m. EDT

The Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union heads into the Beehive State to take on Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium Friday. This is a matchup that’s traditionally favored the home squad. Philadelphia holds a 1-4-6 record versus RSL. That includes an 0-3-2 mark when facing them on the road. The Union has scored six goals in those five road tilts while allowing 11. The Union has been solid on the road overall this season, however. That’s evidenced by their 4-3-3 record outside of Talen Energy Stadium.

The Union does head into Saturday’s matchup hot. It boasts a 3-1-2 record over its last six games. However, they’ll run into a Salt Lake squad that’s been dominant at home. RSL sports a 6-0-2 mark at Rio Tinto. And despite its mediocre 8-9-2 mark, RSL boasts a respectable -4 goal differential. Salt Lake has been especially impressive on defense of late. It’s allowed all of one goal over its last three games. That span includes a pair of shutouts. Granted, two of the squads they faced during that sample leave much to be desired offensively (Columbus, Sporting KC). But the third was a San Jose team that now has an 8-4-7 record.

RSL will need some of that same caliber of defense Saturday considering Union’s Eastern Conference-leading 39 goals. However, it’s also worth noting that after starting the season as a prolific road scoring team, Philadelphia has slowed of late. The Union has notched a modest seven goals over its last five away contests. That’s an average of just 1.4 per game.

The Lean: Real Salt Lake moneyline

Major League Baseball

Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies, 6:05 p.m. EDT

  • SugarHouse Casino Total Runs Odds: Over 9.5 (-107)/ Under 9.5 (-109)
  • Parx Casino Total Runs Odds: Over 9.5 (-109)/ Under 9.5 (-112)
  • Rivers Casino Total Runs Odds: Over 9.5 (-107)/Under 9.5 (-109)

The Phillies open the second half of their season with a key three-game set against the division-rival Washington Nationals. Philadelphia sits just a half-game back of the Nats for second place in the NL East. A fast start will be key to a course correction for a Phillies squad that had high hopes entering the season. On paper, the matchup doesn’t exactly look conducive for an offensive breakout. Washington will send Stephen Strasburg to the mound. The right-hander boasts a 10-4 season record. He also owns a 3.19 ERA, .234 wOBA, and .206 BAA over 59.1 road frames.

Something’s likely to give Friday. The Phillies haven’t really been fazed by Strasburg over the years. Current Philly bats own a collective .273/.323/.455 line against him across 187 career at-bats. That sample includes 18 extra-base hits (eight doubles, four triples, six home runs). The Phillies also faced Strasburg on one other occasion this season. It wasn’t pretty for the Nationals starter. He allowed six earned runs on six hits and four walks over four innings back on April 9. It’s also worth noting Philadelphia owns a .348 wOBA, .245 ISO, and modest 19.9 percent strikeout rate over their 301 plate appearances against righties at home in the last month.

On the other end, Phillies starter Nick Pivetta isn’t exactly a deterrent to offense. Philadelphia’s projected starter has a 5.92 ERA, .314 BAA, and .387 wOBA allowed across 38.0 home frames. Those numbers include 19 extra-base hits (out of 49 total hits allowed). And like Strasburg, Pivetta has trouble against this opponent. His have been exponentially worse. Current Nationals bats own a collective .408/.478/.755 line against Pivetta over 98 career encounters. Some of those numbers came this season: Pivetta has allowed 13.00 ERA and 2.22 WHIP across nine innings over two starts versus Washington in 2019.

The Pick: Over 9.5 runs

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