Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for Wednesday, July 24. In this column, we’ll set the stage for Keystone State sports bettors’ day ahead and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities.
The sports betting focus in Pennsylvania lately has been firmly on the space. However, a new retail location’s debut takes part of the spotlight with the start of its two-day testing period. We’ll offer up the latest details. Then, we’ll delve into a Comeback Player of the Year prop involving Eagles QB Carson Wentz and offer a betting take on Wednesday’s Cardinals–Pirates clash.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
BetAmerica’s Presque Isle Downs readying for debut
Online sportsbooks have garnered headlines in Pennsylvania recently, and with good reason. The last week has seen the release of Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) June numbers that revealed the already significant impact of online sports betting. Then, Monday brought news that the Keystone State’s fourth online platform, FanDuel Sportsbook, was beginning its three-day testing period. But with the NFL season a little over a month away, one retail sportsbook is timing its rollout accordingly.
Presque Isle Downs will officially open its Bet America-themed sportsbook for unrestricted operations on Friday, July 26. That launch date will be preceded by two days of mandatory testing with limited hours. The first is today, from 4 p.m. to midnight, local time. Thursday’s hours will be more extensive: 2 p.m. to midnight. However, its official grand opening celebration will come just short of two weeks later: Thursday, August 8. That night features the first big slate of NFL preseason games. Both the Eagles and Steelers will be in action.
The opening of the retail location, which features 50 different betting kiosks spread throughout both the sportsbook and casino, will mark the second brick-and-mortar sports betting option for Western Pennsylvania residents. Pittsburgh’s Bet Rivers Casino is the first. This also represents an important step for Presque Isle. Per PGCB regulations, no sportsbook may launch an online platform without a retail location preceding it. As such, the countdown is now presumably on to the eventual debut of a BetAmerica mobile option.
Wednesday’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
NFL Football Futures
Carson Wentz 2019 Comeback Player of the Year
- SugarHouse Casino Odds: +800
- Parx Casino Odds: +800
- Rivers Casino Odds: +800
Eagles fans can’t help but think of Carson Wentz’s production should he stay healthy for all 16 games at this stage of his development. He’s only accomplished the feat once, in his rookie 2016 season. Even in that nascent phase, the results were impressive: 3,782 passing yards and 16 touchdowns, along with 150 and another two scores on the ground. Wentz also logged 39 completions of more than 20 yards, including six over 40. Wentz thus set a pretty hefty bar for himself that knee and back injuries derailed in each of the following two seasons.
The results could be stellar if Wentz finally sidesteps the injury bug completely this season. First off, he’ll throw to familiars like Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Then, Wentz also has a motivated DeSean Jackson as a downfield threat this coming season. Injury-prone Jay Ajayi has been replaced by a steadier option in Jordan Howard. The former Bears back and two-time 1,000-yard rusher should combine with 2019 second-round pick Miles Sanders to help keep defenses honest.
Unlike the MVP award, quarterbacks don’t have a virtual monopoly on Comeback Player of the Year honors. However, as 2018 honoree Andrew Luck demonstrated, a quarterback with an impressive enough season could certainly rise to the forefront. Moreover, Wentz and the Eagles are seemingly Super Bowl-caliber. A deep postseason run at minimum to cap off a strong regular season could cement Wentz’s candidacy. His main competition figures to come from fellow signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo (whose hold on a starting job isn’t as safe as Wentz’s) and Le’Veon Bell (who’ll be adjusting to a new offense and has a season’s worth of rust to shake off).
With a favorable price at all three Pennsylvania sportsbooks, Wentz is an intriguing bet.
Major League Baseball
St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 p.m. EDT
- SugarHouse Casino Moneyline Odds: Cardinals (-106)/ Pirates (-108)
- Parx Casino Moneyline Odds: Cardinals (-109)/ Pirates (-112)
- Rivers Casino Moneyline Odds: Cardinals (-109)/ Pirates (-112)
A pair of difficult arms to prognosticate—the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright and the Pirates’ Jordan Lyles—takes the hill Wednesday for the third installment of a four-game set. Wainwright is in the twilight of his career and has had the majority of his troubles on the road. The right-hander sports a 7.16 ERA, .304 BAA, and .370 wOBA across 44 away innings. He also has a mediocre 61.5 percent strand rate and allows an elevated 27.1 percent line-drive rate on the road. Then, Lyles has yielded a 4.70 ERA, .295 BAA, and allowed a .354 wOBA in his 44 innings at PNC Park.
Lyles does have one impressive start against St. Louis this season. He allowed just an earned run on one hit over six innings at Busch Stadium on May 11. But that was actually a rare taste of success for Lyles against the Cardinals. Current St. Louis hitters own a collective .306/.408/.460 line against him in 124 career at-bats. Then, Wainwright has also had his share of struggles versus current Pittsburgh bats. They sport a .268/.315/.425 line against him across 153 at-bat sample. The trio of Colin Moran (.667 BAA), Corey Dickerson (.455 BAA) and Josh Bell (.429 BAA) has especially given him trouble.
Ultimately, I see this as a game with its fair share of runs scored on both sides. The tie-breaker for me in terms of picking the moneyline is the Cardinals bullpen. The St. Louis relief corps has been very effective of late. That includes Tuesday night’s 4-3 victory when Giovanny Gallegos and Andrew Miller fired 2.2 perfect frames. With the Cardinals also running hot overall (7-2 over last nine, including four wins against Pittsburgh), I give them the edge at the more appealing price.
The Lean: Cardinals moneyline