Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for Thursday, July 25. In this column, we’ll set the stage for Keystone State sports bettors’ day ahead and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities.
FanDuel Sportsbook became the fourth online sports betting operator in Pennsylvania earlier this week with the inception of its testing period. With FD going into unrestricted operation Thursday, we’ll peek at some of the reported testing hiccups. Then, the Arena Football League‘s postseason starts up Saturday. The Philadelphia Soul are set to take on the Washington Valor in a home-and-home two-week playoff clash. We’ll offer a take on the Soul’s chances of ultimately advancing and winning ArenaBowl 32 in August. Finally, we’ll examine the moneyline for Thursday’s big Yankees–Red Sox series opener.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
FanDuel Sportsbook working through kinks
FanDuel Sportsbook wrapped up its third and final day of mandatory testing Wednesday night. That means it’s now an around-the-clock operation. Testing periods typically reveal any possible logistical/functionality hiccups to iron out. PlayPennsylvania‘s Jessica Welman provided an informative summary earlier in the week of how it’s going. This included some relatively minor issues.
Perhaps the most notable was a handful of geolocation errors for Pennsylvania users. There were apparently some “false negatives”—meaning PA players incorrectly identified as outside state lines. Players should contact FanDuel support in such instances. Another glitch involves delayed verification for users who already have the FanDuel Sportsbook app in New Jersey and log in on that account for the first time in PA.
Those minor bumps in the road are addressable. It seems as if testing has gone smoothly for FD Sportsbook overall. And the unprecedented advantages they’re offering Keystone State bettors—a fully functioning iOS app and a shared wallet for those who also have funds on the operator’s NJ online sportsbook—certainly seem to outweigh any negatives.
Thursday’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
Arena Football Futures
Philadelphia Soul 2019 Arena Football League Champion Futures
- SugarHouse Casino Odds: +350
- Parx Casino Odds: +350
- Rivers Casino Odds: +350
The Philadelphia Soul wrapped up the regular season at 7-5. That left them in a three-way tie for second place in the six-team league. Philly actually allowed more points (530) than it scored (523), and the campaign finished on a significantly sour note. The Soul were thrashed by the Albany Empire 72-27 despite the latter already having the top seed locked up. Nevertheless, the postseason represents a fresh start. The AFL has a unique home-and-home format for the playoffs. Two squads face each other in their respective arenas on consecutive weekends. The team with the most points over the two contests advances to the ArenaBowl.
The Soul will face the Washington Valor in their two-game playoff. They dropped both regular-season matchups to Washington by scores of 53-46 and 48-41. However, Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh played well in both contests. He threw for a combined 576 yards and generated a 12:2 TD:INT in those games.
Granted, Philadelphia’s inability to slow down Washington’s high-octane attack is concerning for this bet. Washington dual-threat signal-caller Arvell Nelson finished with 14 total touchdowns in his two games against Philly. And the Soul especially had trouble containing Washington rookie WR Dezmon Epps‘ elite speed. He finished with a combined 15-209 line over those two games.
The price on the Soul isn’t bad by any means. However, the combination of some defensive struggles at the end of the season with their prior trouble slowing down the Valor gives me some pause.
Major League Baseball
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, 7:05 p.m. EDT
- SugarHouse Casino Moneyline Odds: Yankees (-127)/ Red Sox (+112)
- Parx Casino Moneyline Odds: Yankees (-132)/ Red Sox (+108)
- Rivers Casino Moneyline Odds: Yankees (-132)/ Red Sox (+108)
Historic and heated rivals New York and Boston get together in Fenway Park for a four-game set beginning Thursday night. It’s been a lopsided series in favor of the Yankees thus far in 2019. The Bronx Bombers took six of the first seven meetings by piling up runs. New York is averaging eight runs per contest against the Red Sox. They’ve scored 37 of their 56 runs against the BoSox in the last three matchups alone.
Thursday shapes up as another scoreboard-busting affair. Taking the Over on a projected total of 11 runs isn’t necessarily a bad idea. However, this could also be the game Boston begins to turn the season series around. The Yankees roll out a quality starter in Masahiro Tanaka. Yet he’s had his share of difficulties on the road and against the Red Sox this season. Tanaka sports a 5.40 ERA, .329 wOBA and 5.21 xFIP across 41.2 frames outside Yankee Stadium. He was also eviscerated by Boston in his one appearance against them June 29. Tanaka allowed six earned runs over just two-thirds of an inning to start off a 17-13 slugfest in which the Yankees eventually prevailed.
Current Red Sox hitters own a .285/.315/.505 line against Tanaka across 295 career at-bats. That sample includes 35 extra-base hits (20 doubles, 15 home runs) and 41 RBI. Rafael Devers (.455 BAA), J.D. Martinez (.444 BAA) and Mookie Betts (.326 BAA) have especially given him trouble. Then, if Tanaka does struggle and end up with a short outing, the normally reliable Yankees bullpen could be vulnerable. New York came into Wednesday’s series finale against the Twins having pitched the second-most innings (37.0) over the prior week. That was before having to put in another 5.2 frames Wednesday after J.A. Happ couldn’t get out of the fourth.
On the other side, Rick Porcello is not exactly a sure bet for the Red Sox. He, too, has already been hit particularly hard by this opponent. That came in the same aforementioned offensive explosion as Tanaka’s blowup. Porcello allowed six earned runs over one-third of an inning. However, Porcello does yield a respectable .310 wOBA and 28.0 percent hard-contact rate at Fenway. He’s given up only six homers across 63.0 innings in his hitter-friendly home park. Plus, the Red Sox will feature a much more rested bullpen. They’ve worked a modest 28.2 innings over the last eight days (compared to the Yanks’ 42.2).
Given those factors and the price in their favor, I lean toward the Sox moneyline.
The Lean: Red Sox moneyline