Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for Monday, July 29. In this column, we’ll set the stage for Keystone State sports bettors’ day ahead and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities.
With the NFL’s Hall of Fame Game kicking off the league’s preseason on Thursday, we’ll indulge in a bit of speculation as to what might be the additional sportsbooks joining Pennsylvania’s online space during the month. Then, we’ll examine the neighboring Brooklyn Nets‘ Atlantic Division championship futures in the wake of some big free-agent signings and offer a betting take on the Pirates-Reds battle Monday night.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
Since the waning days of June, we’ve seen three online sportsbooks join SugarHouse Casino in the Keystone State: Parx, Rivers, and FanDuel. There’s particular urgency at this time of year. The sports betting industry’s cash cow — NFL football — is on the horizon. In fact, it’s really only 72 hours or so away as of Monday. The Hall of Fame Game between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos kicks off the preseason slate that day. Unless we have a surprise sportsbook initiate its mandatory three-day testing period Monday, only the four existing online operators will be running on an unrestricted schedule by the time that game kicks off.
However, the remainder of the exhibition slate should see some new kids on the Pennsylvania block. Forthcoming online sportsbooks thought to be planning pre-NFL regular-season rollouts include Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica), Hollywood Casino (William Hill) and Harrah’s. Whether they’ll beat the Sept. 5 opening of the regular season between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers remains to be seen.
One monkey wrench is the possible incompatibility with iOS devices. These prospective operators face the real possibility of starting off NFL season without a sizable chunk of their potential market.
Monday’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
Brooklyn Nets Atlantic Division 2019-20 Champions Futures
- SugarHouse Casino Odds: +500
- FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: +500
- Rivers Casino Odds: +500
Before the Los Angeles Clippers set the NBA world on its collective ear with its last-minute snag of Kawhi Leonard and accompanying blockbuster trade for Paul George, there were the Nets. Brooklyn was the talk of the NBA for a minute as free agency kicked off when they pulled off their own coup. Chatter about Kyrie Irving joining the Nets ultimately proved legitimate. When Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan also were confirmed to be along for the ride, Brooklyn garnered plenty of the spotlight. Durant won’t play this coming season due to his Achilles tear. However, Jordan could be an ideal complement in multiple ways to emerging young big Jarrett Allen. Irving naturally gives Brooklyn a highly capable and versatile option at the point.
The addition of the three superstars isn’t an ill-timed one, either. It’s said that you shouldn’t spend megabucks on stars if you don’t feel you’re already pretty close with what’s presently on the roster. The Nets can claim as much after last season’s 42-40 season and playoff appearance. A young nucleus that includes Joe Harris, Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Rodions Kurucs should only get better this year. Then, Brooklyn made another less ballyhooed but nevertheless impressive acquisition when it snagged the talented Taurean Prince in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks. Prince boasted career highs in shooting percentage (44.1) and three-point percentage (39.0) last season and will be an outstanding component of the second unit.
Brooklyn will be in a dogfight all season in the Atlantic against the 76ers and Celtics in particular. However, the addition of Irving, Jordan, and Prince all give the team a talent upgrade that arguably puts them very much in the neighborhood of the talent on both clubs. The price on the Nets and the health of Joel Embiid over in Philadelphia is such that a +500 shot isn’t a bad one to take on a team that I expect will reach very close to 50 wins at minimum.
Major League Baseball
Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds, 7:10 p.m. EDT
- SugarHouse Casino Run Total Odds: Over 10 (+100)/ Under 10 (-117)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Run Total Odds: Over 9.5 (-118)/ Under 9.5 (-104)
- Rivers Casino Run Total Odds: Over 9.5 (-117)/ Under 9.5 (+100)
(Editor’s Note: Jordan Lyles was traded Monday afternoon to the Milwaukee Brewers, so Alex McRae will open Monday’s game for Pittsburgh. However, McCrae may not cover more than a handful of innings before giving way to a Pirates bullpen that’s generated a .182 BAA, 3.48 ERA and .273 wOBA over the last week of play, and .303 wOBA since the All-Star break. Therefore, my call on the Under remains)
The embattled Jordan Lyles and the surprising Sonny Gray take the hill for the Pirates and Reds on Monday at Great American Ballpark. Lyles has been thrashed in three of his four July starts. He’s coming off allowing a whopping eight runs on seven hits over just 1.2 innings against the Cardinals last Wednesday. He sports a 15.00 ERA and has allowed eight homers overall during the month while dropping three straight decisions.
However, Lyles’ track record against the Reds this season isn’t bad. He owns a 3.00 ERA and .188 BAA across nine innings over his pair of starts against them. And Lyles has actually been a much better pitcher on the road. He still sports an ugly 5.15 ERA when traveling. But his peripheral stats belie that number. Lyles has a .212 BAA, a respectable .314 wOBA and 4.07 xFIP and an elite 11.8 K/9 over 36.2 road frames.
On the other side, Gray has been a tough-luck loser a fair share of times this season. His 3.29 ERA and 1.13 WHIP are both the second-best figures of his career and his 3.35 xFIP helps legitimize the aforementioned impressive ERA. Gray has also been immune to blowups. He hasn’t allowed more than four runs in any start. And Gray will face a mostly cold-hitting team in the Pirates. Pittsburgh checked into Sunday’s action with a .294 wOBA and -8.3 wRAA against right-handed pitching since the All-Star break. That ineptitude helps offset some of the concern about a Reds bullpen that’s been somewhat suspect over the same period.
Despite Lyles’ recent struggles, I still like the Under here on a slightly elevated run total.
The Pick: Under 10 runs