Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for Wednesday, July 31. In this column, we’ll set the stage for Keystone State sports bettors’ day ahead and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities.
Just yesterday, we touched on some of the built-in technical and logistical advantages FanDuel Sportsbook has as it starts its run as an online operator in Pennsylvania. Today, we’ll spotlight a local NFL legend who represents a human asset to the company. Then, we’ll stay with football and take our first look at the Week 1 betting line for the Redskins-Eagles battle. Finally, we’ll offer a betting take on Wednesday night’s Giants-Phillies showdown.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
Brian Westbrook is a powerful brand ambassador for FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel Sportsbook arrived in the Pennsylvania online sports betting landscape last week with plenty of anticipation and expectation. The operator’s rapid rise to the top of the mountain in New Jersey has set the bar high. Yesterday, we ran down a list of prominent advantages FD enjoys right from the start: exclusive (for now) full iOS compatibility in the state, shared wallet functionality in Pennsylvania for its New Jersey customers, and a robust array of deposit/withdrawal options that includes PayPal. But FD also has quite the celebrity spokesperson in the state: former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook.
Westbrook is an official FanDuel brand ambassador. After generating the second-most rushing yards (5,995) in franchise history, racking up 426 receptions for 3,790 yards and compiling 66 touchdowns, Westbrook’s spot in Philadelphia sports lore is more than secure. His involvement with the FD brand certainly carries weight in the area. It also underscores a growing trend: the increasingly open relationship between retired athletes and sports betting.
In a recent interview with PlayPennsylvania, Westbrook openly spoke about wagering on local favorites, like Villanova’s college hoops team and his old Eagles squad. Westbrook even conceded to a struggle with which many bettors can identify: betting with his “heart instead of his head.” He also lauded Pennsylvania’s decision to legalize sports betting and praised the ease of placing wagers on FD Sportsbook’s app.
Westbrook was naturally “on the clock” in terms of promoting FD during the conversation. But his working relationship with the daily fantasy sports/sports betting giant isn’t his only tie to real-money-based sports gaming. In a testament to the potential those who were once the subject of bets see in the growing, regulated industry, Westbrook is also a member of SeventySix Capital Athlete Venture Group. The company also counts former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard among its staff. Its purpose is investing in startup ventures in sports tech, esports, and, you guessed it … sports betting.
Wednesday’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
First Look at NFL Week 1: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
- SugarHouse Casino Total Points Odds: Over 46.5 (-110)/ Under 46.5 (-110)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Total Points Odds: Over 46 (-110)/ Under 46 (-110)
- Rivers Casino Total Points Odds: Over 46 (-110)/ Under 46 (-110)
It’s still early in training camp, but the excitement around the Philadelphia Eagles is palpable. That’s with good reason. First and foremost, quarterback Carson Wentz is healthy. The importance of that one development can’t be overstated. Wentz has seen his last two seasons cut short by injury. The promising signal-caller was on pace for career-best numbers in both. On paper, Philly appears to have upgraded what already was an impressive playoff squad last year. Wentz’s return to full health is certainly one monumental “addition.” The team also shopped smartly in the offseason.
Former Bear Jordan Howard gives them a dependable and talented piece to lead their backfield. He replaces the injury-prone Jay Ajayi, who suited up for only four games last season before suffering a torn ACL. Selecting Miles Sanders in the second round back in April was another prudent move. Sanders looks impressive early in camp. His presence helps slot the likes of Corey Clement and Darren Sproles into their more appropriate roles of specialty/pass-catching backs.
The return of DeSean Jackson to the franchise that drafted him could certainly prove to be another pivotal part of a championship run. Incumbents such as Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, and Dallas Goedert then make the Eagles offense look unstoppable. On the other side of the ball, a defense that allowed a stingy 21.8 points and 96.9 rush yards per game in 2018 returns the majority of its players.
The Washington Redskins are likely facing a steep hill in the opener if Philly is at full health. The Eagles’ division rivals apparently intend to go into the regular season sporting a bottom-tier offense. First-round pick Dwayne Haskins certainly has plenty of promise under center. However, it remains to be seen if the rookie can secure a starting job to open the season. The alternatives, Case Keenum and Colt McCoy, don’t exactly inspire confidence.
The remainder of Washington’s offensive arsenal includes a 34-year-old Adrian Peterson, a “redshirt rookie” looking to rebound from a torn ACL in Derrius Guice, and a receiver corps that seems loaded with No. 3 options like Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson, and Trey Quinn. That said, Washington should trot out a solid defense again this season. That unit finished about middle of the pack in several categories last season and added safety Landon Collins this offseason.
At this juncture, the recipe for the Under hitting is there. The Eagles have an offense that will put up plenty of points. Yet Washington’s solid defense could slow them down to an extent. Then, the Redskins don’t seem capable of mustering more than 10-14 points with their current offensive unit against a talented Eagles defense.
By the Numbers: The Under was 5-3 (62.5 percent) in the Redskins’ away games last season. Then, the Under was 6-2 (75.0 percent) in the Eagles’ home games.
The Pick: Under 46.5 points
Major League Baseball
San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 p.m. EDT
- SugarHouse Casino Moneyline Odds: Giants (+118)/ Phillies (-134)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Moneyline Odds: Giants (+116)/ Phillies (-132)
- Rivers Casino Moneyline Odds: Giants (+118)/ Phillies (-132)
A couple of solid veteran arms in Jeff Samardzija and Vince Velasquez are on the hill at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s third installment of a four-game set between the Giants and Phillies. Both pitchers have uninspiring records. But Samardzija has enjoyed the better season overall.
The veteran right-hander offsets his mediocre 7-8 record with a 3.95 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and a 102:32 K:BB. He also sports a modest .238 BAA and has allowed a .310 wOBA across 62.1 road frames. He also owns a markedly better strand rate when traveling (77.3 percent) than at home (68.7 percent). He’ll run into a Phillies team that hasn’t exactly been intimidating at home against right-handers in recent times. Philly sports a mediocre .298 wOBA and bloated 24.7 percent strikeout rate at home versus righties over the last month. In turn, Samardzija has been particularly effective on the road recently. He’s delivered two road wins and three straight quality road starts in July. One of those impressively unfolded at Coors Field.
Velasquez has been a bit more hittable overall, as his 4.46 ERA and 1.37 WHIP attest. The hard-throwing right-hander does have plenty of swing-and-miss upside. However, he faces a tough challenge in that regard Wednesday. The Giants have just a 19.0 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitching on the road over the last month. Plus, they have a Majors-high .311 average and .377 wOBA versus right-handed pitching on the road during that same span (400 plate appearances).
With an attractive price on San Fran and Samardzija pitching so well away from home lately, I lean toward the Giants in this spot.
The Pick: Giants moneyline