Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for Thursday, Aug. 1. In this column, we’ll set the stage for Keystone State sports bettors’ day ahead and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities.
In the past, we’ve touched on DraftKings Sportsbook‘s efforts to eventually enter the Pennsylvania online sports betting landscape. Having just seen primary daily fantasy sports rival and fellow sports betting (relative) newcomer FanDuel enter the Keystone State online market last week, DK now has a way in as well thanks to the far-reaching Penn National deal announced late Wednesday. We’ll elaborate on that, plus offer betting takes on the Denver Broncos-Atlanta Falcons game that kicks off the NFL preseason Thursday night and Thursday afternoon’s Giants-Phillies series finale.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
Mammoth Penn National deal includes pathway for DraftKings Sportsbook
The regulated sports betting industry got quite the late-afternoon jolt Wednesday. Penn National Gaming doled out the shock waves. A detailed press release offered up all the nuts and bolts of a multi-layered agreement between Penn and no fewer than four new big-name gaming industry partners: DraftKings, PointsBet, theScore, and The Stars Group. Gaming platform provider Kambi Group was also a part of Wednesday’s news. Kambi will now power all the sportsbooks across Penn National’s portfolio.
The aspect with the most direct influence on the Pennsylvania scene involves DraftKings Sportsbook. As previously reported, the operator appeared to be preparing for an eventual entry into the state. However, until Wednesday, the question was what existing licensee would partner with the company to provide the access. The newly minted partnership—which gives DK Sportsbook a path to five new states overall—seems to marry Penn’s Hollywood Casino property in Grantville to DK in terms of the online skin the latter will utilize in the Keystone State. Previously, it was William Hill that counted Hollywood as its sole presence in the state.
Naturally, the consummation of the deal doesn’t equate to an immediate presence for DK in Pennsylvania. But you can safely assume there will be urgency with NFL season right around the corner. For the moment, PlayPennsylvania‘s Jessica Welman reports that an appearance for Hollywood Casino and DK Sportsbook in front of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is the next item on the docket. That step will be necessary because the insertion of DK into Hollywood’s sports betting plans represents a change from what the casino had previously laid out to the PGCB. The PGCB’s next meeting date is Wednesday, Aug. 14.
Thursday’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
Hall of Fame Game- Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons, 8 p.m. EDT
- SugarHouse Casino Total Points Odds: Over 34 (-110)/ Under 34 (-110)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Total Points Odds: Over 34 (-110)/ Under 34 (-110)
- Rivers Casino Total Points Odds: Over 34 (-110)/ Under 34 (-110)
NFL preseason is by nature difficult to prognosticate. When you’re talking the Hall of Fame Game, it’s even more of a puzzle. Both teams that participate in the league’s annual preseason kickoff play a total of five exhibition games overall. That means that neither is likely to use first-team players for more than a series if that. For the purposes of this game, that should mean plenty of playing time for Broncos second-round pick Drew Lock at quarterback in particular. On the Atlanta end, veteran Matt Schaub might log some reps or perhaps even open the contest. However, third-stringer Kurt Benkert should see the lion’s share of snaps.
Beyond that, it will be difficult to predict the workload for the skill positions on either club. One thing we do feel pretty secure in declaring is that Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Austin Hooper will see little to no time at all for the Falcons. Ditto for Joe Flacco, Phillip Lindsay, Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton for the Broncos.
Let’s face it. This is the least informed bettors will be coming into a single NFL game all year. But hey, it’s a wagerable NFL event. That alone is reason to give it consideration. The offenses are likely to be out of sync for the most part. I see defense carrying the night for the most part and the Under hitting despite the low total.
The Pick: Under 34.0 points
Major League Baseball
San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies, 1:05 p.m. EDT
- SugarHouse Casino Run Total Odds: o10 (+100)/ u10 (-115)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Run Total Odds: o10 (-110)/ u10 (-110)
- Rivers Casino Run Total Odds: o10 (+100)/ u10 (-115)
The Giants and Phillies close out a four-game series with some matinee action Thursday. As a “getaway day” for San Francisco, the game may see many regulars get the day off. The pitching matchup is an interesting one. Dereck Rodriguez takes the hill for the visitors at Citizens Bank Park. Philadelphia counters with Jake Arrieta. Rodriguez just returned to the starting rotation after spending all of June as a reliever. Then, Arrieta has been in relatively shaky form recently. He’s allowed at least four earned runs in four of his last six starts.
Each of the two has been better in the home/road split that applies to them Thursday. Arrieta has a .259 BAA over 60 home innings. That’s a marked improvement over the .298 average he’s yielded on the road. Then, the veteran right-hander has only allowed seven home runs at CBP, compared to 12 on the road in only 3.2 additional innings. He’s also had solid success versus current San Francisco bats over the years. Arrieta has held current Giants to a collective .239/.298/.349 line across 109 career at-bats.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez boasts a much better ERA on the road (4.32) than at home (5.79). He also sports a 4-1 mark outside of AT&T Park, compared to an 0-4 tally there. And Rodriguez’s BAA when traveling (.242) is a notable upgrade over his figure at home (.274). Another two stark discrepancies can be found in Rodriguez’s home/road splits for WHIP and strand rate. The former improves from 1.57 to 1.23 on the road, while the latter sees a boost from 53.3 percent all the way to 74.4 percent.
Given the two pitchers going have been relatively immune to blowups and that some regulars could get a day off on each squad, I’m going with the Under in this scenario.
The Pick: Under 10