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Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for the week of Aug. 26-30. In this column, we’ll set the stage for Keystone State sports bettors’ week ahead and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities.

It’s still a bit of the calm before the storm for Pennsylvania sportsbooks as August begins to wind down, but one prominent weekend announcement did snap the late-summer doldrums with a bang. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement had a seismic impact on Indy’s betting outlook for the upcoming campaign. We’ll dig deeper into some futures as the Jacoby Brissett era begins. We’ll also revisit Super Bowl futures for the Eagles and Steelers now that the last “meaningful” preseason game is done.

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Andrew Luck retirement a betting bombshell just ahead of NFL season

Nothing upsets the betting apple cart ahead of an NFL season like a suddenly retired superstar. Most of the time, such a development is the byproduct of an unfortunate training camp or preseason injury. But a player of Andrew Luck’s popularity and importance calling it quits just two weeks from Week 1 is practically unprecedented. The fact that Jacoby Brissett will now man the controls of the Colts’ offense had a seismic effect on all Indy-related betting at Pennsylvania sportsbooks.

At PlaySugarHouse and Rivers, the Colts are now 7.5-point underdogs versus the Chargers in their Week 1 road matchup. They’re exactly a touchdown dog at FanDuel Sportsbook. Meanwhile, you can nab a Colts Super Bowl winner prop at a price of +5000 at both PlaySugarHouse and Rivers. They’re available at an even better +6000 at FD. Indy is also now +2500 (SH, Rivers) and +3200 (FD) to win the AFC crown and +500 (FD) to win the AFC South. At FD, the over/under on their season win total has been downgraded to seven victories. And if you’re in the mood for still taking a flier on a T.Y. Hilton prop, you’ll naturally find those at an enticing price. Hilton is now +3500 (SH, Rivers) for most receptions during the regular season and +1200 for most receiving yards at FD.

Naturally, if Brissett demonstrates he’s capable of solid play early, all of those numbers will change. Brissett was serviceable in the other season he was unexpectedly thrust into action due to a Luck absence—the 2017 campaign. The 26-year-old generated a 13:7 TD:INT while throwing for 3,098 yards over 16 games. He then had a full season to observe Luck in 2018 and further refine his skills in the film room. Consequently, Brissett could demonstrate improvement and make the Colts one of the surprises of the AFC.

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NFL Preseason

Eagles Super Bowl Winner Futures

  • SugarHouse Casino Moneyline Odds: +1300
  • FanDuel Sportsbook Moneyline Odds: +1400
  • Rivers Casino Moneyline Odds: +1300

The Eagles haven’t let QB Carson Wentz take any snaps this preseason, leaving slight doubt as to his readiness for the regular season. However, Wentz was reportedly impressive in training camp and comes into the season with a full arsenal of healthy weapons. A fully stocked running back shelf is helmed by Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders.

The pass-catching corps is equally impressive with Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, and Zach Ertz leading the way. There’s plenty of depth as well. Rookie receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside‘s 12-147 line in the preseason—including a 9-104 tally against the Ravens—serves as prime evidence of that.

A first-team defense that’s done nothing to tarnish its image this preseason will be another factor pivotal to Philly’s success. At this point, their price for the SB-winning prop is behind those of only the Patriots, Chiefs, Rams, and Saints. The Eagles arguably have as much player-for-player talent as any of those squads and sport a price worth considering. Additionally, when it comes to an SB-winning prop, Luck’s retirement also eliminates another potential obstacle for a Philly championship.

Steelers Super Bowl Winner Futures 

  • SugarHouse Casino Moneyline Odds: +1800
  • FanDuel Sportsbook Moneyline Odds: +1900
  • Rivers Casino Moneyline Odds: +1800

Conventional wisdom may have the Steelers slipping this coming season due to the losses of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown in free agency. Naturally, Bell’s absence was already felt all of last season. Yet Pittsburgh’s prudent drafting paid dividends when James Conner did an excellent job filling in for Bell. He’s also been in impressive form during the preseason. Plus, the draft brought some depth in the form of fourth-round pick Benny Snell. Last year’s fifth-round pick Jaylen Samuels, who provided a glimpse of his upside by rippling off 142 rushing yards versus the Patriots in Week 15 of last season, is also back to serve as an important complementary piece and keep Conner fresh for 16 games.

Meanwhile, JuJu Smith-Schuster had one heck of an “apprenticeship” season in 2018. He prepped for his new role as No. 1 receiver by racking up a 111-1,426-7 line. Then, this summer has seen second-year wideout James Washington take a big step forward. He’ll likely open the season as the No. 3 receiver behind veteran No. 2 Donte Moncrief, but he could well surpass the latter before long. The defense also remains as feisty as ever. They enter another season in coordinator Keith Butler’s aggressive scheme. First-round pick Devin Bush looks like an immediate contributor at one of the inside linebacker spots, a position integral to the success of Butler’s 3-4.

The defending champion Patriots naturally loom as the biggest roadblock to a Steelers championship. The high-powered Chiefs aren’t far behind them. Pittsburgh will also have plenty to contend with in its own division in the form of the Ravens and Browns. The price they sport reflects the treachery of the journey. However, a championship-caliber quarterback, talented running game, and stingy defense always give a team a fighting chance at going all the way if good health prevails. Again, Luck’s decision also makes the Colts a notably less intimidating AFC foe.

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