Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for NFL Week 6. In this column, we’ll review some recent sports betting news in the Keystone State and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities as well.
As we initially reported last week, the Meadows Casino is rolling out its sportsbook this week for Pennsylvania sports bettors. We’ll look at the details of their Thursday grand opening and then offer betting takes on the big Week 6 games for both the Eagles and Steelers.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
Meadows Casino celebrates its big day Thursday
As reported last week in this space, Washington, PA-based Meadows Casino is set to celebrate an official grand opening Thursday, Oct. 10. As is usually the case with such events, there will be some local sports celebrities of yesteryear on hand. In Meadows’ case, the luminaries include representatives of Pittsburgh’s three major sports — football, hockey and baseball. Mel Blount and Rocky Bleier will represent the iconic Steelers of the 1970s; John Candelaria will be on hand to evoke memories of the Pirates’ “We Are Family” days of the same decade; and Pierre Larouche and Bryan Trottier will be the resident former Penguins in attendance.
Meadows formally began the application process July 3. Their Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) officially approved the application Wednesday morning. That was the second day of the sportsbook’s mandatory testing period. The approval officially triggers a $10 million license fee for Meadows, which is the process of meeting that obligation. The Meadows becomes the 12th retail sportsbook in the Keystone State. As reported last week, DraftKings Sportsbook will become an online skin of Meadows. However, they’ll have to wait a few weeks to gain their approval, with the PGCB expected to provide their blessing during their Oct. 30 meeting.
This Week’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
NFL Week 6
Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings — 1:00 p.m. ET
- SugarHouse Point Spread Odds: +3 (-109)
- FOX Bet Point Spread Odds: +3 (+100)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Point Spread Odds: +3 (+100)
- Rivers Casino Point Spread Odds: +3 (-109)
The Eagles essentially had an unofficial bye week in Week 5 against a Jets team that was forced to trot out Luke Falk at quarterback. Philadelphia had an opportunity to flex its muscles a bit against an inferior opponent. It finally hit on all cylinders in a way Philly fans had been waiting for since the start of the season. What will that 31-6 win ultimately tell us about the Eagles in the long run? It likely doesn’t reveal much, given the caliber of competition, but the Week 6 matchup is a different story.
The Vikings caught a break too against a Saquon Barkley-less Giants team in Week 5 and took care of business on the road. They, too, enjoyed a much-needed “get right” performance. Most important for Minnesota was the momentary repair of their previously broken passing game, including the soothing over of any tensions between Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen. Even the previously grousing Stefon Diggs seemed placated a bit after the win despite just a modest three-catch performance.
The two teams with high expectations now come together at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. An unleashed Carson Wentz might be key in this matchup for Philly. The fourth-year signal-caller has thrown for under 200 yards in each of the last two games. That’s not likely to cut it versus Minnesota on the road. In the past, speed receivers have given the Vikings normally stout secondary trouble. Therefore, a return to action by DeSean Jackson (abdomen) in this game would have been a potential boon for the success of the Eagles’ air attack. However, Jackson is unlikely to play, putting the inconsistent Nelson Agholor into the spotlight as a potential downfield threat.
Philadelphia will need a workman-line effort from their two-headed backfield of Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders here to help keep an aggressive Vikings pass rush honest. Minnesota already has 15 sacks on the campaign. Wentz will also look to improve his accuracy — he’s completed under 60.0 percent of his passes in each of the last four games after connecting at a 71.8 percent clip in Week 1 versus the Redskins. Of course, the Vikes aren’t exactly the team to try and up passer efficiency against. They’re yielding the sixth-fewest passing yards per game (204.2).
On the other side, Cousins and company will have a much easier matchup. That could well prove to be the key to a win and cover here for the Vikings. The Eagles continue to struggle with injuries in the secondary and are surrendering a robust 271.2 passing yards per contest. They won’t have the luxury of focusing too much on the pass, either, not with the elite Dalvin Cook taking handoffs. Cook is averaging an absurd 5.9 yards per carry and has eclipsed the century mark on the ground in four of five games. Ultimately, I see the Vikes will bring it on both sides of the ball and do enough for a cover here.
The Pick: Vikings -3
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Charger — 8:20 p.m. ET
- SugarHouse Total Points Odds: +6.5 (-107)
- FOX Bet Total Points Odds: +6.5 points (-110)
- FanDuel Total Points Odds: +7 (-130)
- Rivers Casino Total Points Odds: +6.5 (-107)
The Chargers technically come into this contest with a better record than the Steelers. However, their 2-3 mark is just a tick better than Pittsburgh’s 1-4. Then there’s the matter of how Los Angeles has notched its two victories. They just managed to squeak by the Colts in the opener, when Indy was still trying to adjust to life without Andrew Luck. L.A. then notched a fairly uninspired victory against a highly inept Dolphins team that can’t even manage to garner home favorite status against the equally winless Redskins this coming Sunday. The Bolts have dropped games to the Lions, Texans and Broncos in their other three contests, two on their home field of Dignity Health Sports Park.
Then, three of the Steelers’ four losses have come by a combined nine points. The first, against the Seahawks in Week 2, came in a contest during which they lost both Ben Roethlisberger and James Conner to injury. The next was a slim four-point defeat at the hands of the 49ers on the road. That could have had a very different outcome had Conner not fumbled deep in Pittsburgh territory late in the fourth quarter. And last week, the Black and Gold endured the in-game loss of Mason Rudolph and still saw rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges nearly help them pull off a win over the Ravens. Another fumble, this time by JuJu Smith-Schuster, helped do them in during overtime.
The Steelers do have an uphill battle in terms of injuries. Rudolph was listed as a limited practice participant Wednesday but could be a long shot to clear concussion protocol by Sunday evening. James Washington (shoulder) and Jaylen Samuels (knee) will both miss the contest. Vance McDonald (shoulder) also sports a questionable tag after Wednesday’s session. However, it’s worth noting Hodges looked nothing like a rookie out of Samford playing his first professional game when facing the Ravens in Week 5. It bears noting the organization opted to trade Joshua Dobbs and not Hodges earlier this season and that a veteran quarterback hasn’t been signed despite the Roethlisberger and Rudolph injuries.
The Steelers’ defense could prove to be a real wild card in this game. Pittsburgh has been getting to the quarterback consistently (19 sacks, third most) and comes into Week 6 tied with the Patriots for the league lead with 12 turnovers created. Meanwhile, Rivers has already taken 11 sacks and isn’t exactly known for his mobility. If Hodges does play, the Pittsburgh defense could certainly help turn field position in his favor once or twice while also helping limit the Chargers’ scoring overall.
It will be a struggle once again for the Steelers, but even if Hodges has to replace Rudolph, I’m leaning toward the Black and Gold sliding just under the seven-point number.
The Pick: Steelers +7