Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for NFL Week 12. In this column, we’ll review some recent sports betting news in the Keystone State and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities as well.
This week brought the monthly rollout of the previous month’s sports betting numbers in Pennsylvania. Given that we’re in the very heart of football season, October figures gave a couple of operators and state officials plenty to smile about. We’ll delve into the report further before wrapping up with betting takes on the Steelers’ and Eagles’ Week 12 matchups.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
Keystone State one-ups itself
We knew the first full NFL season in legalized Pennsylvania sports betting history would be big. But each passing month is upping the ante. After a record-setting $195 million on handle in September, October came through with a hold-my-beer figure of $241 million in bets. Just as was the case in September, online sports betting was overwhelmingly responsible for the monster number. This time around, mobile sportsbooks accounted for 82 percent of the handle.
FanDuel Sportsbook ruled the roost again in the online segment. They compiled just under $114 million in online handle. To put their advantage over the rest of the field into context, consider Sugarhouse was a distant second with just over $30 million. However, FD’s perch atop the mountaintop is going to be facing some significant competition as soon as the current month of November. None other than their old rival DraftKings Sportsbook began unrestricted operations in the state Nov. 7 after three days of mandatory testing. As is the case in neighboring New Jersey, we should see DK making a significant push to the top of the online space in Pennsylvania as well before long.
On the retail end of things in October, Rivers Casino paced the field with just over $7.7 million in handle. Parx and Sugarhouse were also over the $7 million threshold. And Parx held the revenue crown for the month on the retail end — the Bensalem-based casino and sportsbook held just over $1 million of bets for the month. Total revenue for Pennsylvania for the month was just over $14.9 million on a total handle of the aforementioned $241 million.
November’s numbers will not only include DraftKings Sportsbook for the first time, it will also feature the debut of Unibet’s online sportsbook. The European bookmaker rolled out both an online sportsbook and casino Nov. 12.
This Week’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
NFL Week 12
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals — 1:00 p.m. ET
- DraftKings Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: -6.5 (-110)
- FOX Bet Point Spread/Odds: -6.5 (-118)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: -6.5 (-110)
- Rivers Casino Point Spread/Odds: -6.5 (-110)
The Steelers aren’t exactly themselves this season. Injuries have taken a significant toll on their offense. But, they’re still in exponentially better shape than their AFC North mates, the hapless Bengals. Cincy has already benched long-time starter Andy Dalton. They’re still in search of their first win after 10 games. The Bengals are also the league’s worst defense against the run (167.0 yards per game allowed). In turn, this is a Pittsburgh team that currently prefers to play mostly conservative offense and lean heavily on its defense. The duo of Jaylen Samuels and Trey Edmunds are more than capable of capitalizing on those weakness even if James Conner (shoulder) is out. Then, JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion/knee) and Diontae Johnson (concussion) are also questionable. Johnson appears to have a very good chance of being cleared. Smith-Schuster’s outlook is much murkier as of Friday morning.
The Bengals are faced with the very scary proposition of trying to fend off the Steelers’ ultra-aggressive pass rush with their injury-hampered and talent-starved offensive line. Moreover, they’ll be trying to move the ball downfield with a rookie quarterback against that attacking unit. Ryan Finley is doing his best with the hand he’s been dealt so far. He’s had two unenviable matchups to start his NFL career in the form of the Ravens and the Raiders. Finley is completing just 47.5 percent of his passes and averaging 4.6 yards per attempt. He doesn’t exactly inspire confidence coming into this game.
Pittsburgh is just 1-3 straight up on the road this season. However, the first two defeats came at the hands of the most suffocating defenses in the league in the Patriots and 49ers. The Steelers come into Cincy as the more rested team after having played Thursday night in Week 11. Even if Smith-Schuster misses, I’m leaning toward them having enough of a matchup advantage here to separate sufficiently for a cover.
The Lean: Steelers -6.5, Steelers moneyline
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles — 1:00 p.m. ET
- DraftKings Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: -1.5 (-110)
- FOX Bet Point Spread/Odds: -1.5 (-110)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: -1.5 (-115)
- Rivers Casino Point Spread/Odds: -1.5 (-110)
The Seahawks have proven capable of beating almost anyone put in front of them. Their two losses were understandable — a six-point defeat at the hands of the Saints and a two-touchdown loss to the red-hot Ravens. They’re coming off toppling the previously unbeaten 49ers on their home field prior to their bye week. That week off naturally gives them the rest advantage in this spot. The extra prep time should also have facilitated the nearly full integration of Josh Gordon into Seattle’s offensive system after he debuted in the win over San Francisco. Seattle will come into the game with injury concerns, however. Tyler Lockett is going to likely be listed as questionable with a shin injury, but he did practice in limited fashion Wednesday and Thursday. Offensive linemen Duane Brown (knee) and Mike Iupati (foot) are also a bit banged up but are likely to play.
Meanwhile, an underwhelming season for the Eagles continued in Week 11 against the defending champion Patriots in Week 11. Philadelphia did give a solid accounting of itself in the 17-10 loss. However, their 5-5 mark falls considerably short of what would have been expected prior to the season. Carson Wentz has unexpectedly struggled to keep the offense productive at a consistent clip. He’s thrown for 214 yards or fewer in half of his games, including a quartet of sub-200-yard efforts. He could be dealing with a notably short-handed receiving corps again in Week 12. Alshon Jeffery is likely to be listed as questionable with the ankle injury that already cost him Week 11. Nelson Agholor looks to be heading toward the same designation due to a knee injury. And, running back Jordan Howard is also iffy to play due to his shoulder stinger.
Given Seattle’s rest advantage, their track record on the road, and the depleted nature of the Eagles’ offense, I’m going with a Seahawks upset in this spot.
The Pick: Seahawks +1.5, Seahawks moneyline