Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for NFL Week 13. 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 holiday week started with the announcement of a major marketing/sponsorship agreement between the Philadelphia 76ers and one of the newest online sports betting operators in Pennsylvania. We’ll delve into the report further to start things off this week before wrapping up with betting takes on critical Steelers’ and Eagles’ Week 13 matchups.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
76ers and FoxBet strike a deal
As legalized sports betting continues to propagate across the country over the next several years, we’ll naturally be flooded with countless reports of new state-of-the-art sportsbooks opening for business. However, besides the sports betting handle that is partially held as revenue by these operators, there’s another important sports-betting-based business component that is also becoming more commonplace — sponsorship/marketing agreements with professional sports teams.
Pennsylvania saw one such pact come to fruition earlier this week with the consummation of a deal between the Philadelphia 76ers and FoxBet/The Stars Group. The deal, announced Monday morning, is the first of its kind between an NBA team and a mobile sports betting brand. FoxBet is already an authorized gaming operator of the NBA. As per the official press release touting the move, FoxBet will leverage “the 76ers traditional, digital and social media assets”, including custom home game promotions and both courtside and LED signage, to showcase and build awareness of its sportsbook brand.
The agreement also enables FoxBet to offer a 76ers-related perk to its customers — near-live game replays on 76ers Twitter. Moreover, effective immediately, FoxBet becomes the official Presenting Partner of the 76ers radio game broadcast on 97.5 The Fanatic (WPEN). They’ll also sponsor the ‘hype video’ that’s played on the scoreboard at Wells Fargo Arena before the start of the fourth quarter of every Sixers home game.
There was a rocky and tense relationship between professional sports leagues and legalized sports betting during the latter’s infancy in spring/summer 2018. Since then, the likes of the NBA have found a workable alternative to the integrity fees they initially pushed state legislatures to include in their sports betting bills — team-level agreements such as the FoxBet-76ers pact, along with other private deals involving the use of official statistical data.
This Week’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
NFL Week 13
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns — 1:00 p.m. ET
- DraftKings Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: +2 (-110)
- FOX Bet Point Spread/Odds: +2.5 (-110)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: +1.5 (-105)
- Rivers Casino Point Spread/Odds: -2 (-110)
The Steelers roll out their third starting quarterback of the season Sunday. Rookie Devlin Hodges, who provided a spark when he was called into action for an ineffective Mason Rudolph against the Bengals in Week 12, will get his first NFL start versus the Browns. However, he’ll be hamstrung by two key skill-position absences on offense. James Conner (shoulder) is doubtful for Sunday. JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) is already ruled out. Then, one of the most pivotal components for a young quarterback’s success — a sustained pocket up the middle — could be significantly compromised. Center Maurkice Pouncey will be out due to the suspension stemming from his role in the ugly brawl that erupted the last time these two teams played.
Meanwhile, the Browns are looking to notch their fourth consecutive win. That would qualify as a season high. Baker Mayfield finally seems to have settled in after a season of turmoil. He has only turnover — an interception against the Dolphins in Week 12 — over his last four games. Kareem Hunt is increasingly being integrated into the offense. The threat that both he and Nick Chubb present to opposing defenses makes them one of the most dangerous 1-2 running back punches in the league. Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry are equally impressive in the passing attack. That’s true even as Beckham has yet to provide the eye-popping numbers he’s made the norm in the past.
Pittsburgh’s home-field advantage and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the ending of the Week 11 contest between the two teams should keep this game interesting throughout. The ultra-aggressive Steelers defense could certainly also make life difficult for Mayfield. The second-year quarterback can still be goaded into mistakes if he’s consistently pressured. However, I’m leaning toward Cleveland doing enough to confound Hodges and his short-handed offense to enable the road victory.
The Lean: Browns -2, Browns moneyline
Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins — 1:00 p.m. ET
- DraftKings Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: -10 (-106)
- FOX Bet Point Spread/Odds: -10 (-110)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: -9.5 (-115)
- Rivers Casino Point Spread/Odds: -10 (-106)
The Eagles get a break from harsh winter climates with a trip to South Florida to kick off December. Yet this is far from a leisure holiday-season jaunt. Philly is fighting for its playoff life after dropping four of its last six games, including two straight. The Eagles have endured one of the tougher schedules in the NFL during that time. Philly has faced the Vikings, Cowboys and Bills on the road. The sample also includes home dates with the Bears, Patriots and Seahawks. In that sense, Miami does shape up as a bit of a potential break.
The Dolphins have certainly improved leaps and bounds since dropping a Week 1 decision to the Baltimore Ravens by a 59-10 score. Ryan Fitzpatrick has found his stride in Miami’s offense and is helping keep the ‘Fins competitive on the majority of weeks. He’s particularly found a rapport with DeVante Parker. The 2015-first-round pick has become Fitzpatrick’s favorite deep target in the absence of Preston Williams (knee). However, the Dolphins’ offense continues to suffer from a pretty serious imbalance. Miami’s ground attack is nearly non-existent. Brian Flores’ crew is averaging an NFL-low 63.2 rushing yards per game.
The inability to keep defenses honest bodes particularly badly for the Dolphins’ chances of keeping things under control for all four quarters versus the Eagles. Philadelphia is already allowing the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game (94.0). Then, Philly can get after the quarterback under normal circumstances. Their ability to penetrate should only be enhanced knowing they don’t really have to worry about slowing down the run against Miami. Philadelphia has racked up 31 sacks through 11 games. In turn, Miami has allowed an NFL-high 46 quarterback takedowns.
The Eagles should have their pick here on how to attack. They’ll have both Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee) back for this game. Therefore, I see the Dolphins ultimately succumbing by more than 10 points after hanging tough for the earlier part of this interconference matchup.
The Pick: Eagles -10, Eagles moneyline