Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for NFL Week 14. In this column, we’ll review some recent sports betting news in the Keystone State and spotlight some potentially advantageous betting opportunities as well.
Another week, another new deal between a Pennsylvania professional sports team and a gaming operator. We’ll delve into a new partnership between Caesars Entertainment and the Philadelphia Eagles before wrapping up with betting takes on critical Steelers’ and Eagles’ Week 14 matchups.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
Gambling and Pennsylvania sports teams continue to intertwine
It seems every month at minimum brings news of yet another new deal between a casino and/or sports betting operator and professional sports team these days. Just last week, we reported on a new marketing pact between FoxBet and the Philadelphia 76ers. That agreement is the first of its kind for an NBA team. But that’s not the only Pennsylvania professional team getting into business with a major name in the gaming world prior to the close of the year and decade.
The beginning of this week brought the news that Caesars Entertainment and the Philadelphia Eagles put pen to paper on a marketing deal of their own. Similar to FoxBet’s aforementioned arrangement with the Sixers, the Caesars-Eagles deal includes in-stadium signage and branding for Caesars and its Harrah’s property in Pennsylvania inside the team’s home stadium, Lincoln Financial Field. Meanwhile, some of the franchise greats that evoke memories of much better days than the team’s current 5-7 existence will make special appearances at Harrah’s on occasion.
And that’s not the only way the Eagles will get exposure out of the deal. Harrah’s patrons will be receiving perks such as a commemorative Eagles Caesars Rewards card, co-branded apparel and a variety of gift items. Plus, in a development that’s somewhat symbolic of how entangled professional sports leagues/teams and gambling compared to even 18 months ago, there will be Eagles-branded table games at the casino.
Caesars Entertainment is a logical candidate for team-level agreements such as these. The company already has a league-level, multi-year sponsorship deal in place with the NFL.
This Week’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
NFL Week 14
Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals — 4:25 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’ defense deserves a substantial amount of credit for the lemonade coach Mike Tomlin has managed to make out of the abundance of lemons he’s been handed by the football gods this season. Pittsburgh’s impressive unit faces a rather unique challenge in Week 14, however. Their conditioning will be put to the test against the fast-paced Air Raid offense and the fastest, most elusive open-field quarterback this side of Lamar Jackson — Kyler Murray.
Coordinator Keith Butler at least has nearly a full season’s worth of film on the Cardinals to show his charges. Lately, teams have been able to put some good material on tape with respect to neutralizing Murray and his teammates. Pittsburgh’s biggest advantage on that side of the ball should come from their ability to disrupt the pocket for the 2019 first overall pick. The Steelers check in with the third-most sacks (46). Conversely, Arizona has allowed Murray to be taken down 41 times.
On offense, rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges will be looking to capitalize on a Cardinals secondary that’s been the worst in the league most of the season. Arizona comes in allowing the most passing yards per game (307.5). That includes 315.7 yards per home contest. Hodges will once again be without Ju Ju Smith-Schuster (knee) for Sunday’s game. However, he demonstrated plenty of chemistry with James Washington (4-111-1) in a Week 13 win over the Browns. He also has speedy rookie Diontae Johnson at his disposal. Meanwhile, although Vance McDonald has been quiet most of the season, the athletic tight end has plenty of downfield speed. That could play extremely well versus a Cardinals defense that’s allowed a 77-953-13 line to tight ends this season.
The running game will once again be down James Conner (shoulder). Benny Snell has proven capable of serving as the lead back over the last two games with Conner out of the picture. The rookie back has 37 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown over that span. Jaylen Samuels serves as a fine complement and pass-catching option. The matchup versus the Cardinals on the ground isn’t prohibitive, either. Arizona is surrendering 123.3 rushing yards per home contest. That vulnerability should help Pittsburgh’s offense operate with balance.
Ultimately, given the Cardinals’ defensive deficiencies and the Steelers’ prowess on that side of the ball, I lean towards Pittsburgh sliding under the number, at minimum.
The Lean: Steelers +2.5
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants — Monday night, 12/9, 8:15pm ET
- DraftKings Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: -9 (-115)
- FOX Bet Point Spread/Odds: -8.5 (-110)
- FanDuel Sportsbook Point Spread/Odds: -9.5 (-105)
- Rivers Casino Point Spread/Odds: -9 (-115)
The Eagles have seemingly lost their way at precisely the worst time of season. Yet the Dallas Cowboys continue to dangle them a lifeline by being just as mediocre. With a win against New York on Monday night, Philly will draw even with Dallas at 6-7 and still have one more game against their arch rivals remaining. Philly will be facing a Giants team that’s lost eight straight game and limps into this road matchup with a 2-10 mark overall. However, it will almost certainly be Eli Manning and not Daniel Jones (ankle) under center for the G-Men. Golden Tate (concussion) and Evan Engram (foot) project to return to the lineup from injury as well.
The Eagles will look to put the significant issues they experienced in the secondary against the Dolphins in Week 13 behind them. Philadelphia surrendered an unsightly 365 yards and three touchdowns to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The good news for Doug Pederson’s team is that it’s been markedly better against the pass at home. The Eagles are allowing just 188.7 passing yards per contest at Lincoln Financial Field. Coupled with their stalwart work on the ground (81.8 rushing yards per game allowed at the Linc), Philadelphia would seem to be in pretty solid shape overall. Yet a refreshed Manning that’s coming off the first true multi-game benching of his career could be bit of a wild card. That could especially be true with what should be a full arsenal of offensive weapons.
Philadelphia is in line to enjoy some success against a second straight porous secondary. No team has allowed more passing yards per road game than the Giants. Big Blue yields 315.7 passing yards per home tilt. Their mediocre pass rush (26 sacks on the season) certainly hasn’t helped their cause. Carson Wentz could be down Nelson Agholor again due to his knee problems after getting the receiver back last week. But, top wideout Alshon Jeffery is healthy. So are Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and versatile rookie running back Miles Sanders. That gives Wentz plenty of ammunition with which to attack New York’s weaknesses in the secondary.
Ultimately, I see the Eagles’ talent and need for a victory to be too much for the Giants to overcome. But, with such a large spread, I’m leaning toward the Giants coming in under the big number with Manning leading a solid offensive effort.
The Lean: Giants +9.5