Welcome to the Pennsylvania Sports Betting Brief for the week of Feb. 24. In this column, we’ll review some recent sports betting news in the Keystone State. With Pennsylvania‘s January sports betting numbers having been released this past week, we’ll take a look at whether the state was able to continue its recent hot streak. Then, with the NBA having resumed play following the All-Star break, we’ll delve into a couple of interesting futures wagers for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Industry News
PA sports betting keeps the good times rolling in January
Keystone State bettors kept the state’s sports betting revenue humming throughout the college football and NFL regular seasons. That wasn’t necessarily a surprise due to the unquestioned power of the pigskin in sports betting circles. That also set up an interesting scenario for January, given that there would be less cumulative games to bet on despite a chunk of college bowl season and the NFL playoffs unfolding during the month.
Turns out there was no need to fret. Pennsylvania generated a record $348.4 million in handle during the month. That led to over $22.8 million in revenue. The mobile market continued to expand its reach as well. Just under 90 percent of bets were placed online. That resulted in a new revenue record for the segment — $17.9 million. FanDuel Sportsbook continued to be the class of the online sports betting landscape. It raked in over $153 million in handle for mobile bets. The operator also comfortably paced the field in total handle with over $156 million.
Also of particular note in the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) report is the steady ascension of DraftKings Sportsbook in the state. After a slow start in November. DK Sportsbook has upped its numbers in each of the next two months. January was its best yet. It doubled its December handle to just over $60 million overall. Just a small fraction ($1.5 million) came through its retail location at Meadows Casino. The remainder (approximately $58.6 million) emanated from its online operations. That figure comfortably placed DK in second place behind its biggest rival.
The PGCB’s February report should also be telling. It will naturally be heavily influenced by the biggest single day on the sports betting calendar — the Super Bowl. Additionally, the monthly figures will include the first four weeks of XFL betting. The new league appears to have gotten off to a solid start in terms of wagering interest on its games and has openly embraced gambling by featuring information such as point spreads and projected totals on its national TV broadcasts.
This Week’s Best Bets at PA Sportsbooks
76ers Regular-Season Win Total
Under 52.5 wins (+100 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
The 76ers proved to have legitimate separation anxiety from their home floor of Wells Fargo Center during the pre-All-Star-break portion of the season. Philadelphia has performed consistently worse across multiple metrics when traveling. That’s most clearly illustrated in their 9-19 mark on the road. Philadelphia is also scoring over six points fewer (105.5 PPG, compared to 111.9 at home) and allowing nearly nine points more (110.5 PPG, compared to 101.9 at home) per contest when playing outside of the Keystone State.
Those numbers don’t necessarily bode well for Philly vaulting over the win total of 52.5. Half of their remaining 26 games, beginning with a particularly difficult matchup against the Bucks on Saturday night, are on the road. The Sixers stand at 35 wins entering that contest. They’d therefore need to close out the season at 18-8 or better to hit the Over. That remaining road schedule contains especially thorny matchups versus the Clippers, Lakers, Grizzlies and Pelicans in addition to Milwaukee. The 76ers will also have to tangle with fellow Eastern Conference contenders Toronto, Indiana and Milwaukee at home. Western Conference powerhouse Houston will pay them a visit as well.
Given the Sixers’ ugly home/road splits, some of their remaining matchups and the amount of wins they still need to get to 53, I like the idea of a wager on the Under at plus money.
76ers Eastern Conference Championship Futures
Having just run down the home-state team a bit in terms of them reaching a certain threshold of wins, I’ll now make a case for considering a conference championship futures bet for Philadelphia. Needless to say, the price is highly appealing. That’s certainly as good a place as any to start. Then, there’s the old adage of every team being on equal footing — theoretically — when the postseason begins. The 76ers will likely enter the playoffs as a team with a high-40s/low-50s win total and a chance at having no worse than a .500 regular-season mark against the three teams that might be their biggest obstacles to an Eastern Conference crown — the Bucks, Celtics and Raptors.
Additionally, Philly’s trade-deadline moves are worth taking into account. The team already was lauded for a stellar starting five during the first portion of the season. However, one of the big knocks was a weak bench that often failed to keep the offense humming during its stretches on the floor. The acquisitions of Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III should help remedy the overall depth problem, with Robinson’s arrival currently having the domino effect of moving the capable Al Horford to the bench.
Consequently, while acknowledging the Bucks are still a heavy favorite to come out of the Conference, a flier at this price on an experienced postseason squad isn’t a bad one to take.