When Is The Best Time To Place a Sports Bet? Well, It Depends…

The best time to place a sports bet? The earlier the better? That last-minute gut feeling? In-game odds shark? Here’s our advice…

It’s the most simple, complex, and yet most significant word in the lexicon of legalized sports betting.

“When” – As in “when is the best time to place a bet?”

It’s become an intriguing question in an age for which the answer has changed. Timing a bet is no longer simple.

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Is There A Best Time To Place A Bet?

The initial answer:

  • Whenever one feels the price is fair, the outcome is realistic, or, best yet, whenever one perceives an edge.

The deeper answer:

  • It’s important for a bettor’s research to reveal a feel for a game now that PA sportsbooks have substantially enlarged the board.
  • When all of one’s hunches line up, that’s the “when” it’s probably the best time to place a bet.

There is no longer one sports betting line for a game. There are close to 500 possibilities for just one NFL contest. Multiply that by 16 games and one can peruse up to 8,000 choices in any NFL week.

This allows more sports betting options but requires a gambler to narrow the choices. This is a big part of determining when to play.

Drilling Down to The Sweet Spot

The new array of choices, born from competition among books, requires due diligence to determine the moment of a bet launch.

Let’s start with the NFL…

See The Game First

It’s best to first have an opinion on the game first and then seek the line.

Examine the teams straight up, as if everyone would play, and incorporate a slight home-field advantage for the host team.

Come up with the score you think is possible if both teams played to the level you think they should.

Then see the line. If there is a considerable disparity, there is your edge. If there’s a Grand Canyon-like disparity, say a touchdown or more, there’s a good chance you missed something like an injury or suspension. Recalculate.

This is no different than reading a Racing Form and watching a post-parade to determine one’s opinions in a horse race. Or, for that matter, interviewing job candidates in the business world.

The Early Bird

A good time to unload some of the bankroll is Sunday night for the following week’s games.  Books have just posted them based on power ratings and data. 

These lines have likely not been addressed yet by big-money “sharp” players, a historical dynamic. They are waiting to make one big pop.

For decades prior to PASPA repeal, serious Las Vegas gamblers paid for the privilege of standing in line on Sunday night to get the first shot at newly-posted odds for the following week.

 They immediately started wagering, giving the books a guide to how “sharp” bettors viewed the game. Operators adjusted the line and it often stayed near that new spot the entire week. The betting odds throughout the week were referred to as “The Line”.

There’s no more “The”. Lines are numerous and volatile. That’s why it’s important to hone in on one you like.

Shop The Sportsbooks

BetMGM and FanDuel are usually one-half a point difference on the early NFL lines than DraftKings. This is perfect for a bettor. One book has the underdog +3. Another has the same at +2.5 and you like the favorite. Go where you have the edge.

Here are some examples featuring a variety of NFL divisional round betting odds:

The Mid-Week Move

When spreads fluctuate throughout the week, injuries are often involved. 

Quarterbacks are usually worth three points to the line. Exceptions like Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers can be eight or nine points. Has the line moved too much either way according to your expectations? This can be a time to buy-in. 

A general guide on injuries: a player listed as doubtful will rarely suit up, a player listed as questionable usually will, but at reduced capacity. Hamstring and high-ankle sprain injuries are punitive. Rib injuries are bad too. Players may perform through these, but their output may be a bit low.

The Late Move

This is where data intersects with instinct. The absence of Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens moved the line in the neighborhood of four points when it was announced on game day in a couple of games this year.

But here’s what savvy bettors realized: Tyrone Huntley is nearly as good as Jackson. He runs nearly as well as Jackson and throws a better deep ball. With Jackson out, the Ravens covered the spread in one-point losses to the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers. The Jackson injury news had helped keep the lineup, making the Ravens attractive.

Weather belongs in this category too.  December games involve rain, wind, and snow. Wind changes totals (over/under bets) the most.

The “when” question for the New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game a few weeks back was prominent. 

Three days before the event, the over-under was roughly seven points higher than at kickoff. Wind gusts of 40mph reduced the effectiveness of both offenses. It was in the forecast three days earlier but didn’t hit the lines until one day before the game.

Sharp bettors rode the under into a payday.

In-Game

This is “when” on steroids for many gamblers. American bettors are catching up to the European phenomenon, in which perhaps 75% of all wagers occur in-game.

Here’s the in-game betting reality: you can’t get ahead of the books. The key to finding value is to make a leap of faith.

Here are two examples:

When the Kansas City Chiefs faced the Los Angeles Chargers a couple of weeks back, they trailed 14-13 in the fourth quarter. The favored Chiefs were at +240. That made no sense until you realized the Chargers were at the Chiefs 1-yard line, about to punch it in.

One play later, the Chargers fumbled. The Chiefs recovered. Great time to jump on the Chiefs now, right? But the books denied it. That game came off the board almost faster than the fumble came out.

 One moment later, the Chiefs were -135.

Result: that bet had to be made when the Chargers had the ball, and that would have been a tough bet to make. Anybody who made the wager prospered, however. The Chiefs did win in overtime.

Last year, the New York Mets were playing the Boston Red Sox. New York was +340 at DraftKings in a tie game and the Red Sox had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth inning. The pitcher threw a double-play ball, the Mets get out of the inning and their odds plummeted to -120. Two outs, 220 basis points. That’s living on the edge.

The reward was playing the Mets when the bases were loaded. The risk was that an extra-base hit would have broken the game open against them. They later won.

These are tough decisions for players. The books anticipate faster than the gamblers can.

How to contest it: think longer. Some oddsmakers advise watching one complete series in a football game. See which team looks like it showed up and then make a moneyline or spread bet.

What’s In Your Database? Patterns.

This may be one’s best ally in determining “when” to bet. Patterns reveal insight that only you have and should be trusted regarding how you bet.

Watch enough games, interpret enough past performances and you will see a pattern that says “I have seen this game before.”

It can be anything.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ slow first halves, followed by strong second halves, became betting opportunities in recent weeks. Take opposite teams to win each half. It worked three weeks in a row.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are just average, but they went 6-0-1 in their last seven home games, all low scoring. They were suddenly playing a Cleveland Browns team that was eliminated from the playoffs this past week.  It was Ben Roethlisberger’s last game at Heinz Field.

Where was the value? Pittsburgh won the race to 10, 15, and 20 points. Their 26-14 triumph provided separate winning bets at all three junctures, ranging from +125 to +175 across the books. It was a good bet to make, along with the moneyline.

Some Hunches Are Hidden Gold

New England quarterback Mac Jones looked as poised as the Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott when the New England Patriots lost an overtime game to become 2-4.

But the Patriots had found something. And so did bettors who sensed this team was ready to break out. They went on to win, and cover, for seven subsequent weeks. What kept the line down was that the Patriots were perceived as a mediocre team based on record. But they were really a strong team and betting lines eventually reflected that. But for seven weeks, Pats bettors had some ride.

That’s the advantage of instinct over data. Data is no match for momentum.

The Information Base for Other Sports

Think patterns.

NHL – When the TIME is just right

The NHL is all about props. For several games, Conor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers tallied at home. With that hook, a bettor can time other wagers around it.

  • McDavid to score first was roughly +800 across the books. 
  • To score last (empty-net goals?) was bout the same.
  • Or to score anytime was +100 or +105.
  • For him to score and the Oilers to win in 60 minutes often paid in the +300 range.

That worked much of last season and early this year. And then suddenly, he grew cold. That’s what happens.

NBA – Who is playing? Who is sitting?

The best time to place a bet on NBA games is usually right before tip-off. There is a tangible “when” bet here.

Check the injury reports in the final hour before the game. Players coast through the season and just decide not to play some nights. This affects over-under, moneylines, and totals.

There’s an element of “catch up” here too. Personal example: I rode the over on many NBA games in the 205-212 range for the early part of the season. It did well. Many games have since been pushed up into the 225-235 range.

I can’t get a feel for it now. That’s no-bet territory until I match up more patterns.

MLB – Use Futures to Help Isolated Bets

When it comes to baseball, the best time to place a bet usually depends on isolation. Make some season-long win-total props at the books and watch the patterns of the teams. Patterns do emerge.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, for instance, have a scheduling quirk. They play many four-game series.  Their season-long pattern was often to split the first two games of a series and win the final two. If you watch it long enough and feel confident, that can be wagered into.

The Colorado Rockies were a bad road team and an awesome home team last season. One profitable angle was to take them to win each individual home series. The “when” in this case, was before the first game.

Best Time To Place A Bet? – SIZE MATTERS

Across the books, the question of when to bet has never been important, and never more individualized. But the bigger one’s database, the better the chance to find an opportunity.

One can peruse numerous websites to get someone else’s pick. One can subscribe to handicappers who charge for their five-star selections and if that helps, fine.

But the real edge, the inside track, is the one individual bettors create for themselves. That guides the “when”.

Good luck with yours.


Featured image credit: Steven Senne – AP

NFL Week 18 Blazin’ 5 Picks End Colin Cowherd’s “Hardest Year of Gambling”

Colin Cowherd picks Week 18 Blazin’ 5 ATS from the Fox Bet sports betting app betting odds. He likes the Cowboys, Raiders, Falcons, Dolphins.

It’s the last week of the regular season and Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5 (35-41-1) has no chance of finishing with a winning record.

He already has excuses ready for his subpar showing.

Before giving out his Week 18 picks Cowherd was in a reminiscent mood on Friday’s episode of “The Herd.” He recalled going to Stardust Casino in Vegas on Sunday night (or Monday night) to bet the opening NFL lines.

“That’s how I bet my whole life (opening lines.) Then COVID hit. Now you have to wait until Sunday morning because players are coming in and out and the whole thing for me has gone upside down. You can say it’s just an excuse. It’s the hardest year of gambling I’ve ever had,” said Cowherd.

What is Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5 record?

We track Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5 picks so you can decide whether to follow or fade when betting on the NFL at PA sports betting apps.

Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5 record 2019 to present:

  • 2021: 37-43-2
  • 2020: 40-41-2
  • 2019: 42-41-3

Colin Cowherd Blazin’ 5 Week 18 NFL picks

The Herd with Colin Cowherd is a sports talk radio show on Fox Sports Radio and Fox Sports 1. Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5 airs Fridays on The Herd at 1 p.m. EST.

Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Cowherd pick: Cowboys

Final score prediction: Cowboys 27, Eagles 20

Cowherd said:

“I initially liked the Eagles but they got 16 players on the COVID list. I’m going to take the Cowboys. Their defense leads the NFL in interceptions takeaways, third-down conversions. Jalen Hurts, who is still struggling, let’s be honest, he ranks 28th in passing, it’s gonna be hard on 3rd down. The Cowboys are athletic and rangy and they beat him the first time they played him. Dak against the NFC East is 24-4 with 50 TDs and 15 picks, he eats them alive. The Eagles have 16 players on COVID, they are 0-6 when facing a team with a winning record.”

Final score: Cowboys 51, Eagles 26

Did Cowherd win? Yes

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons (+3.5)

Cowherd pick: Falcons

Final score prediction: Falcons 24, Saints 23

Cowherd said:

“This is a rivalry game. I bet the Falcons earlier this year against the Saints and I’m gonna bet ’em again. You know I don’t like betting the Falcons and this is my second time. They are 7-2 in games decided by 8 or fewer points. In close games they are a good team and their defense has 12-straight games with a takeaway (leads NFL). Matt Ryan ate ’em up the last time he played them and the Saints offense over the last three games is a mess, 10 points a game. When you’re down to your third and fourth quarterback it’s a merry-go-round. The Saints offense on third down in the last three games is the worst in the league. I get Matt Ryan at home with over a field goal…I think Atlanta upsets the Saints.”

Final score: Saints 30, Falcons 20

Did Cowherd win? No

San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams (-4.5)

Cowherd pick: Rams

Final score prediction: Rams 28, 49ers 23

Cowherd said:

“Initially, I would like San Francisco and the points here but Garoppolo’s not practicing, he has an injury. The Rams are on a five-game winning streak and they are playing football. They lead the NFL in yards-per-play. Matt Stafford’s numbers this year have been fantastic. The key though is Garoppolo’s thumb sprain. I thought it would get better and it has not. You are asking Trey Lance to face this Rams team on the road in his second road start. This is a big ask for a rookie quarterback and I don’t like it.”

Final score: 49ers 27, Rams 24

Did Cowherd win? No

New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins (+6)

Cowherd pick: Dolphins

Final score prediction: Patriots 24, Dolphins 23

Cowherd said:

“A lot of the wise guys like New England. I’m taking Miami +6. First of all, 5-0 in their last 5 home games. Weird things happen last game of the year in Miami. Dolphins are 6-2 last 8 times they played the Patriots in Miami. Since Week 9, the Dolphins defense has allowed 14.5 ppg (2nd in NFL), and rank 1st in the league since Week 9 for ypg allowed, yards-per-play allowed and sacks. Their defense is fantastic. The Patriots are 3-6 against teams this year that are .500 or better. Mac Jones doesn’t really have the ability to get out of trouble and Miami’s defense gets you in trouble. It’s too many points for a rivalry points, an amazing defense and a rookie quarterback.”

Final score: Dolphins 33, Patriots 24

Did Cowherd win? Yes

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders (+3)

Cowherd pick: Raiders

Final score prediction: Raiders 30, Chargers 27

Cowherd said:

“This game, I’ve gone back-and-forth with. I know I’m getting a true effort. With a lot of these games. I just don’t know whose playing. Both of these teams need to win. The Raiders defense, 4 of their last 5 games have played well. Derek Carr is playing his butt off this year. Darren Waller is back and I don’t trust the Chargers defense. It’s the worst third down defense in the league. The Raiders are running the ball and they are going to keep Herbert off the field.”

Final score: Raiders 35, Chargers 33

Did Cowherd win? Push

Cowherd’s Week 18 Blazin’ 5 record: 2-2-1

Colin Cowherd 2021 Blazin’ 5 overall record: 37-43-2

Lead image The Heard on FS!

How Did Football Fans Bet on the Super Bowl Before Sports Betting Was Legalized?

One aspect of the Super Bowl that causes excitement is the ability to bet. But what did fans do before sports betting was legal online in PA?

Super Bowl sports betting euphoria, measured in billions of dollars for each game, pre-dates the legal wagering age.

That’s why it has staying power. Even now with the ability to legally bet on sports online in PA.

The estimated $4.5 betting totals of recent years – much of it illegal – does not even include the action people improvise amongst themselves. That’s the “recreational” wagering in office pools and through competition with each other.

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If 100 people wager on a Super Bowl squares pool, for example, and funds are divided among winners, there is no book and no official revenue. But there is enormous volume.

Here’s a retrospective, coupled with some personal experience, to offer a glimpse of the historic Super Bowl betting feast.

When it Comes to Super Bowl Betting, Everybody Has “A Guy”

That’s what Eagles great Ron Jaworski told me when asked how former NFL players felt about the age before legalized betting. People could always find a bet. A large chunk of Super Bowl wagering involved an illegal book or bookmaker.

Everybody had a source for their bets.  It usually meant finding a bookie or placing a wager with a friend in Las Vegas, who put it down for you at the sportsbooks.

This type of action still contributes to the projected totals of illegal Super Bowl betting.

Super Bowl Betting – SB Squares

The public made its own entertainment and still does, primarily through Super Bowl squares, blocks, boxes, or whatever else you may call it. Variations of this format and numerous creative pools underscore the sentiment of action on the big game.

This popular pool bonanza, constructed on low, medium, and large entry-fee formats, creates multi-level gambling interests.

Super Bowl blocks, or squares, offer no strategy, thus enabling beginners to have the same chance as savvy veterans.

DraftKings Sportsbook PA has even put its own unique spin on the traditional Super Bowl favorite. Squares is free to play with a prize pool of $55,000.

super bowl betting

MVP Draw

Put names in a hat of possible MVPs before the game. Each person draws a name. Whoever has the winner collects.

And there may be a gazillion others.

Super Bowl Betting Social Scene – Props

This is one of many scenarios involving Super Bowl parties.

I took 30 of the Vegas Super Bowl props and devised a props competition. Everything from the coin toss to the first play from scrimmage to, first and last team to score. One point was awarded for each correct prediction and the highest number of points prevailed.

It kept everyone involved until the final whistle, because outcomes changed dramatically in the final two minutes, regardless of the score.

Many of the participants knew little or nothing about football. But they all had a stake in the game some barely watched.

We always tossed in a couple of gimmes like “would so and so cheat” or would “so and so” cash a ticket.

We paid down to five places. Nobody was ever out of it.

That’s the beauty of the social Super Bowl fabric. There’s a pool for everybody.

Although patrons enjoy 500 different props, halftime shows, Gatorade side wagers, and bets on top commercials today, they fended well for themselves beforehand.

This created the Super Bowl’s iconic impact. Most viewers want to get involved, even for a few bucks.


Image credit: Elaine Thompson – AP

Looking at the Eagles Postseason Odds After Week 16

On the first day of Christmas, the Eagles gave to me…Control of their playoff destiny.

On the first day of Christmas, the Eagles gave to me… Control of their playoff destiny!

It was ugly at times, depressing at others, but overall enjoyable and got the job done. No, not Christmas with in-laws. But what are the Eagles playoff chances?

The Philadelphia Eagles took a major step forward towards the 2021 postseason Sunday with a 34-10 pasting of a dysfunctional New York Giants team.

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Eagles Playoff Chances

Currently, the Eagles have a 72 percent chance to make the playoffs entering Week 17 on sportclubstats.com and a 68 percent likelihood on ESPN.

  • The Birds now sit at 8-7 and are in the lead for the final wildcard spot with two weeks to play.
  • For a team that sat 3-6 just seven weeks ago, clinching a playoff spot a week before the season ends appeared implausible.
  • However, if the Eagles win next week in Washington, the Vikings lose in Green Bay, and either the Saints drop to Carolina or the 49ers win over the Texans next Sunday, that will complete the NFC side of the postseason bracket. 

Surprisingly, only one of the major PA sports betting apps have “To Make the Playoffs” markets open on Monday, the 27th. Mind you, there are only six spots of the 14 currently clinched, with five on the NFC side.

No one has been eliminated from contention in the AFC North. Even had the Dolphins lost on Monday, there would still be 12 teams in contention for the final six AFC spots.

  • DraftKings has priced the Eagles at Yes: -250 and No: +200.

Yes, the Eagles have feasted on inferior competition during their current three-game win streak. Yes, it probably should be six straight but for that disastrous outing against the Giants that appeared to be happening again during Sunday’s lackluster first half. They don’t count style points for postseason qualification. Just win the games.

Is Jalen Hurts Ready For This?

One thing has stood out to me with quarterback Jalen Hurts’ play in the two games he won in five days. For a first-year starter to come back from missing time due to injury, it’s key to look for adjustments in play. It appears he has taken a step forward with making throws to the sidelines, or at least outside the numbers.

Hurts made some impressive throws to tight windows against Washington and added a few more against New York. Of course, the highlight catches came from his college teammate Devonta Smith, first in the early stages against Washington, then the second-half score that seemed to seal the Giants’ fate on Sunday.

It helps to have a receiver with incredible body control, which obviously boosts confidence. 

Throws outside the numbers to Dallas Goedert, Jalen Reagor, and others are a necessary step to the evolution of the Eagles offense. For a run-heavy team like Philly, having that ability to spread the field and challenge boundary defenders gives the Eagles balance and more options.

Is that safety creeping towards the box to stop the run? Maybe he thinks twice if two or more receivers are stacked on a side. 

Getting to the playoffs would be a huge gratification for Hurts and rookie head coach Nick Sirianni. However, for the team to do ANYTHING in the playoffs, they must execute. No more drops. Limit the penalties and missed tackles.

Hurts must protect the ball when scrambling (he may still be favoring that ankle with his decisions to stay in the pocket). If they make it, it’s likely a trip to Dallas in a 2-7 match-up. The Cowboys are balanced and seem to have their defensive issues from last year solved.

A postseason win in Big D would help solidify Hurts’ incumbency and perhaps convince the team to build around him, instead of bringing in an aging, more established name under center. 

Will Jalen Hurts Run One In vs. Washington? Eagles Team and Player Props for Tuesday Night

The Eagles host Washington Tuesday night and DraftKings is offering a smattering of Jalen Hurts and other team and player props.

With the Philadelphia Eagles coming off a bye week, fans will gather at Lincoln Financial Field and cheer on quarterback Jalen Hurts as he leads the team into a pivotal divisional match-up with Washington on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

At the start of last week, we didn’t know if (or when) the game would happen, and if Hurts would return to the lineup.

Now, fans and bettors are ready for a rare Tuesday night game with huge playoff implications. With three weeks to heal an ankle injury sustained in Week 12, Jalen Hurts looks likely to start against Washington Tuesday. The West Coast market gets Seahawks vs. Rams at the same start time.

Here’s a rundown on the odds and prop bets available for Washington vs. Eagles at the best PA sports betting apps.

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Eagles vs. Washington Week 15 odds, game preview

As of mid-day Tuesday, the Pennsylvania sportsbooks have the Eagles around a 6.5-point favorite and the points total set around 41.5 (41 at DraftKings).

Assuming he does indeed get the start Tuesday, Hurts will be trying to bounce back from his worst performance of the season, where he threw three INTs in a 13-7 loss to the Giants. Despite the turnovers, he drove the Eagles in position to steal the game but couldn’t connect for the TD late in the fourth.

Since the loss in Las Vegas, Hurts has failed to crack 200 yards passing in a game. However, he has rushed the ball more and served as a game manager, sparking the Eagles’ impressive ground game. In his short appearance against Washington in Week 17 last year, Hurts went 7 for 20 for 72 yards and a pick but rushed in two scores before sitting out the second half.

With Washington suffering a coronavirus outbreak, the Eagles enter this crucial game as increasing favorites at home. A win would possibly bump them into the final wild-card spot currently held by the Football Team.

Eagles team lines and props vs. Washington

With many players still out and a number of unknowns surrounding the matchup, some will opt to bet on team props, but you’ll still find some player props (and even more closer to kick-off).

Here are some prop odds to consider at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Eagles team props

  • Eagles team total points: O 23.5 (-125)/U 23.5 (-105)
  • Team TDs: O 2.5 (-135) / U 2.5 (-105)
  • 1st to score: Eagles -155
  • Last to score: Eagles -160
  • First Half Spread: Eagles -3.5 (-115)
  • First Half total points: O 20.5 (+100) / U 20.5 (-120)

Jalen Hurts props vs. Washington

  • Jalen Hurts passing yards: O 193.5 (-115) / U 193.5 (-115)
  • Hurts passing TDs: O 1.5 (+145) / U 1.5 (-195)
  • Hurts rushing yards: O 44.5 (-115) / U 44.5 (-115)
  • Anytime TD scorer: +120
  • First TD scorer: +750

Other Eagles player props

  • Miles Sanders rushing yards: O 55.5 (-120) / U 55.5 (-110)
  • Dallas Goedert receiving yards: O 47.5 (-115) / U 47.5 (-115)
  • DeVonta Smith receiving yards: O 47.5 (-115) / U 47.5 (-115)
  • Quez Watkins receiving yards: O 26.5 (-120) / U 26.5 (-110)

You can also wager on (or combine in a parlay) anytime TD scorers. Here are odds on some Eagles:

  • Sanders: +110
  • Goedert: +150
  • Smith: +165
  • Jordan Howard: +175
  • Kenneth Gainwell: +310
  • Eagles Defense: +400
  • Jalen Reagor: +450
  • Quez Watkins: +450
  • Boston Scott: +500
  • Greg Ward: +1400
  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: +1800

As of Tuesday afternoon, Hurts is not listed on the injury report and he was listed as a full participant in practice Friday and Saturday. If he doesn’t play, the books SHOULD void any bets on his prop bets. Keyword: should.

We saw sportsbooks refuse to void the Over bets this weekend when Carolina kicker Zane Gonzales got injured during the warm-up in Buffalo. To cover your bases, we advise checking the injury report before putting in your prop bets at PA sportsbooks.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

PA Gaming Revenue Eclipses $4 Billion For 2021: Four Facts And One Opinion On Record-Breaking November Numbers

Pennsylvania online casinos posted another over $110 million revenue month in November as overall gaming and sports betting set new records.

Pennsylvania gaming revenue hit yet another all-time high before the close of 2021. Overall taxable gaming revenue in November totaled $432.5 million, a whopping 52% increase over November 2020, according to revenue figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Tuesday.

The new record just beat out the previous high set in October 2021 of $425.9 million. It also brought PA gaming revenue over $4 billion for the year. Pennsylvania had already eclipsed its record annual gaming revenue in October.

PA online casino revenue in November came in just shy of the high. But it was a record-shattering month for PA sports betting with revenue $84.9 million nearly doubling the previous high of $48.1 million from September.

Read on for some key numbers plus four facts and one opinion about PA casino revenue in November 2021.

Key numbers from November 2021 PA gaming revenue

  • Pennsylvania overall gaming revenue (taxable): $432.5 million ($425.9 million in Oct.)
  • Online casino revenue (GGR): $114.5 million ($117 million in Oct.)
  • Online casino tax revenue: $39.1 million ($43.3 million in Oct.)
  • Sports betting handle: $761.6 million ($776. 3 million in Oct.)
  • Sports betting revenue: $84.9 million ($42.3 million in Oct.)
  • Sports betting tax revenue: $22.9 million ($8.5 million in Oct.)

Four facts about PA casino revenue in November 2021

1) PA casino revenue is consistently over $100 million per month.

Pennsylvania iGaming sites have posted over $100 million in GGR every month since March 2021. And December should continue the trend.

That puts PA among the leaders in online casino revenue, as only New Jersey and Michigan can say the same.

2) Online casino revenue rises in tandem with retail casino revenue (and sports betting revenue).

Overall taxable gaming revenue hit an all-time high in November. It was also up 33% year-over-year compared to November 2020. Before the launch of legal online gambling, many feared it would cut into retail revenue. Those fears are all but distant memories now as gaming companies continue to leverage their online and retail products for overall brand and growth.

Here’s a look at year-over-year increases in taxable revenue among the biggest revenue-generators for November:

  • Retail slots: 43.2%
  • Retail table games: 58.4%
  • Sports betting: 70.5%
  • Online slots: 61.2%
  • Online table games: 53.9%

3) Online casinos continue to prove a significant portion of both gaming revenue and taxes for PA.

PA online casinos are an important source of gaming revenue every month. With 17 legal online casinos now operational in Pennsylvania (and four online poker brands), it’s one of the most mature markets in the US.

In November, taxable revenue from online casino sites made up 21.7% of overall PA gaming revenue. iGaming also brought in 22.8% of the total $171.9 million in tax revenue for the state in November.

PA has some of the highest internet gaming tax rates around: 54% for online slots, 16% for table games and poker.

4) Online casino operators in PA are a major case of the haves and have-nots.

A whopping 82.3% of online casino gaming market share (in November) belongs to three of the state’s ten license holders. Collectively, those states operate nine of the total 17 online betting apps.

PA-based Penn National continues to dominate market share (40.4%) with its four heavy-hitting brands Hollywood, DraftKings, BetMGM and Barstool. Rivers Philadelphia, with its more local brands (BetRivers, SugarHouse and Borgata) remains firmly in second (26.7% market share).

Meanwhile, Valley Forge with FanDuel and Stardust casino sites continues to hold onto the No. 3 spot with 15.2% market share.

LicenseeOnline Brand(s)Total RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games RevenuePoker Revenue
Hollywood Penn NationalHollywood | DraftKings | BetMGM$46,246,312$31,840,603$14,172,945$232,763
Rivers PhiladelphiaSugarHouse | BetRivers | Borgata$30,613,778$27,731,791$2,796,872$85,114
Valley ForgeFanDuel | Stardust$17,444,360$9,684,546$7,759,814$0
Mount AiryPokerStars$6,259,718$3,580,456$891,082$1,788,180
ParxParx$3,904,976$3,468,302$436,674$0
Harrah's PhiladelphiaCaesars$2,736,676$1,893,174$194,879$648,623
Mohegan Sun PoconoUnibet$2,355,675$1,856,076$499,598$0
Live PhiladelphiaPlayLive | Betway$1,928,354$1,643,207$285,147$0
Presque IsleTwinSpires$1,599,995$1,075,737$524,258$0
Wind CreekWind Creek$1,426,335$1,334,674$91,661$0
Total$114,516,179$84,108,567$27,652,931$2,754,681

One opinion: The days of less than $100 million revenue months for PA online casinos are over.

It was clear in the spring of 2020 that the coronavirus accelerated online gaming revenue. Over a year later, online gambling remains a popular complement to retail gaming in Pennsylvania. Even as retail gaming options continue expanding with the opening of two mini-casinos so far and a third (Hollywood Morgantown, pictured above) set to open Dec. 22.

The online gambling trend is here to stay, and is not hurting land-based casino revenue which is also up significantly year-over-year.

Further, as unknowns still abound with new virus strains and Philadelphia-mandated vaccination requirements in public places including casinos, PA online casinos will remain a steady option for a home-based alternative.

Lead image of Hollywood Morgantown taken by Katie Kohler.

Colin Cowherd’s Week 14 Blazin’ 5 Picks Were Freezing Cold

Colin Cowherd picks Week 14 Blazin’ 5 ATS from the Fox Bet sports betting app betting odds. He picks Bills, Browns, Giants and 49ers.

Before the start of the 2021 NFL season we listed Colin Cowherd’s predictions.

One of his prognostications got a fair amount of play this week.

Cowherd on Mac Jones before the 2021 NFL Draft:

“Mac Jones…good lord…Mel Kiper’s gotta slow down on this. It’s not gonna work.”

Cowherd on Mac Jones after the New England Patriots (9-4) beat the Bills in Week 13:

“Mac Jones is clearly good enough to win the Super Bowl.”

Cowherd’s Week 14 picks were ice cold. He went 1-4. None of the picks he “loved” –  Giants +9.5 and Buffalo +3 – covered.

Every week, we track Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5 picks so you can decide whether to follow or fade when making your wagers at PA sports betting apps.

Colin Cowherd Blazin’ 5 Week 14 NFL picks

The Herd with Colin Cowherd is a sports talk radio show on Fox Sports Radio and Fox Sports 1. Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5 airs Fridays on The Herd at 1 p.m. EST.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns (-3)

Cowherd pick: Browns

Final score prediction: Browns 27, Ravens 23

Cowherd said:

“I got it at 2.5 but I still like Cleveland. They are more desperate, healthier and they are coming off a bye. Lamar Jackson is in a slump. The Ravens, under 20 points in 4 straight games, and they have fallen apart physically. This defense is falling apart and John Harbaugh acknowledged that in the Steelers game. I get a well-coached team that’s healthier and has more rest.”

Final score: Browns 24, Ravens 23

Did Cowherd win? No

New York Giants (+9.5) vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Cowherd pick: Giants

Final score prediction: Chargers 28, Giants 23

Cowherd said:

“Love the Giants. Mike Glennon is going to play. I don’t care if they win or lose. The Giants in their last 6 games are 4-2 ATS because no one thinks they can play. They have held their opponents to 20 or fewer points in five of their last six games. If you look at their defense, they take the ball away. Since Week 7, their D ranks 4th for ppg allowed and yards per-play allowed. The Chargers are dealing with COVID issues. Five of the seven wins by the Chargers are by 6 or fewer. I think the Giants keep it close. I don’t think I lost a Chargers game this year.”

Final score: Chargers 37, Giants 21

Did Cowherd win? No

Sand Francisco 49ers (-2) vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Cowherd pick: 49ers

Final score prediction: 49ers 28, Bengals 23

Cowherd said:

“The 49ers are favored now but I loved them as underdogs. It’s my weakest pick but I like them here. They out-gained their last four opponents. They are starting to get healthy and they are running the football. Their offense is the best Red Zone offense in the league. They’ve scored a TD on 76% of their Red Zone drives. The defense is starting to play well with multiple takeaways in the past month. But here’s the key, the Bengals are getting sloppy. Joe Burrow is hurt, they’ve had multiple games offensively with a turnover or more. Burrow has 14 picks and 16 giveaways…more than anyone in the league. Now he is hurt.”

Final score: 49ers 26, Bengals 23

Did Cowherd win? Yes

Buffalo Bills (+3) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cowherd pick: Bills

Final score prediction: Bills 34, Buccaneers 23

Cowherd said:

“I love Buffalo +3. If you wait I think it can go 3.5 or 4. You’re all selling your Bills stock, give it all to me, I’m buying it. I think they go on a heater. They are 4-0 after a loss this year. Their D is still still exceptional. Their D is first in yards per-play allowed, 1st in opp. passer rtg (62.9), 1st in ypg allowed (272.3). Tom Brady, we love him…but 5 straight games one or more turnover. This game, you have a proud good football team that was mocked and ripped by their own media. They are going to play their best game of the year and whack Tommy and the Buccaneers.”

Final score: Buccaneers 33, Bills 27

Did Cowherd win? No

Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)

Cowherd pick: Cardinals

Final score prediction: Cardinals 34, Rams 24

Cowherd said:

“Vegas guys are back-and-forth on this. Kyler Murray has a 73% completion percentage. You can’t stop him off-script. I don’t know what you do to defend him when he’s healthy. The Rams are a little over-inflated in my opinion. Six of their eight wins have come against teams with losing records. They don’t have Robert Woods and they are asking Van Jefferson to be him. I think this line should be bigger. Since Week 7, the Rams are 1-5 ATS.”

Final score: Rams 30, Cardinals 23

Did Cowherd win? No

Cowherd’s Week 14 Blazin’ 5 record: 1-4

Colin Cowherd 2021 Blazin’ 5 overall record: 30-36-1

NFL Week 15 betting lines

Lead image Steven Senne/AP

Week 11 Betting Angle & Analysis: Pittsburgh Steelers Fly To LA For An Important AFC Battle

The Pittsburg Steelers fly to Tinseltown to battle the Los Angelos Chargers in a match-up of two of the current three AFC wild card teams.

Two AFC playoff contenders meet on Sunday Night Football after disappointing showings in Week 10. The Pittsburgh Steelers fly to Tinseltown to battle the Los Angeles Chargers in a match-up of two of the current three AFC wild card teams.

The tie with the Detroit Lions put Pittsburgh at 5-3-1, fifth in the AFC, and a half-game back of Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. Los Angeles holds the final wild card as the seventh seed and is now a game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the West with a 5-5 record.

Unlike some NFL action this week, the spread in this game is all over the board of every PA online sportsbook:

  • The Steelers will enter as underdogs on the road, available at +5, +5.5, and +6.
  • The total varies as well, from 46.5 to 47.5.

Steelers vs Chargers – Week 11 NFL Preview

  • ATS Records: Steelers 3-6, Chargers 5-4
  • Total Records for Overs: Steelers 2-6-1, Chargers 3-5-0

There’s a fairly obvious reason for the line favoring the Chargers: the unknown status of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. When he was ruled out Sunday against Detroit due to COVID-19, the line dropped 3.5 points on some sites. Mason Rudolph had a nice day with 242 yards in the 16-16 tie. However, there’s certainly something missing in confidence and execution without 7 under center. Pittsburgh didn’t help its cause with the only turnovers of the game (3), including the one that ended any chance of winning in overtime. 

Los Angeles had a chance to keep pace with the Chiefs but lost at home to the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota had over 36 minutes of ball control and 381 total yards in a 27-20 win where they led most of the way. They may be short a couple of big names, as Joey Bosa and Jerry Tillery entered COVID-19 protocol Tuesday. 

The Chargers will challenge the Steelers defense. Justin Herbert will look to bounce back from an off game. They have a dynamic weapon in Austin Ekeler out of the backfield. Their wide receivers are good. 

Steelers vs Chargers – Week 11 X-Factor

A key to a Steelers victory, with or without Big Ben (but especially without), will be feeding Najee Harris. He has done very well establishing himself as a three-down back in this league as a rookie.

Talented offenses like the Chargers do far less damage when on the bench. Los Angeles is prone to giving up yards on the ground. Handoffs on first and second down will not only slow the pass rush but also lessen the likelihood of a long throw needed on third down to prolong a drive, which has been a recent issue.

Looking Ahead: NFL Futures, As Of Week 11

When it comes to NFL Futures, Sports betting apps in PA usually differ from sportsbook to sportsbook.

Best Bets in PA Sports: The NFL Week 11 Specials You Asked For…

Our newest feature “Best Bets in PA Sports” will highlight some of the most interesting & fun bets each weekend that YOU WILL LOVE.

“What’s today’s special?”

It’s a question that seems best suited for your neighborhood diner, but it fits perfectly with Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks too.

Bet $5 Get $280 + Up to $1,050 Bonus
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  • Every football weekend brings more wagers to your favorite sportsbook and betting app.
  • Specials. Props. Bet boosts. Parlays. Best bets in PA for you to make.

There are so many things on the menu, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of them all. And that’s where we come in.

What Are This Week’s Best Bets in PA?

Our newest feature “Best Bets in PA sports” will highlight some of the most interesting bets each weekend, along with some additional info that might help you make your wager.

  • So take a long look at the special.
  • And get your order in before kickoff.

FOX Bet Boost – Eagles to win: +100

The Philadelphia Eagles play the New Orleans Saints in a home game at 1 p.m. Sunday. Philadelphia is currently favored by two points at DraftKings Sportsbook, but Lincoln Financial Field hasn’t been kind to the Eagles.

According to a DraftKings stat, Philadelphia has lost five straight games at home. However, if the Eagles can scratch out a victory Sunday, bettors will be awarded with a higher return at FOX Bet. The sportsbook has boosted the Birds moneyline from -125 to +100.

DraftKings Highest/Lowest Scoring Team Special

Over at DraftKings, one of the Weekly Specials focuses on team totals, with odds posted on both the highest and lowest scoring team of the NFL week. Here are the favorites and the pricing for Pennsylvania’s pro teams in each category.

Highest

Lowest

FanDuel – Up Your Odds with a Double Result Wager

If you can somehow predict both the leader at halftime and the ultimate winner of Sunday’s games, you can grab greater odds than a traditional bet thanks to FanDuel Sportsbook. Here are the numbers for the Saints-Eagles matchup. (Odds have not yet been posted for Steelers-Chargers).

New Orleans at Philadelphia

  • Saints-Saints: +185
  • Saints-Eagles: +700
  • Saints-Draw: +3000
  • Eagles-Eagles: +145
  • Eagles-Saints: +800
  • Eagles-Draw: +2800

Barstool Sportsbook – Build a Parlay+ for the Pittsburgh game

Wrap up your football Sunday by chasing a big win on the PittsburghLA Chargers showdown on Sunday Night Football. The Barstool Sportsbook feature allows you to combine multiple bets from the SNF game and other Parlay+ eligible games.

Here are the current betting lines of note for Steelers-Chargers:

Point Spread

  • Pittsburgh (+5.5): -103
  • LA Chargers (-5.5): -120

Moneyline

  • Pittsburgh: +188
  • LA Chargers: -235

Total Points

  • Over 47.5: -103
  • Under 47.5: -120

BetMGM – Eagles Win Parlays

If you think the Eagles can find a path to victory Sunday against the Saints, BetMGM has a few pre-built parlays that can boost your odds with a bet on the Birds.

Here are the wagers:

  • Eagles to win and 32+ total points scored: +120
  • Eagles and Washington Football Team (vs. Panthers) both to win: +375
  • Vikings (vs. Packers), Dolphins (vs. Jets), and Eagles all to win: +525

Week 11 begins in Atlanta

Week 11 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday night with the Atlanta Falcons hosting the New England Patriots at 8:20 p.m. on FOX.

There are plenty of wagers loaded up for that game and many more arriving on Sunday too.

Perhaps it seems like a question best suited for a busy diner, but it’s worth asking every time a football weekend draws near.

“What’s today’s special?”

Oh, and don’t forget the Week 11 point spread odds from around the NFL:

PA Crosses $1 Billion in Online Casino Revenue for 2021, Shatters Gaming Records in October

PA online casinos and sportsbooks broke records in October 2021, joining NJ as the first state to cross $1B in yearly iGaming revenue.

Gaming in Pennsylvania continues to recover from the worst of the pandemic. In fact, it is still growing like gangbusters, October revenue numbers released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) show.

October was a month of revenue records, for sports betting and online casinos.

PA gaming revenue has a record-setting October

PA crossed into the $1 billion stratosphere for iGaming revenue in a single year. And it did it the same month that New Jersey accomplished the same feat.

Sports wagering handle last month was staggering, nearly $776.3 million. That’s the highest to date. That easily beats the former record of $615.3 million total set in January 2021 by an impressive $161.1 million.

Total gaming and fantasy revenue (AGR) last month was $425.9 million, an increase of 33% compared to revenue in October 2020 when it was $320.2 million. The figure from this October is an all-time monthly revenue high.

Keep in mind there were more than 9,100 fewer retail slots in operation a year ago.

Retail table games set a record of just more than $89 million, a 41% increase year-over-year. That was also the single highest month ever, besting the July 2021 figure of  $86.9 million.

Performance, however, remained uneven from property to property. That was especially so in the online casino segment with one big winnerHollywood at Penn National and its affiliated brands – and three clear losers.

We take a closer look at the key numbers for continuing strong online casino performance and record-setting sports betting numbers.

Online casinos set new record, surpass $1B yearly revenue

Casino games available online generated gross revenue of $117 million during October 2021, increasing 58.7% compared to October 2020, when revenue was $73.7 million.

That’s a new high.

The tax revenue generated from internet casino play in October was $43.3 million.

So far this year, iGaming has generated just over $1 billion in revenue and $1.8 billion over its lifetime.

There are some clear winners and losers here, with the top three operators (making up 9 of 17 online brands) making up around 80% of market share.

LicenseeOnline Brand(s)Total RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games RevenuePoker Revenue
Hollywood Penn NationalHollywood | DraftKings | BetMGM | Barstool$44,444,677$30,388,315$13,753,252$303,110
Rivers PhiladelphiaSugarHouse | BetRivers | Borgata$31,025,369$27,509,521$3,407,780$108,068
Valley ForgeFanDuel | Stardust$19,570,740$11,441,383$8,129,357$0
Mount AiryPokerStars$7,330,911$3,959,319$1,515,758$1,855,834
ParxParx$4,589,775$3,849,743$740,033$0
Harrah's PhiladelphiaCaesars$3,185,474$2,055,915$542,248$587,311
Mohegan Sun PoconoUnibet$2,446,901$1,991,867$455,034$0
Wind CreekWind Creek$1,861,652$1,669,670$191,982$0
Presque IsleTwinSpires$1,427,382$1,055,154$372,228$0
Live PhiladelphiaPlayLive | Betway$1,156,567$948,356$208,211$0
Total$117,039,448$84,869,243$29,315,882$2,854,323

Sports betting revenue sets new high

Helped by five NFL weekends and the start of NBA season, PA had its best-ever month for handle three years into legal sports betting. Also, with about half of all sports betting revenue and handle in PA coming in 2021, the segment is still gaining steam.

Sports revenue so far this year is more than $382.6 million with lifetime revenue at nearly $766.8 million.

Valley Forge Casino Resort, allied with FanDuel Sportsbook, had a total handle of $275.4 million with online revenue of $19.3 million. Their retail revenue added $566K.

Penn National’s Meadows Casino, partnered with DraftKings Sportsbook online, had a handle of $204.1 million, with online revenue of $9.6 million and total sports revenue of $9.8 million.

Land-based retail casinos fully recovered

In October, retail slot revenue was more than $203.3 million, up from $154.7 million a year ago.

Retail table revenue topped $89 million. A year back, table revenue was $63.3 million.

Penn National brands continue to suck up online casino market share

The dominant winner in the online casino segment was Hollywood Casino at Penn National Gaming, with $44.4 million in iGaming revenue. Its brands include DraftKings, BetMGM and Barstool.

But Mount Airy Casino, Parx Casino and Mohegan Sun Pocono were down double-digit percentages year over year in the online casino sector.

Lead image via Shutterstock.