The first season of legal baseball betting in Pennsylvania is wrapping up, and if there’s been one clear loser, it may be those who commonly used the Parx online sportsbook for their MLB wagers.
On the very day Parx went live with state-monitored testing June 24, we noted in a comparison with the PlaySugarHouse online site — the only one preceding it in the state — that Parx routinely was charging a higher vig on the moneyline (the most common type of baseball bet). Not only were bettors on the favorites required to pay a higher price, the underdogs were getting paid off at a lesser rate.
We labored on Labor Day to see how things have evolved with those and the other two existing online sites: the Rivers Casino’s BetRivers site and the Valley Forge-affiliated FanDuel Sportsbook. We examined the pre-game lines for all 12 Monday MLB matchups, and here’s the result:
In every case, Parx was charging higher juice than the other three.
A few pennies on every dollar
In the Phillies-Reds contest, for example, betting $100 on the Phils as a road underdog (they won easily, 7-1 — nice job if you had ’em) would have netted $126 from FanDuel, $123 from SugarHouse and Rivers, and just $118 from Parx.
SugarHouse and Rivers, which have common ownership and are linked by Rush Street Interactive, listed the exact same odds for each game. But just like Parx, their original odds are provided to them by Kambi. Each casino has the ability to tinker with the numbers as it sees fit, and along the way before reaching players, the numbers somehow turn out less favorable for Parx baseball bettors.
In general, the overall betting lines were more favorable at SugarHouse/Rivers than FanDuel, but in a number of cases — as with the Phils example above — the better site depended on whether you wanted the favorite or underdog. In the Giants-Cardinals game, FanDuel paid off better on the underdog Giants (+164 on the late morning line, vs. +160 at SugarHouse/Rivers) but charged more for the Cardinals (-190 compared to -182), who ended up winning. It pays to compare sites.
What’s available from the Pennsylvania betting sites is generally less attractive than what is offered in highly competitive Nevada, according to the moneylines listed at VegasInsider. A winning $100 bet on the Phils would have generated an average win of $130 in Las Vegas, the Insider’s consensus summary indicated. In a few cases, however, the SugarHouse/Rivers numbers were even better than those in Vegas, as in charging a -278 price for a winning Cubs bet over the Mariners compared to -300 on average in Vegas.
The good news is that with new online sportsbooks potentially going live before this baseball season ends — and certainly by next spring — discerning MLB handicappers in Pennsylvania will find still more options to help offset the sportsbooks’ house advantage.
Phillies futures (and past futures)
When it comes to the Phillies and their championship hopes that had been so tantalizing before the season started, there is no deviation among the three Kambi-related sites: They all have the Phils at 60/1 now to win the World Series and 28/1 to win the National League pennant.
FanDuel is slightly less pessimistic, laying 47/1 odds for a Phillies World Series title and 18/1 for the pennant. So if you still retain a glimmer of hope that they can be the latest team to sneak in via the wild card and run the table, this is one case where it would pay as much to visit the Parx site as anywhere else.
After the Bryce Harper signing during spring training, the Phils were going off at World Series odds of 12/1 or thereabouts, depending on the source. It seemed reasonable enough at the time, certainly, to many Pennsylvania bettors.
Photo by David Kohl / USA Today Sports