Sports betting overload season is here.
On the heels of a thrilling (if needlessly delayed by pointless reviews of pass interference non-calls) Thursday night football showdown between the Seahawks and Rams, we now get a weekend filled with 13 more NFL games (including a rivalry game for the Steelers), two top-10 college football teams going at it, eight baseball playoff games in three days, the first weekend of NHL action, and a major boxing match at Madison Square Garden.
If you live in or near Pennsylvania and have access to one of the five online/mobile sports betting sites and can’t find something to bet on this weekend, you’re simply not trying hard enough.
FanDuel’s fan-friendly promotions
FanDuel Sportsbook has been the most popular book in New Jersey all year and jumped to the front of the pack in PA in its first full month, and its top rival in NJ, DraftKings, is still at least a month away from launching in the Keystone State. So this weekend, FD will keep doing what it does best to widen the gap and steepen the eventual climb for DK: offer plus-EV betting opportunities all over the board.
The biggest college football game of the week pits seventh-ranked Auburn against 10th-ranked Florida in Gainesville on Saturday afternoon in a meeting of 5-0 powerhouses, and FanDuel is offering a bail-out for bettors if the game is close. With “Close Loss Insurance,” any moneyline bet will be refunded (up to $50) if the team you back loses by six points or less. As of Friday morning, the Gators are +120 on the moneyline, while the visiting Tigers are -140 favorites.
FanDuel’s close-loss insurance extends to every single NFL game as well. If you want to back one of the two in-state teams to win but want a safety net in case they lose narrowly, the Eagles are -700 to prevail against the Jets (still starting Luke Falk at QB, by the way), while the Steelers are a tantalizing +152 at home against division rival Baltimore.
FD is also rolling out its MLB run bonus for Friday night’s playoff series opener between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. Bettors need to risk $25 or more on the moneyline (Yanks are -198, Twins +170) and, win or lose, they get a $5 bonus for each run their team scores.
There are also various small college football odds boosts available, including one on Penn State, from -110 to +110, to cover as 28½-point favorites against Purdue.
The game of the weekend
With all due respect to Steelers-Ravens (and with little respect to the Eagles-Jets probable mismatch), the most meaningful showdown on the NFL slate is Green Bay facing Dallas at Cowboys Stadium. Here’s how the PA sites see the game (note that Play SugarHouse has the same odds as BetRivers and Parx, as they’re all partnered with Kambi):
|Green Bay moneyline
Often in these “weekend betting preview” articles, we point out the value in odds shopping at all the various sites. This is one game where there’s not much point in doing that. The lines are almost completely homogenous, with the only differentiator being a few cents on the moneylines.
Baseball, boxing, and hockey, oh my
If football isn’t your thing — or if you like having more than one thing — you might be excited about the MLB playoffs swinging into full gear this weekend, starting with four games on Friday.
FOX Bet, which hasn’t yet announced its weekend boosts with Colin Cowherd or Clay Travis’ names attached, offers a small odds boost just for Friday’s games, if you smell an upset in the American League. FOX Bet has increased the payout from -167 to -150 if either the Rays top the Astros or the Twins upend the Yankees.
Of course, there are also series-long and World Series futures bets available at all sites — though you have to be a Houston mattress magnate to get seven figures down on the favored Astros.
The puck has dropped on the NHL season, with the Flyers’ first faceoff coming at 2 p.m. today against Chicago and the Penguins looking for their first win on Saturday night against Columbus.
FanDuel has the top payout in the state if you want to take a shot on the Pens to hoist the Stanley Cup (25/1), while FOX Bet has the best Flyers championship odds (40/1).
Meanwhile, one of the biggest stars in boxing, Kazakh middleweight Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin, takes center ring at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” meeting once-beaten Ukrainian Sergey Derevyanchenko in about as credible a test as he could find in a world in which Canelo Alvarez isn’t interested in facing him a third time.
At the Kambi sites, Golovkin is a -500 favorite, while the Derevyanchenko upset pays +350. FanDuel has the fighters at -650 and +400, respectively. At FOX Bet, they’re -500 and +333.
If you aren’t crazy about laying a big price on GGG, you can try to guess whether or not he scores the knockout. The best odds on a KO victory are +125 at Play SugarHouse and the other Kambi sites, while Golovkin by decision pays +135 at FOX Bet. (FanDuel, which tends to have limited boxing betting options, doesn’t have any markets beyond straight winner picks posted yet.)
PA Pick ’Em update
While the Kambi sites don’t have much in the way of promotions and boosts for the weekend, we are reaching Week 5 of the $500k Pennsylvania Pick ’Em contest, in which entrants pick winners all season long in all games starting at 1 p.m. ET Sunday or later.
Through four weeks, “BigDaddy50” leads the way with 46 correct (out of 58), putting that entry in the pole position for the $125k first-place prize.
Meanwhile, “GR81” leads the way in the competition for most incorrect picks with 45 — which is shaping up as a massive strategic blunder.
To have 45 wrong so far, GR81 must be picking losers intentionally. So if the entrant reversed all those picks and had 45 right, the entry would be in second place overall, positioned for $40k, with a shot at $125k, and in tremendous shape to cash. Instead, that entry is vying for $2,500 for the worst score — and if it slips to second-worst score, it gets nothing.
Photo by Eric Hartline / USA Today Sports