The Steelers’ once-promising season ended in collapse and controversy, with Antonio Brown on the sidelines and Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes resting on, of all teams, the Cleveland Browns. The Eagles’ Super Bowl title defense ran hot and cold and ended with the ball slipping through normally sure-handed Alshon Jeffrey’s fingers.
So football fans in Pennsylvania aren’t necessarily as pumped for the big game on Sunday, between the L.A. Rams and the New England Patriots, as they have been in other recent years.
Thankfully, the arrival of legal sports betting gives them a new reason to be as invested, so to speak, as ever.
Since November, six venues have opened brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in the Keystone State, and with online/mobile betting still seemingly a few months away, a trip to the casino is the only way to bet legally in the state. As you’d assume, it’s “prop ‘til you drop” at all of the books, with a wide menu of betting options everywhere. And for their first Super Bowls, some of the venues are taking extra steps to make the sportsbook the perfect place to spend your Sunday.
Here’s a roundup of all the options and offerings:
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
We’ll look first at the casino that opened its sportsbook first. There’s no competition in this part of the state, near Harrisburg; Penn National is the only game in town when it comes to legal sports betting.
And as such, they are “planning for a terrific turnout from our sports wagering fans for the first pro football championship game since our sportsbook opened,” Penn National Gaming Vice President of Public Affairs Jeff Morris told Penn Bets. “Our Skybox Sportsbar will be a great place to stay and watch the game and enjoy various food and beverage features.”
Hollywood Casino’s William Hill Sportsbook opens at 9 a.m. Sunday, with a full assortment of props available. One highly intriguing number: They have Rams QB Jared Goff at 7/2 to win MVP, when he’s in the neighborhood of +200 at most books. If you think L.A. can pull off the mild upset, +350 on Goff as MVP might be the smart way to go instead of +120 on the Rams moneyline.
Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
Like Hollywood, there’s not much in the way of competition for Rivers Casino in Steelers country.
Rivers’ 3,000-square-foot sportsbook has seating for just shy of 100 guests, with a 14’ x 7’ LED video wall and 15 additional flat-screen TVs. But it’s mostly business-as-usual there on Super Bowl Sunday.
There is a lot attention being paid at the sportsbook, however, to Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, a Pitt alum. MVP odds on Donald opened at 25/1 and are now down to 14/1, and there are several fun props on Donald:
- Will Donald have a sack?
- Will Donald have the game’s first sack?
- Which number will be higher: Donald sacks or Rob Gronkowski touchdowns?
Unlike the central and western parts of the state, the Philadelphia-area market is crowded and competitive.
In the heart of the city, SugarHouse Casino, which has the same parent company as Rivers (Rush Street Gaming), opened Philly’s first sportsbook and has a couple of fun prop bets spun off of last year’s Eagles Super Bowl win on tap for the locals:
- Will either quarterback throw for more yards than Nick Foles’ 373 last year? (The “yes” is +200)
- Will a quarterback catch a touchdown pass? (The “yes” is +2000)
The bettors at SugarHouse are collectively expecting a high-scoring game, as so far, 70% of the bets and 83% of the money are on over 56½ points.
Club chairs and table seating in SugarHouse’s 1,800-square-foot temporary sportsbook accommodate approximately 70 guests, and additional seats and viewing are available in the casino’s Fishtown Hops bar.
“People are thrilled that they can head to SugarHouse Casino to make a legal wager on the game for the first time ever in Philadelphia,” says SugarHouse Vice President and General Counsel Evan Davis. “We offer a phenomenal viewing experience and expect to have a lot of people here Sunday who may normally watch games at a bar, but may want to wager on the game or even play a few hands of blackjack instead of watching the halftime show. We’ve offered a wide variety of wagering options ranging from whether a team will score a two-point conversion to an over/under on the jersey number of the player who scores the first touchdown.”
Parx Casino, South Philadelphia Turf Club
The betting odds and options are mostly the same at these two Greenwood Gaming properties (and can easily be found online thanks to the Parx Betslip Builder), so which location a football fan chooses might come down to location and convenience. If you’re near the stadiums in South Philly, the Turf Club makes sense. If you’re in the ‘burbs, maybe you go with Pennsylvania’s most popular casino, Parx in Bensalem.
Need a tiebreaker? Parx is hosting a “Big Game Watch Party” in the new Beer Garden and Liberty Bell Gastropub, and beloved former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook will be making a guest appearance.
At Parx’s temporary sportsbook, seating is limited. That makes the beer garden, which opened last weekend, a welcomed game-day addition.
Looking for food and drink specials? On Super Bowl Sunday, it’s just $9 for any Pub Wings order, short rib poutine, burger from Liberty Bell, or pizza from Oliveto, and a mere $3 for Bud Light, Yuengling Lager, and Goose Island IPA 10-ounce drafts.
Oh, and for Eagles fans with fond memories of the “double doink” a few weeks ago, Parx and the Turf Club are offering a Super Bowl prop bet on whether a kick will hit the upright. Sorry, Bears fans.
South of Philly in Delaware County sits the latest sportsbook to open in PA, and Harrah’s Philadelphia is trying something a little more ambitious in terms of accomodations for the big game.
Harrah’s is hosting a Super Bowl Party in its Event Center starting at 5:30, with an all-you-can-eat buffet and a cash bar. The cost of admission is $50 per person.
Meanwhile, at the brand new sportsbook, appropriately named “The Book,” seats range from $50 for a bench seat, to $75 for a bar seat, to $100 for a stadium chair, covering food and access to a cash bar.
Granted, paying money for a place to watch the game isn’t for everyone. But, for starters, the money does cover your food. And more to the point: If you make big enough bets on the game, it’ll all just feel like a very small vig.
Photo by Lunasee Studios / Shutterstock.com
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