Steelers’ Cross-State Victory Also Provided A Win For Their Betting Backers

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It wasn’t just the Steelers and their fans who emerged victorious from a 38-29 win Sunday in the cross-state rivalry with the Eagles — it was those that bet on them as well.

And plenty did.

Rush Street Interactive, which operates the BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse sites in Pennsylvania, reported that among all its multi-state sites, the Steelers-Eagles game was the most heavily bet among the NFL’s 1 p.m. games. Within Pennsylvania, it received the biggest betting volume of all of Sunday’s games.

And most of that money went the Steelers’ way as 7-point favorites. Rush Street reported after the game that 77% of the betting handle nationally and 76% within Pennsylvania backed the Steelers, who were also more than -300 favorites on the moneyline.

FanDuel, which handles the biggest volume among the 10 online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania, reported from across its multi-state sites that 66% of its point spread bets and 71% of point spread money were on the Steelers.

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Eagles D couldn’t help Eagles bettors

The game had plenty to hold interest for most bettors, though those who preferred the high side of an over/under around 44.5 could already count that as a win early in the second half, when the Steelers jumped ahead 31-14. (FanDuel said 64% of o/u bettors had the over.)

Eagles bettors at +7 could be forgiven for switching channels at that point, but if they turned back in the fourth quarter, they were rewarded with a 31-29 scoreboard.

Even though the Steelers had the ball in Eagles territory with three minutes left, all the Philly defense needed to do was hold them to a field goal to put a smile on the face of those taking the points.

That’s when Ben Roethlisberger hit wide-open wide receiver Chase Claypool with a pass for the rookie’s fourth touchdown of the game and the final score, breaking the hearts of Eagles coaches, players, fans, and bettors alike.

Rush Street noted in a press release that more than a dozen Pennsylvania bettors had taken its odds of 18/1 for Claypool to score 2-plus TDs. (No one, apparently, was offered the choice of astronomical odds for him to score 3-plus or 4-plus TDs, as that’s, well, just too ludicrous to imagine him doing.)

But the Eagles’ odds in NFC East improved

Now both Pennsylvania teams face challenging contests Sunday, with the undefeated Steelers deemed an early 4- to 4.5-point favorite hosting the Cleveland Browns and the Eagles a 7.5-point home underdog against the Baltimore Ravens.

But something very unusual happened after the game to their odds of winning their divisions — the losing team improved its perceived chances more than the winning team.

Despite their record dropping to 1-3-1, putting the Eagles a half-game behind the Dallas Cowboys when they had been a half-game ahead at the start of the day, Philadelphia’s NFL East-winning odds improved to +130 from +140 at FanDuel and to +120 from +140 at DraftKings.

The reason seems clear: While the Cowboys rallied for a 37-34 win over the New York Giants, they lost star quarterback Dak Prescott for the season due to a gruesome ankle injury. Ex-Bengal Andy Dalton is taking his place.

The Steelers, though their 4-0 record is a half-game better than that of the Ravens, remain just +220 to win the AFC North, according to FanDuel, and +225, according to DraftKings. Those odds represent slight improvements from +230 at both sites before the Steelers and Ravens each won Sunday.

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Gary Rotstein

Gary is a longtime journalist, having spent three decades covering gambling, state government, and other issues for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in addition to stints as managing editor of the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette and as a reporter for United Press International and the Middletown (Conn.) Press. Contact Gary at gary@usbets.com.

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