The NFL playoffs continue with the divisional round this weekend and the list of places Pennsylvanians can bet on the games is a growing one.
Of course, there is a ton of local interest in the games with the dream of back-to-back Super Bowl wins still alive for the Philadelphia Eagles, one of eight teams playing this weekend. This weekend’s four games will decide who moves on to the AFC and NFC Championship games. The games are:
- Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (Jan. 12)
- Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (Jan. 12)
- Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (Jan. 13)
- Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (Jan. 13)
Legal PA sports betting launched in November 2018. There are now four retail sportsbooks open across the state offering various lines on NFL playoff games:
- Hollywood Casino in Grantville (William Hill) launched Nov. 16, 2018
- SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia (Kambi) launched Dec. 13, 2018
- Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh (Kambi) launched Dec. 13, 2018
- Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem (Kambi) launched Jan. 8, 2019
Plus, Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester is planning to launch a sportsbook of its own sometime in January. Additionally, Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia will follow suit in March with partner FanDuel.
You can check each of the retail sportsbooks’ lines online, that way you know what is being offered before you get there.
Online and mobile sports betting
Online and mobile sports betting has yet to launch in PA. However, Pennsylvanians are free to download mobile sports betting apps from New Jersey and use them to bet on the games once they are across the state line. The NJ apps use geolocation software to make sure all bets are made inside New Jersey. However, you can always check the lines from inside PA.
There are there are currently eight NJ online and mobile sports betting operations offering lines on NFL playoff games. These are:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- William Hill
- 888 sportsbook
Since several of these apps are powered by the same Kambi and William Hill software the four retail sports betting operations in PA are, players should find similar lines on the NFL playoff games among them all. However, it’s always a good idea to shop around.
How to bet on the NFL playoffs
Of course, knowing where to bet is only half the battle. You’ve also got to know how to bet on NFL playoff games.
However, PA sportsbooks and NJ online and mobile sports betting apps offer a series of simple and easy ways to get on on the NFL playoff action. These basic bets include:
- Point spreads
Moneylines and point spreads
Moneyline bets are as easy as it gets. All you have to do is pick the outright winner of the game. The bets then pay according to a team’s probability of winning.
Moneyline odds are expressed as either a positive (+) or negative (-) number. A negative number means that team is the favorite. The number negative represents the amount you’ll need to bet to win $100 plus your bet back. Positive numbers are for underdogs and represent how much a $100 bet can win.
Most PA sportsbooks will have the Saints as the heavy moneyline favorite over the Eagles. The line should hover somewhere around Eagles +330 and Saints -400. That means a $100 bet on the Eagles will win $330 plus your bet back. Or, you’ll have to bet $400 on the Saints just to win $100 and your bet back.
Point spread bets are almost as simple. These bets require you to pick the winner of the game with a line set by oddsmakers factored in.
Most PA sportsbooks will have the Saints (-8) as about an eight-point favorite over the Eagles (+8). That means the Saints need to win by nine or more for Saints point spread bets to pay off. If the Eagles win, or the Saints win by seven or less, Eagles point spread bets pay. All point spread bets booked at eight points are a push if the Saints win by exactly eight points.
Of course, these lines can and will move throughout the week based on how much is being bet on either side.
Over/under, parlays, futures and advanced NFL betting
Finally, the third basic bet on NFL playoff games at PA sportsbooks is the over/under. These bets require you to choose whether the total points scored by both teams in the game will be over or under a number set by oddsmakers. It really is that simple.
PA sportsbooks will likely set the over/under at around 55 points for Eagles-Saints.
Of course, you can always combine two or more of these basic bets for any of the NFL Divisional Round playoff games to create a parlay. Parlays pay better than single-game bets. However, the trick is you have to win all the bets that are part of your parlay for it to pay.
If you want to go beyond the basics, most PA sportsbooks will also offer a variety of advanced betting options on the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.
This might include first and second half point spread bets or single team over/unders. It will almost certainly also include NFL futures, allowing you to pick a team now that you think will win the NFC and AFC championship or the Super Bowl.
Most PA sportsbooks will also offer live in-play betting on NFL playoff games. This allows anyone watching games at a sportsbook to make in-play point spread and moneyline bets with changing odds as the action continues.
Finally, a number of PA sportsbooks will also offer proposition bets on NFL playoff games. These propositions allow you to bet on things like who will score first, or which team or individual player will lead the game in rushing yards.