Best Of The Books: Mainstream PA Sports Restart Plans, PGA Tees Up, Golf Promos

Posted on June 11, 2020 - Last Updated on June 3, 2020

You are never more honest than you are with your search engine. And for the past few months my most common queries were “Anxiety attack or coronavirus?” and “When are major sports coming back?”

The answer to the latter is getting clearer.

When mainstream sports return they will provide a big boost to Pennsylvania’s nine online sportsbooks.

Some sports, like NASCAR and golf are returning. That takes the pressure off of table tennis – which has accounted for a larger-than-you-would-think handle during coronavirus closures.

Each week we take a look around the books to bring you some highlights.

When do sports come back?

Perhaps the two cold brews in the morning don’t help anxiety but they start the engine. I’ll get back to diagnosing myself via Dr. Google. In the meantime, here is a quick breakdown on when sports will come back.

NBA restart

Stopped: March 12

What’s the plan? Training camps at the Disney campus in Orlando around July 7. Twenty-two of 30 teams are returning to play based on their records – nine Eastern Conference teams and 13 conference teams.

When NBA games resume, here’s how it will unfold at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex:

  • An eight-game slate of games
  • Possible play-in game for the eight seed in each conference
  • 16-team playoff

When does the NBA season restart: Tentative start date July 30

NHL restart

Stopped: March 12

Plan to restart: 24 team playoff in two hub cities. Round Robin games to determine seeding. Top four teams in each conference (Philadelphia Flyers) play round robin games to determine seeding. The other eight teams in the conference play a best of five series (Montreal Canadians vs. Pittsburgh Penguins) for the right to advance to the first round.

When will NHL season restart? Training camps can’t start before July 1. So, expect the puck to drop again in late July/early August.

MLB restart

Stopped: March 12

What’s the plan? None, as of now. But yesterday MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “We’re going to play baseball in 2020. One hundred percent.”

NFL restart

Stopped: After the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in the Super Bowl LIV. That was in 2020…really.

What’s the plan? The NFL is moving forward as if an on-time full season is a certainty.

When does the NFL season start? The first preseason game is August 6. No betting lines are up for preseason games but there are early season NFL betting lines available at PA sportsbooks.

NCAA Football plans

Stopped: On January 13 when LSU beat Clemson 42-25 to win the National Championship.

What’s the plan? The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is finalizing a six-week practice plan that would have to be approved by approved by the NCAA Division I council at its June 17 meeting.

When does NCAA Football start: Saturday, Aug. 29. Some PA sportsbooks like FanDuel have 2020 college football lines for games throughout the season posted now.

Betfred to join PA sportsbooks

Pennsylvania is adding another online sportsbook to its growing roster.

At Wednesday’s Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting, Wind Creek Bethlehem got granted approval to offer online and retail sports betting. Plans include both retail and mobile sports betting in partnership with UK-based bookmaker Betfred.

Expect Betfred to debut online (web and mobile) prior to the retail sportsbook. No date was given for the mobile sportbook launch but the retail book is targeting a Nov. 21 opening.

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DraftKings golf promos

Golf – this time without two G.O.A.T. NFL quarterbacks teaming with two of golf’s all-timers – is back. The PGA returns on June 11 followed by four days of action for bettors with the Charles Schwab Classic at Colonial Country Club.

DraftKings Sportsbook PA has teed up some promotions for the PGA’s return:

  • Bettors who opt in and place a $25 or more pre-tournament wager on a golfer to win will receive $2 toward a Free Bet for every stroke a user’s player finishes under par for the tournament.
  • Players who opt in and place $20 or more of live bets on the tournament will get a free $20 live bet to use during the event.

Big name golfers are the favorites including No. 1 Rory McIlroy (+950), who is the favorite across PA betting apps.

Rounding out the other top choices are: Jon Rahm is +1150 and Justin Thomas is +1450 at DraftKings. Webb Simpson (+2200), Bryson Dechambeau (+2500), and Brooks Koepka (+2500) are also among the favorites.

Prices are available for the entire field and other betting markets such as finishing in the top 5, top 10, making/missing the cut.

FanDuel golf favorites

As of Thursday morning, here are the golfers who earned bettors’ favor at FanDuel online sportsbook.

By bet count:

  • Brooks Koepka
  • Rory McIlroy
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Justin Thomas
  • Rickie Fowler

Biggest bet on any single golfer for the Charles Schwab Challenge:

  • $2,000 on Rory McIlroy at +700, for a possible payout of $16,000

The highest handle on a player to miss the cut is Justin Thomas at +350

The FanDuel Sportsbook is also offering multiple odds boosts for the tournament:

    • Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm or Justin Thomas to win boosted from +300 to +375. (Max bet $50)
    • Brooks Koepka to finish top 10 + Ties boosted from +300 to +350. (Max bet $50)

BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse have high hopes

With the return of the PGA Tour, BetRivers Sportsbook and PlaySugarHouse expect to see one of the highest handles ever for a golf event in the United States.

Mattias Stetz, the C.O.O of Rush Street Interactive, which operates BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse said:

“Golf is really popular with our bettors, as we saw with The Match 2 being the highest handle event outside a major in the US. We are looking forward to this weekend’s event, and expect the four days to beat the handle of any previous golf event, including any of the majors.”

2020 Charles Schwab Challenge Odds at BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com:

  • Rory McIlroy (+800)
  • Jon Rahm (+1100)
  • Justin Thomas (+1600)
  • Webb Simpson (+2000)
  • Bryson DeChambeau (+2200)
  • Brooks Koepka (+2200)
  • Dustin Johnson (+2800)
  • Patrick Reed (+2800)
  • Xander Schauffele (+2800)
  • Rickie Fowler (+3300)

Rivers rolling

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh reopened on June 9. Shortly after welcoming back visitors for the first time in over eighty-five days, there was a $4,000 slot winner. Rivers said they rewarded over $500,000 in jackpots on their reopening day.

BetRivers winner

Katie Kohler Avatar
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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