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Philadelphia area sports books closer to opening | Sports betting notes

Other than specific launch dates, here’s what we know about the four currently licensed Southeastern Pennsylvania sportsbook locations.

A sneak peek behind the curtains of the SugarHouse's sports book, which will be opening soon.
A sneak peek behind the curtains of the SugarHouse's sports book, which will be opening soon.Read moreEd Barkowitz / Staff

The billboards along the highways and in the casino tout that sports betting at the SugarHouse will open soon. Been that way for a couple weeks, at least.

“Soon” is as specific as executives want to get. Understandable, though, for them not wanting to be more precise. Whether it’s wiring the sports book, training the staff or getting in line with the state gaming commission, opening a sportsbook isn’t nearly as easy as it seems. So don’t discard your bookie’s number just yet.

At a licensing hearing with the Pennsylvania gaming commission on Oct. 31, a SugarHouse official hoped the sportsbook would be open by Dec. 1. That’s this Saturday, and all indications are that’s not going to happen. SugarHouse -- and Parx -- cleared another regulatory hurdle Wednesday. They are close. But so’s Christmas.

Other than specific launch dates, here’s what we know about the four currently licensed Southeastern Pennsylvania sportsbook locations. (Valley Forge’s license application is still being reviewed by the state. Earliest it could be approved is Dec. 19.)

  1. Parx in Bensalem also is opening a temporary spot, but it looks pretty sharp. The room, the old 360 Lounge, has an impressive array of televisions and plenty of space for seating. It is also a few weeks away, hopefully during college football’s bowl season. The permanent sportsbook will be a 10,000-square-foot room near the Liberty Bell gastropub. Officials are  hoping to open a beer garden in the spring. Could be quite a spot for the Kentucky Derby.

  2. Parx turf club in South Philly will be next. It is transforming the room in the northwest corner of the property. It’ll be small, especially if even a slice of 70,000 fans stop in before an Eagles home game. After Monday, though, the Birds' only remaining regular-season home game will be Dec. 23 against the Texans.

  3. Harrah’s in Chester has determined the location for its 'book -- way in the back of the casino floor -- but windows haven’t been installed. Maybe they’ll be open for the NFL’s conference championships.


This is how good Vegas is. There have been 37 prime-time games this season entering New Orleans' visit to Dallas on Thursday night. The home team is 17-18-2 against the spread.

The Eagles are 2-1 ATS in night games this season (beat Atlanta, N.Y. Giants; lost to Dallas) and 5-2 under the lights the last two years when Carson Wentz starts.

Recently, the Eagles are 1-4 against the number and the under has hit in four of their last five. The Redskins covered five of six before Alex Smith went down. Three of their last four have been over, but with a new quarterback, any of their numbers come with an asterisk.

Colt McCoy has never started against a Jim Schwartz-coached defense, but Wentz is 2-0 against Washington d-coordinator Greg Manusky. Wentz threw four TD passes when Washington visited the Linc for a Monday nighter last season. He also had that wild scramble for 17 yards after he appeared sacked.

A few other 2018 prime-time game stats through Week 12:

  1. Over is 20-17.

  2. Home teams are 15-12 ATS as favorites.

  3. Home teams favored between 6 to 8 points are just 1-4 ATS.

  4. The over is 8-4 when the line is between 43 and 46 points.

Vic’s Thursday pick handicapper Vegas Vic offers his pick:

Double V is actually excited for a Thursday nighter, and Drew Brees is the reason.

Start out with some interesting matchup details in this one. The Cowboys have the NFL’s leading rusher in Ezekiel Elliott with 1,074 yards, while the Saints have the NFL’s leading rushing defense, allowing only 73.2 yards per game. Call it a wash. However, if you’re into comparative scores, check this out: Dallas is coming off a 31-23 victory over Washington. New Orleans beat the Redskins, 43-19. Dallas just barely squeezed past Atlanta, 22-19. New Orleans rocked the Falcons, 31-17. And while the Cowboys posted a 27-20 win against Philly, the Saints absolutely CRUSHED the Eagles, 48-7. (Perhaps you heard about that one.)

New Orleans roars into the Big D on a 10-0 straight-up run, 9-0 against the spread. Starting to look a lot like the 2009 season when the Saints opened 13-0 and went on to win the Super Bowl. And the final words should be about Brees. Why? Because he leads the NFL in passer rating at 127.3, and has completed 76.4 percent of his passes, with 29 TDs and only 2 INTs.

You know whom I’m marching with, and it’s $55 to win $50 New Orleans.

This and that

The over has hit in Alabama’s last five SEC title games, and all have been with Nick Saban as coach. The Tide are 5-0 straight-up, 3-2 against the spread. ... Clemson, laying 27.5 to Pittsburgh, is 1-5 ATS this season when laying 20 or more. ... The Packers are laying 14 to Arizona, the fourth time this season the Cardinals are double-digit underdogs. They are 1-2 ATS. ... The Sports Business Journal reports that the deal announced between Major League Baseball and MGM is for $80 million over four years. It’s also awakened supporters of Pete Rose, who think his lifetime ban for gambling should be overturned.

8:20 p.m. (Fox/NFLN)
8:15 p.m. (ESPN)