This weekend marks the first time you can legally bet on the English Premier League online in Pennsylvania. So for those of you soccer fans who want to get in on the action, let’s take a look at the four available sportsbooks and where you can play this weekend.
1. SugarHouse Sportsbook
SugarHouse is our pick for best all-around sportsbook in Pennsylvania. While they don’t offer an iOS app, you can bet through the mobile web. They also have no shortage of action, in-game odds, and a $250 sign-up bonus that is the best in the market because of its 1x play through requirement, meaning you only have to bet the bonus money once before it is eligible to be withdrawn.
2. FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel is our next best choice. If you must have an iOS app, there really is no better option. FanDuel has the best interface among all legal sports betting sites. They offer the most EPL-specific action. Though their sign up bonuses only a $500 risk-free bet, meaning if you want the full amount, you’re going to have to risk $500… or not risk it, according to their promo terms.
BetRivers is nearly identical to SugarHouse Sportsbook. It has the same parent company. But for those of you in Pittsburgh who are more familiar with the brand, it’s worth signing up for to make you feel safe at home.
4. Parx Sportsbook
They do offer an iOS app. However, their interface is.. well, it’s not great. It’s a bit buggy, not intuitive, and features a weird color flashing thing as you scroll because the background layer is different from the front layer. And it needs a lot of work, period.
Some notable props to look at for this weekend, courtesy of our esteemed soccer writers, as follows.
WEST HAM UNITED v. MANCHESTER CITY
Both teams to score (yes) at -110
Manchester City is in the midst of a ridiculous run of form against West Ham. The Citizens have won eight straight matches against the Hammers in all competitions. In their two Premier League meetings last season, City won 1-0 at home and 4-0 away. But that bit of data runs counter to just about all of the other indicators.
West Ham scored at least once in each of their last five league matches last season. Additionally, West Ham played City in the Premier League Asia Trophy semi-final in July and lost 4-1. Prior to last season’s two-legged whitewash by City, the Hammers had scored at least once against City in five of their prior six league matches, including a draw and a win. So there isn’t much value in West Ham to win or to draw in this match, but you should be able to count on them to score. If they do, that ought to be enough – West Ham hasn’t shut City out since November 3, 2012.
Add to that the fact that the Hammers spent legitimate money in the summer transfer window – Sebastian Haller (from Eintracht Frankfurt for £45m) and Pablo Fornals (from Villarreal in a deal worth £24m) – and it looks like West Ham should at the least score once in their home opener.
NEWCASTLE UNITED v. ARSENAL
Arsenal to win at -125
These two storied clubs are going in separate directions; some might say they are simply reverting to what they generally have been. Arsenal spent significant money in the summer transfer window. They bought Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72m. Pepe had 23 goals and 12 assists in 41 games in Ligue 1 last season. The Gunners also added David Luiz to handle central defense and brought in Kieran Tierney from Celtic to further bolster the backline.
Meanwhile at Newcastle, Rafa Benitez finally tired of trying to wring results from a threadbare squad and left the club. He wasn’t the only one. Ayoze Perez is now at Leicester City. Journeyman English manager Steve Bruce has been brought in to fill the void left by the departure of Benitez. Early indications are, well, not great. Per the BBC, Bruce brought in veteran, oft-injured striker Andy Carroll at the transfer deadline because, get this: “He [Carroll] was desperate – a bit like myself, I suppose – to come back.” Woof.
If this match was played in London, Arsenal would probably be a prohibitive favorite, perhaps in the -260 range. Being at home is normally an advantage, but the unrest in Newcastle these days makes for difficult conditions for a Magpies side that may be headed for relegation.
MANCHESTER UNITED v. CHELSEA
Both Teams To Score” (Yes -130/No +102)
When two teams are as evenly matched on paper as Chelsea and Manchester United, it’s worth taking a look at other related prop bets.
The biggest issue with betting this early in the season is the lack of trend data to rely on. That said, throwing down some money on both teams to score makes a ton of sense for a few reasons. Chelsea hasn’t failed to score from the run of play since a shootout loss to Manchester City on February 24. Interestingly enough, excluding a 3-0 shutout loss in the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, February 24 is also the same date as the last time United failed to score from the run of play in the EPL in a 0-0 draw versus Liverpool at Old Trafford.
This is worth putting some money on. Chelsea’s addition of American wunderkind Christian Pulisic will lead to plenty of international eyes, while United looks to counter with strikeforce that suddenly finds itself without Romelu Lukaku, who completed a transfer to Inter Milan on Thursday. I’d lean to both teams scoring, but if you don’t like the United strikers or believe that Chelsea will bunker on the road, there’s some value that one team won’t score at +102.