It’s never easy playing the waiting game, especially if you don’t know the outcome.

Case in point: The wait for a decision from the US Supreme Court on the New Jersey sports betting case has reached its final stages. But nothing is assured.

For several years there have been hearings, litigation, and deliberation regarding the legality of the federal sports wagering ban. Nevada is the only state authorized to offer sports betting in the United States.

Oral arguments for Murphy vs. NCAA (formerly Christie vs. NCAA) were heard in December. But there is no timetable set for when SCOTUS is to announce its ruling on the NJ sports betting case. A decision is definitely expected before the Supreme Court’s summer recess in July.

Of course, the odds have leaned in the state’s favor (one pundit closed the line at New Jersey -250). Several states have already lined up legislation to pave the way for sports betting should SCOTUS rule in New Jersey’s favor.

And if SCOTUS does rule in New Jersey’s favor, racetracks and casinos (not to mention NJ gambling sites) in the state would be allowed to offer legalized sports betting.

So while nothing is a given, why not begin planning ahead with the top teams for which to set aside future wagers? (Odds vary, but the following is according to VegasInsider.com.)

New York Yankees

The Bronx Bombers might need a new nickname this season. New York already features young slugger Aaron Judge. Yet the Yankees went out and got reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins.

It is expected that each would belt 50 home runs this season, adding another weapon to a team that reached the ALCS last season.

  • Odds to win the 2018 AL East: 5/6
  • Odds to win the 2018 ALCS: 3/1
  • Odds to win the 2018 World Series: 6/1

Philadelphia Eagles

The NFL is the hottest ticket for sports betting. The Nevada Gaming Control Board released numbers that indicated bettors wagered $4.8 billion in 2017, and the biggest piece of that pie was football.

So it stands to reason that a popular bet would be the newly crowned Super Bowl champions. QB Carson Wentz is on track to return for Philly, and unlikely hero Nick Foles is proving to be a better-than-most Plan B. So the Eagles are one of the favorites to raise the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Atlanta next year.

  • Odds to win 2019 NFC Championship: 9/2
  • Odds to win Super Bowl LIII: 17/2
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Villanova Wildcats

The 2016 NCAA Tournament national champions are currently in the Final Four. They were popular picks to claim the men’s basketball crown heading into March Madness, and they are favorites to win next year as well. Jay Wright benefits from players sticking around for several years, and year after year has Nova poised for a tourney run.

  • Odds to win 2018 NCAA championship: even

New Jersey Devils

Hockey is not among the top sports on which to wager. But the NJ Devils could be an interesting pick for this season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs with middle-of-the-back odds that make the payout well worth a wager.

  • Odds to win 2018 Eastern Conference: 15/1
  • Odds to win 2018 Stanley Cup: 30/1

New York Mets

The National League East is as top heavy as MLB divisions come. The Washington Nationals have won the past two division titles — basically securing them by the all-star break. But the Mets, even after a miserable 70-win season, feature hard-hitting Yoenis Cespedes and a pitching rotation that is nearly back to full health.

  • Odds to win 2018 NL East: 9/2
  • Odds to win 2018 NLCS: 15/1
  • Odds to win 2018 World Series: 35/1

Philadelphia 76ers

Yes. Those 76ers. The franchise that three years ago finished with the third-worst winning percentage (.122) in NBA single-season history. The Process, led by up-and-coming stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, has already improved by 14 wins since last year — with 10 games remaining.

The Sixers sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference but will no doubt need to go through LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at some point.

  • Odds to win the 2018 Eastern Conference: 8/1
  • Odds to win the 2018 NBA Championship: 50/1

Philadelphia Phillies

This might be one of the best single seasons in the city’s history. While the Phillies were the only team to finish worse than the Mets in the NL East — with a mere 66 wins — Philly has been busy in the offseason.

The Phils landed Carlos Santana to complement young slugger Rhys Hoskins, and they picked up Jake Arrieta and shored up their bullpen.

  • Odds to win 2018 NL East: 6/1
  • Odds to win 2018 NLCS: 45/1
  • Odds to win 2018 World Series: 65/1

New York Giants

It’s a long shot, but, hey, so was No. 16 UMBC against top-seeded Virginia in the NCAA tournament.

The Giants had a franchise-worst 3-13 record last season. Yet much of the disastrous campaign can be attributed to major injuries, such as a fractured fibula by star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. Yes, Eli Manning is aging but he is a two-time Super Bowl champ.

The Giants have a top-2 pick in the NFL draft and are under new management and coaching.

  • Odds to win 2019 NFC Championship: 35/1
  • Odds to win Super Bowl LIII: 85/1

2018 US Open

For the fifth time, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club just east of NYC will host the second of the PGA Tour’s four majors. And what a year for it. Tiger Woods is back and looking for his first major championship since winning the 2008 US Open.

Phil Mickelson needs the tourney title to become the sixth golfer ever to complete the career grand slam. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Jason Day all lead a contingent of young players who have carried the sport so well in recent years.

Odds to win a major in 2018:

  • Jordan Spieth: +130
  • Dustin Johnson: +160
  • Rory McIlroy: +275
  • Justin Thomas: +350
  • Hideki Matsuyama: +350
  • Jason  Day: +450
  • Tiger Woods: +500
  • Phil Mickelson: +800

Banking on the long shot in NJ sports betting

If you’re looking for one big payout, this is the place to be. Odds are long, but as Lloyd Christmas said in “Dumb and Dumber”: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

After many clamored that Syracuse did not belong in this year’s NCAA tournament, the No. 11 Orange beat UCLA in the First Four, upset No. 6 TCU in the second round and then beat No. 3 Michigan State to reach the Sweet 16. There are no odds posted yet for next year, but Syracuse — even in a heavy-hitting ACC — could be a nice payout.

In the NFL, the New York Jets hold 50/1 odds to win the 2019 AFC title and are 100/1 to win Super Bowl LIII.

The New York Islanders (100/1 Eastern Conference; 200/1 Stanley Cup) and Rangers (125/1 Eastern Conference; 250/1 Stanley Cup) are big underdogs to make NHL runs this season.

And in college football, Syracuse lays 350/1 to win the CFB National Championship. (Really want to push it? Rutgers is 1,200/1 to win the CFB title.)

Grant Lucas

About

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.