March Madness? Rutgers Is Dancing But No Dice On NJ Bets

The Rutgers University men’s basketball team is going to the Big Dance for the first since 1991.

Official confirmation will come on Selection Sunday.

R-U, Rah Rah.

However, betting on the state university of New Jersey will require a trip across the river.

No, not the Raritan, but the Delaware.

NJ sportsbooks are not permitted to take wagers on any school in the state. So, Garden State residents who want to gamble on the Scarlet Knights in the 2021 NCAA Tournament will have to do so in Pennsylvania.

What are the odds Rutgers makes some noise in March?

Rutgers (15-10, 10-10) is a long shot to cut down the nets in April.
FanDuel Sportsbook in PA posted Rutgers at +8000 to win the 2021 National Championship.

Even making a run to the Final Four is unlikely for Rutgers. DraftKings Sportsbook in PA has the Knights at +1650 to make the semifinals in Indianapolis.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (+250 at William Hill Sportsbook (now Caesars Sportsbook), +300 at BetMGM) are the favorite to win it all with NJ sportsbooks.

Welcome to the Big10, Rutgers

Rutgers plays in the Big 10, the country’s best men’s basketball conference this year. The Big 10 has four teams ranked in the AP Top 10 and five in the Top 25.

DraftKings has Michigan (+450), Illinois (+900), Iowa (+1500), and Ohio State (+1500) among the top eight teams most likely to capture an NCAA title.

Big 10 Conference Tournament play tipped off Wednesday.
Of the 14 Big 10 teams, Rutgers was seeded No. 7. Rutgers won its first-round matchup Thursday against No. 10 Indiana.

RU faced the second seed Fighting Illini Friday night but lost 90-68. Rutgers beat Illinois 91-88 at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) in December.

The Scarlet Knights will now sit back and wait until Selection Sunday.

The RAC was rockin’ in 2020

The Knights would have broken their March Madness drought last season. Rutgers notched a 20-win season in 2019-20 before the global coronavirus pandemic put a hold on everything. Last year’s NCAA Tournament was canceled before it even began

While Rutgers fell short of repeating last season’s magic, Head coach Steve Pikiell’s team was ranked as high as No. 11 in the country. A three-game losing streak in January against Big 10 powerhouses (Iowa, Michigan State, and Ohio State) knocked them out of the Top 25 for good.

When will the (March) Madness end in NJ?

NJ lawmakers have introduced an amendment to the state’s sports betting laws.

The NCAA announced last year that the Prudential Center in Newark would be hosting East Regional games in 2025. That prompted lawmakers to reexamine prohibitions against betting on Garden State schools or collegiate events played in the state.

The status of the NJ sports betting amendment has not changed since 2020. It remains stalled in a legislative committee.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

About the Author

David Danzis

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.