Why College Football Betting Is Still A Big Deal In New Jersey, Despite Restrictions

No college football betting on New Jersey teams? No problem.

Week 1 of the college football season launches a season-long challenge to a staunch industry belief: that New Jersey betting totals suffer from a gambling blackout of in-state teams like Rutgers and Princeton universities.

An unprecedented era begins this weekend and could minimize the roadblock forever.

Sportsbooks have the full-season benefit of mobile betting for the first time. The proliferation of NJ sports betting apps occurred throughout the 2019 season, but more so during the second half of the year.

The pandemic crushed the momentum in 2020, with many college teams choosing not to play.

But this year, given the September start, the bowl season and the BCS, could set wagering records.

Here are five strong arguments, gleaned from research conducted for NJ Gambling Sites by DraftKings and an interview with Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations, to suggest New Jersey and college football betting will be perfect together.

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College football holds its own with bettors

There’s a reason to believe that No. 19 Penn State traveling to No. 12 Wisconsin at high noon on Saturday will spark betting.

Or that defending champion Alabama battling No. 14 Miami at 3:30 will be captivating. Not to mention that No. 3 Clemson and No. 5 Georgia, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in prime time, has already dented the DraftKings Sportsbook prop board (more below).

Early afternoon, late afternoon, and early-evening blockbusters.  What an opening day with high-level matchups and a ton of games.

Those bets add up.

The NFL will act as a trailblazer for New Jersey’s attempt to reach $1 billion in monthly handle during any given football month this fall. When it does happen, it will make NJ sports betting history.

Guess what is second?

“College football is right up there in terms of handle,” Avello told NJ Gambling Sites.

“Some bettors believe their strength is in the college game. They get a better feel for it than the pros.

“And look at the number of games up there every week. In the pros, you can have 15 or 16 early in the season, but when the bye weeks start to come in, you are at some point down to 12. Once in a while, some of those matchups are lousy and you have even fewer betting options.

“With college we’ve got 50 games up there in a given week,” he added. “What you have to love about it too is the fact that after you bet all those games during the afternoon, you have games starting close to midnight on the East Coast (from California, Oregon, even Hawaii) and the bettors are playing those games. They love having something to play late.”

Garden State gamblers love the Top 25

Hey, there’s Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas A & M, and West Virginia, among others decorating the rankings. Don’t forget OklahomaIowa State, Cincinnati, and Notre Dame.

There is a slew of Top-25 matchups every week. There’s the weekly shuffle of teams moving in and out of the Top 25.  And the debate, starting in November, about who belongs in the BCS.

DraftKings research compiled for NJ Gambling Sites indicates Alabama is the top choice of Garden State gamblers in recent times. It also determined that college football betting is alive and well here.

“New Jersey is one of the top handles in the country,” said Avello. “In order for the state to get that top handle continuously, they have to be betting college as well as pro sports.

“Just because they can’t bet the local teams, who cares?” he continued. “That doesn’t matter to them. College football gets more ink than the pros. Bettors can familiarize themselves with the national teams.

“We’re coming out of the box and we already have a high-profile game with Clemson and Georgia.

Books apply promos to college sports

It’s not too late to get yours for the opening weekend. The latest DraftKings promo is $25, gift-wrapped around the Georgia-Clemson contest in a popular promotion dubbed Hammer the Over.

Every 2,500 bettors who participate knocks the odds down half a point from the actual over-under of 51.

Garden State gamblers are hammering. If this was a fight, they’d stop it.

As the clock struck midnight Wednesday morning, the number was closing in on 18.5. As of the mid-Wednesday afternoon, it moved to 15.5.

New Jersey bettors are playing their part hammering the over into submission.

This is an example of books utilizing tools that have grown during the ascent of legalized sports betting.

The books get it.  DraftKings, Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, FanDuel Sportsbook, PointsBet, and WynnBET, among others, use their sites as recruitment tools. It’s always smart to see what they offer.

Bettors have an early advantage

Sportsbooks can’t monitor every team, every conference, and every nuance, even though they are quite proficient. Unlike professional football, the college game has an avalanche of twists and turns.

“In college football, if you are a savvy handicapper and you do a lot of research, you will find some weak spots in the first week or so,” Avello noted.

“In pro football, we know each and every year that Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. You know the scenario.

“But some teams are not going to be anywhere near the team they were a year ago and that’s hard for us to determine right away. Alabama can lose six-star players but you know that they are going to reload.

“But some teams don’t reload like that.”

New Jersey bettors most likely don’t care where the weak spot is. They will find it and play it.

College football enjoys numerous intangibles

They occur early, often, and with impact.

Intangible number one occurs on the very first weekend.  College football has the stage to itself.  There is no professional schedule until Sept. 9.

The first weekend should be gambling gangbusters.

The NFL Draft provides another strong boost. College programs are spotlighted and graduates are monitored in the NFL. College stats are continually discussed for a couple of months leading to April. This is all good for the college game.

Another edge comes from the ability to cash in on an angle.  Think you have figured out whether an obscure Pac-12 game will hit a total beyond 90? Play it. In New Jersey.

Here’s one more. College alumni. Many have money and many live in New Jersey. Bet the alma mater. Maybe with an odds boost.

The intangibles and the alliance between the books and college sports betting appear endless.

AP Photo/Butch Dill




About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.