Fill The March Madness Void: Early Look At 2020-21 NCAA Championship Odds

NJ sports betting apps posted the early 2021 March Madness odds. It means the NCAA champion futures market is open, only with a much longer wait.

The major void of March Madness betting is still lingering over the sports world.

The Final Four was supposed to take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on April 4. The national championship game was scheduled for April 6.

COVID-19 and social distancing gave a whole new meaning to busted brackets.  CBS has been replaying classic games in NCAA Tournament history to fill the void.

Instead of letting it serve as a source of “March Sadness,” you can start counting down to the 2021 Big Dance.

And, here’s the better part: mobile sports betting apps in New Jersey have posted the early odds.

So, if you don’t mind waiting 12 months, go ahead and pick the next NCAA champion.

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NCAA Championship 2021 odds breakdown

Glancing over the NJ sports betting odds, Baylor and Gonzaga are the early favorites. Both schools finished the just-shortened seasoned ranked in the top five of the AP Top 25.

Of course, it’s so early in the game that things could drastically change. Teams’ rosters and schedules still need to be finalized.

Which players will declare for the NBA Draft?

As a result, some of the Garden State‘s 17 mobile operators have yet to post odds.

Since there is no Elite Eight or Final Four to talk about, here is a futures comparison at BetMGM Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook:

BetMGM DraftKings
Sportsbook
FanDuel
Sportsbook
Gonzaga +800Baylor +800Baylor +1000
Baylor +800Gonzaga +800Gonzaga +1000
Duke +900
Virginia +900Villanova +1000
Virginia +900Creighton +1100Virginia +1200
Creighton +1100Villanova +1100Creighton +1400
Villanova +1100Kentucky +1200Kentucky +1400
Kentucky +1200Duke +1400Duke +1600
Florida State +1500Florida State +1500Kansas +1800
Iowa +1500Iowa +1500Florida State +2000

DraftKings offers Final Four betting

DraftKings is offering another wrinkle to the early March Madness betting. Customers have the option of wagering on which teams will make the Final Four.

It will take place on April 3-5, 2021, in Indianapolis.

So, you could potentially double up on a national championship wager by backing the same school to punch a ticket to Indy.

Here are some of the favorites:

  • Baylor or Gonzaga +125
  • Virginia +150
  • Creighton or Villanova +200
  • Kentucky +225
  • Duke +275
  • Florida State or Iowa +300

New Jersey sports betting customers who are getting in this early might look at teams with more value. While backing an underdog is a riskier proportion, the potential payout is much greater.

These schools currently have odds of +3900 to make the Final Four:

  • Boston College
  • BYU
  • Harvard
  • Kansas State
  • Nebraska
  • Northwestern
  • Texas A&M
  • Vanderbilt
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March Madness betting 2020 vs. 2021

Eventually, America will move past the ’20 season that left fans with too many unanswered questions. Conference champions were left hanging in terms of their respective Selection Sunday landing spots.

Then there are the bubble teams who never found out if they did enough to make the field of 68.

Come Monday night, there will be the reality of not seeing the national champion cut down the nets.

The sports world, not just the NCAA, will eventually return to normalcy. So, instead of thinking about the Final Four that could’ve been, why not predict the future?

It beats doing a toilet paper inventory.

Betting is optional.

Jersey Sides & Totals: LSU Faces Alabama And NJ Sportsbooks Are Ready For Action

Considered a big game in NCAA football, LSU vs. Alabama is the centerpiece of this weekend’s football action. What are the odds at 888 Sportsbook in NJ?

Week 10 of NFL betting also coincides with a great weekend of college football.

The NFL caps off the weekend with two great prime time matchups, the Vikings at Cowboys on Sunday and the Seahawks at 49ers on Monday.

Locally, while the Eagles are on a bye week, we have the battle of New York/New Jersey with the Jets and Giants facing off at MetLife Stadium.

We will touch on the Jets-Giants matchup later in the column, but let’s take a glance at where the college football season stands as we head to a big Saturday of action.

College football: Where things stand in Week 11 of NCAA action

As the college football season reaches Week 11, there are seven schools that are still undefeated: 

  • Alabama
  • Baylor
  • Clemson
  • LSU
  • Minnesota
  • Ohio State
  • Penn State

All these teams were featured in the initial college football rankings published earlier this week:

The top four ranked schools feature two from Big 10 and two from SEC with nine of the top 14 from either of the two conferences.

These initial rankings will be updated weekly until the Final Four will be announced on Dec. 8 for the national semi-final playoffs on Dec. 28 and the championship game on Jan. 13, 2020.

So what makes this Saturday so special?

Well, Saturday features games with four of the seven undefeated teams going head-to-head, with Penn State (#4) at Minnesota (#17) and LSU (#2) visiting Tuscaloosa to face Alabama (#3).

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LSU vs. Alabama

The LSU vs. Alabama matchup doesn’t have quite a “game of the century” billing, but it’s a huge game. The team that loses the game will likely drop out of the top four and will need a few breaks to make it back into the playoff picture.

Here are the current LSU-Alabama odds via 888 Sportsbook in NJ (as of Nov. 8):

  • Point Spread: Alabama -6.5
  • Points Total: 62
  • Moneyline: LSU: +185, Alabama: -250

Diving deeper into this game, here are some trends related to the LSU-Alabama battle:

Who leads the LSU vs. Alabama football series?

Alabama leads the series between the two schools, 53-25-5. The Crimson Tide have won the last eight meetings vs LSU, including shutouts in both 2016 and 2018. 

Other relevant LSU vs Alabama trends?

Since the college football playoff era began in 2014, Alabama is 39-1 straight up as a home favorite, but only 18-22 against the spread.

Since 2007, Alabama is 15-8-1 vs. the spread off a bye week under head coach Nick Saban.

LSU is 6-0 against the spread as an underdog since Ed Orgeron took over as the full-time head coach in 2017. The Tigers are also 3-0 against the spread as a road underdog.

And to really get you in the mood for this big game, here are some other tidbits via Chris “The Bear” Fallica of ESPN:

lsu vs alabama ncaa football betting

Betting on college football vs betting on the NFL

When it comes to betting on the LSU vs. Alabama game and college football in general, each of the 17 New Jersey sportsbook apps offer betting opportunities. 

But I do want to note some of the differences between betting college football vs betting the NFL, most notably:

  1. College games tend to be higher scoring. For example, the LSU-Bama total is currently at 62 points, whereas NFL total point over/under ranges will be in the high 30s to mid-high 40s.
  2. A factor also contributing to the noted higher scoring is the overtime structure in college football, with each team starting overtime with the ball at the opposition’s 25-yard line. It’s not uncommon for a game to go to three or more OT’s, contributing potentially 30+ points to the final score total.
  3. While the NFL has a multitude of team and player betting props for scoring and yardage, there are dramatically fewer options available for college games.

888 Sports and LSU vs. Alabama odds: a closer look

For the LSU vs. Alabama game, let’s look at a few of the options available via 888 Sports:

888 offers a prop on the first team to score as well as individual over/under totals for both schools:

888 sportsbook nj lsu vs alabama odds

It should be a great NCAA football game in Alabama on Saturday, with so much riding on this game for both schools.

Giants vs. Jets odds at 888 Sportsbook

Once the dust settles after a long afternoon of college football on Saturday, there is the NFL and the battle of New York/New Jersey as the Jets “host” the Giants at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon.  

While both teams face each other every year in the pre-season, the scheduling rotation currently yields a matchup once every four years, and the Jets-Giants have met just 13 times during the regular season, with the last meeting in 2015.

The Giants lead the all-time regular-season series 8-5 with the teams splitting the two matchups since MetLife Stadium opened in 2011. 

Both teams are coming off of ugly losses in Week 9, with the Giants game highlighted by the appearance of a black cat.

Keeping with the “cat” theme, everyone is having fun in advance of this game on Sunday:

With this once-every-four-years regular-season game between the 2-7 Giants and 1-7 Jets, is it fair to consider if this is the worst Jets-Giants matchup ever? Or will it spark some memorable Giants vs. Jets moments?

In terms of betting this game, the Giants are favored by 2.5 points, with a total of 43.5 points. “Triple 8” offers props around the first team to score and the first scoring play of the game:

giants vs. jets odds at 888 sportsbook nj

888sport also has props related to touchdowns; please note that the Jets will be the “Home Team:”

There is also prop wagering for the race to selected point totals:

Be sure to check back with 888 Sports closer to both game days for all of your college football and NFL bets. As always, things and lines can change in the blink of an eye.

The NFL local line: Eagles, Jets and Giants in Week 10

Here are the current local lines as of Friday afternoon via 888:

  • Giants -3 (-103) vs Jets +3 (-121), Total of 44.5 points
  • Moneyline: Giants -165; Jets +135
  • Eagles: BYE WEEK

My three NFL Week 10 picks (from the Jersey Side)

Hopefully, I’m back on the winning track, with a 2-0-1 week last Sunday.

It wasn’t a pretty one, but the Eagles managed to grind out a win (and cover) over the Chicago Bears.

The Jets and Dolphins lit up the scoreboard in the first half, relatively speaking, and the Seahawks scored a TD in overtime to push against a 6-point spread (though this number was as low as -4 by game time) vs the road-weary Tampa Bay Buccaneers

My NFL Week 9 recap

Week 2-0-1, Season YTD 13-13-1

  • EAGLES (-5) over Bears (EAGLES  22, Bears 14)
  • JETS and DOLPHINS over 20 Points in first Half (Dolphins 21- Jets 12 at Half-time)
  • SEAHAWKS (-6) over Buccaneers (SEAHAWKS 40, Buccaneers 34; PUSH) 

While I don’t do it every weekend, I had a good feeling about my picks last week and was able to convert that into collecting on a nice little three-team parlay:  

My Week 10 NFL picks

With six NFL teams on bye week, that means three fewer games on this week’s schedule.

There are seven 1 p.m. starts, and three 4 p.m. window games on this week’s slate. Here are my picks for this week: 

LSU vs. Alabama – UNDER 63.5 Points

Keeping with the theme of this week’s column, I decided to add the biggest college football game of the week as part of my three picks.

There are so many questions in the LSU-Bama game, with one of the primary ones centering on the health of Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, who had ankle surgery 20 days ago.

This might lead to a more conservative game plan for Bama, focusing more on running than passing, grinding out drives, and burning time on the clock.

Of course, this game wouldn’t surprise me if it ended in a 42-40 shootout, but I just think 63.5 points is too high of a total. I see Bama prevailing in a 31-24 score, falling UNDER the total of 63.5.

GIANTS (-2.5) over Jets

It’s tough to pick a side this game, but I will go with the Giants because Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones has been marginally better than Jets second-year QB Sam Darnold.

Also, after two low-scoring offenses (Jaguars, Dolphins) threw the ball all over the yard against the Jets secondary in the last two weeks, I give a further edge to “Danny Dimes” and Big Blue this Sunday. 

COLTS (-10) over the Dolphins 

Now that the Dolphins have recorded their first win and avoided a potentially winless season, maybe there isn’t much to play for.

While the Fins have looked relatively resurgent over the last few weeks with Ryan Fitzpatrick, they will face a stiff challenge when they head to Lucas Oil Stadium to face the Colts. The Colts, while banged up and potentially having to start Brian Hoyer at QB, are still a much better team.

The Colts have a lot to play for, as they are in second place in a bunched AFC South, trailing the Houston Texans by a half-game for the division lead. I expect the Colts to beat the Dolphins comfortably at home on Sunday.

Why NJ Sportsbooks Likely Had Nothing To Do With The Latest Attempt At An NCAA Fix

Feds alleged someone tried to fix an NCAA Division I men’s basketball game. Here’s why this latest NCAA fix likely didn’t happen at NJ sportsbooks.

On Oct. 3, US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York unsealed various indictments against a group of alleged members of the Colombo organized crime family. Those charges include an attempt made to fix an NCAA Division I men’s basketball game.

Prosecutors also say the federal Wire Act was violated when members of the criminal organization assisted in “the placing of bets” on sporting events.

Court-authorized wiretaps allegedly captured the defendants scheming to fix a December 2018 NCAA basketball game. The recordings reportedly include evidence that one member of the group offered players on an unspecified team thousands of dollars to lose intentionally.

Someone may have tried to bribe college athletes. However, the US Attorney’s Office did not release details regarding the game. Plus, the office charged one defendant with attempting to fix a game, not fixing it.

This all suggests the fix was never in and the defendant’s efforts were rebuked.

Regardless, the proximity of the criminal organization to New Jersey may bring up questions about the involvement of the burgeoning NJ sports betting market.

Or, at the very least, if these and other criminal organizations are somehow able to take advantage of legal sports betting in the Garden State.

Here are three good reasons why that likely didn’t happen here and probably never will.

1. The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement

The state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) didn’t just put together the rules and regulations for sports betting in New Jersey, it actively enforces them.

The DGE is closely watching all sports betting activities in the state.

So much so it has already issued the former BetStars NJ a $10,000 fine for accepting multiple bets on the Rutgers and Monmouth men’s basketball teams. Sportsbooks can’t take bets on NJ college sporting events under state rules.

Plus, the DGE also fined Borgata Atlantic City $500 for taking unapproved bets on the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.

While anecdotal, both examples provide solid evidence the DGE is working hard and staying attentive to the market. The organization is in place to make sure NJ sportsbooks and their customers comply with state betting regulations.

It’s doubtful this dutiful gaming regulator would let any activities conducted by the Colombo crime family slip through the cracks.

2. The paper trail

Organized crime groups generally operate in the shadows. The legal NJ sports betting operates in the clear, regulated, and tracked light of day.

Making a fix profitable requires big bets or widespread betting patterns. This is the kind of activity that raises red flags at NJ sportsbooks. Plus, sportsbooks would not hesitate to blow the whistle if they found something untoward.

Mobsters know this. Operators create a paper or electronic trail every time someone places a bet in NJ. They know that, too. Criminals may attempt to avoid the obvious tracking that occurs with online betting. But retail sportsbooks will catch them on camera instead.

Setting up an account, let alone placing a bet, using one of New Jersey’s 17 legal betting apps aren’t simple tasks. For one, account registration includes your social security number, your personal info, as well as verifying your location.

Mobsters trying to fix a game are much more likely to take their action to illegal bookies or unregulated offshore sports betting operators.

There’s certainly less chance the NCAA fix would be detected there.

3. Legal sports betting actually prevents corruption

Lawmakers created the original ban on sports betting (aka PASPA) to protect the integrity of sports and prevent match-fixing.

It didn’t work. Instead, an estimated $150 billion a year illegal sports betting market was born out of it.

Legalization does more than just provide a new tax revenue stream to NJ. It better protects the integrity of sports by turning a black-market activity into a legitimate and regulated one.

In fact, the tools are now in place in New Jersey for sports leagues to work with sportsbooks and gaming enforcement officials to identify corruption and go after it.

It’s not impossible that the bets in a fix could be made at legal sportsbooks in NJ. It’s just not likely, considering there are still illegal and offshore options available.

Until legal sports betting spreads further across the US and lawmakers and gaming regulators work to actively stamp out the black market, situations like this will continue to come up.

It’s just irresponsible to suggest it has anything to do with the launch of legal sports betting in NJ. Particularly when you consider the legalization of sports betting is doing more to prevent this kind of corruption than any other sports betting law ever has.

It’s A Feast Of College Football Bets At New Jersey Sportsbooks This Year

New Jersey sports betting apps are packed with NCAA football odds and specials, but where to start? Here’s a bird’s eye look at what’s available and where.

The 2019-2020 college football season had its “soft-opening” of sorts last weekend, with two games played on Saturday.

But the season officially gets underway this Labor Day weekend with Week 1. While the bulk of the games are on Saturday, there are also games scheduled Thursday (16x), Friday (7x), Sunday (1x), and Monday (1x).

That’s a lot of college football betting.

As the schools head into action this weekend, it’s not only time to prep for the slate of opening week games but to also make any season-long future wagers.

New Jersey sportsbooks will begin adjusting, revising, and in some cases, taking down the season-long props that are currently on the board.

The NJ sports bettor now has 16 apps to choose from (although TheScore Sportsbook and Bet365 are till in soft-launch mode). So it’s always good to shop around to see what’s out there from the various sportsbook offerings.

I have taken a closer look at all the NJ sports betting apps to offer my perspective on what’s currently available for the upcoming college football season. Here are my thoughts.

How to find college football odds at NJ sportsbooks

First, as a sports bettor, one does appreciate the sportsbooks that denote “College Football” as a standalone sports category in their wagering menus.

Sure, we can’t bet on Rutgers or Princeton games here in New Jersey, but with 125+ other schools in play, there’s no reason to lump it in together simply under “Football.”

Unfortunately, here are several examples of apps that will make you work to find college football lines.

Golden Nugget Sportsbook has college football (also known as “NCAAF”) listed in among its NFL line detail:

PlayMGM’s sportsbook lists college football under the catch-all “Football” header following the NFL and after Canadian football (Go, Blue Bombers) prop bets:

Over at 888 Sport, college football doesn’t manage to crack the “popular” listings the opening week of college football season:

Maybe it’s me, but it has to be easy to build a “College Football” header for betting menu listings, as illustrated below by DraftKings and FanDuel:

draftkings college betting
fanduel college football betting

And what about searching for college games?

Another small nit of mine is the current inability to build a “Search” option for each team or school in the betting app.

With 100+ schools in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in action on any given September-November weekend, it’s a challenge to find the game(s) in a long list of betting line matchups sorted by start time.

So, I would love to see a “search” feature for a game or specific event for college football and all other events on the apps.

College betting odds and deals to look for in New Jersey

Whether you are an avid college football bettor, or you just like to follow a select school or conference, here are some promotions and odds that you should be aware of in the robust NJ sports betting app marketplace:

DraftKings has been offering a “Countdown to Kickoff” specifically for college football with eight days of different daily odds boosts leading up to Labor Day weekend:

If you haven’t taken advantage of that yet, don’t worry. There’s plenty more being offered by sportsbook apps this season.

Best futures odds for college football

In addition to season-long, over-under win totals that are offered across most NJ sportsbooks, I wanted to note some of the unique season-long futures offered by the books.

BetStars (soon to be Fox Bet) has a simple “Yes/No” prop for schools to make a bowl game:

Both playMGM and DraftKings apps are offering props on select teams with a straightforward “Yes/No” to make the college football playoffs in December:

PointsBet NJ takes a slightly different approach, with listed odds for select schools to “to not win the championship”:

DraftKings has posted a “Rivalry Special” prop for select schools to defeat their two main rival opponents:

Props bet specials and unique odds

When you look toward the NCAA Football National Championship, it’s extremely difficult to have any discussion around the potential 2019 finalists without including defending champion Clemson and perennial finalist, Alabama.

With this in mind, PointsBet has a series of prop specials for both Alabama and Clemson, including odds offered on Alabama “losing to a Tiger Mascot”:

Looking ahead to January 2020, FanDuel is offering a straightforward prop bet on a rematch of last year’s title game:

NCAA football week 1 odds

When it comes to the games this weekend, there’s a myriad to dive into.

Most NJ sportsbooks have done a great job by posting the opening spreads, sides, and totals as of Monday. Other offerings of first half/second half and quarters will be added/updated as the day of the games draws closer this weekend.

In fact, since it’s Thursday, you probably will see more odds already added for today’s games.

Golden Nugget Sports is an example of one app that has done a great job of early posting of the quarter and half lines for Saturday’s games:

Alternate point spreads are popular in NFL games and are beginning to become more widely offered for college games, too. DraftKings, for example, has a nice offering of alternative point spreads for this weekend’s games:

There is nothing more random than betting on whether the game will end with a total score that’s an odd or even number.

If you’re a player that likes the randomness of roulette, consider an odd/even totals bet. Golden Nugget has you covered here with a bevy of wagering options:

Bet365 NJ: A newcomer with a lot of action

Bet365 is the latest addition to the New Jersey sports betting landscape. To be fair, it’s still going through regulatory testing.

Launching just in time for football season, Bet365 is not shy about offering tons of action. They are in the mix for college football with several betting options not yet offered with other NJ sports betting apps.

Consider the “Race to (Points)” for the team to get to a score of 10 through 40 points as well as a simple “Yes/No” on the game going to overtime. Below is a screenshot of its standard menu of just some of its offerings this weekend:

You won’t be going hungry this year

There is no shortage of options for college football bettors in New Jersey. The examples I have posted have only scratched the surface of the futures and pregame betting markets.

Also, once the game kicks off, there will be live betting options offered by sportsbooks, so keep your phone charged and your eyes on the play-by-play action to make your best wagers.

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But my humble betting advice around college football centers around a trend that was profitable for me last year.

Now, betting Alabama may not seem like the best place to find “value” in college football. After all, the moneyline will be -2000 or higher (if its even offered) most weekends and point spreads can be a tricky play based on how Nick Saban approaches the late third and fourth quarter (i.e., are the opening starters still playing, and will they be running the ball to kill the clock or still passing?).

As a player who likes to build parlays, there is value in considering including Alabama 1Q /1H on points and/or the moneyline. It was a successful angle last year, and I will plug it in this weekend when ‘bama opens versus Duke.

My “Final Four” prediction this year is really a “Final Two.”

With Clemson and Alabama meeting in three of the last four championship games, I will include those two to make the national championship, as well as Michigan and Georgia.

In the meantime, best of luck to all NJ bettors this college football season.

NCAA Ends Ban On Championship Events For States With Sports Betting, NJ Included

While the NCAA still opposes betting on college events, the new policy comes when eight states including New Jersey have legal sports betting.

NCAA championship-level events — including March Madness — could be coming back to New Jersey, despite the organization’s desire to see sports wagering bans across the US.

The NCAA and sports betting

The NCAA Board of Governors rescinded the ban on holding championship events in states with legal sports betting this week.

That ban had always included Nevada and had apparently been imposed on New Jersey as it had fought to legalize sports gambling over the past decade.

But now, with NJ sports betting being legal for nearly a year, the NCAA has changed its policy.

More from a release from the NCAA:

The board also voted to rescind the NCAA Championships Policy Related to Sports Wagering, which prohibited hosting championship competitions in any state that allows single-game sports wagering. The decision follows the board’s temporary action last year to suspend the policy following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports wagering.

The board also reinforced its support for federal legislative sports wagering standards. While the board stressed that an exemption of college sports in any federal or state legislation is desired, it emphasized that any proposed legislation should protect student-athlete well-being and the integrity of games.

Why the change for NCAA and NJ betting?

The pivot was likely a hat tip to the reality that sports wagering is already taking place in eight states, with that number likely set to double or more in the next year.

Banning events in all of those states would have been logistically difficult.

Betting on college events involving New Jersey teams is illegal under state statute.

So what could be coming to New Jersey?

The events covered by the Board of Governors include any national championships and related regional competitions. That includes the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The Prudential Center in Newark, for example, could once again be in the mix for NCAA tourney games.

It might be sometime before that can happen, however, since the schedule for championship events is planned well in advance.

For instance, locations for first and second rounds as well as regional games in the NCAA tournament are set up through 2022. And the Final Four sites are set through 2026.

Beyond that, any number of championship events in college sports, from wrestling to ice hockey and beyond, are up for grabs for New Jersey.