Even With Team USA Shocking Moments, NJ Online Sports Bettors Are Not Just Counting Summer Olympic Medals

The Summer Olympics, taking place in Japan, are providing NJ sports betting customers an expansive wagering menu, even without Simone Biles.

What a first half. That could be the sportsbook refrain as the Tokyo Olympics approach midpoint.

Books report steadily improving business as New Jersey online sports bettors, and others, embrace the new Olympic gambling age.

Patrons parlay the roots of pro-betting circuits like the NBA and PGA into wagers on men’s basketball and golf. soccer, track and field, gymnastics, and swimming have long-standing popularity that creates a natural gambling environment.

Books and ‘dog bettors also profit from a prophetic assessment made two weeks ago by Johnny Avello, the director of race sportsbook operations for DraftKings Sportsbook. He told PlayNJ.com that Olympic popularity would spiral with a major personality or event.

And both happened.

Tokyo Olympics betting, the shocking and unexpected

The shocking loss by the United States Olympic men’s basketball team to France and the unexpected bailout of premier gymnast Simone Biles signaled this would be no ordinary maiden gambling voyage.

Combined, they turned a major DraftKings giveaway into a windfall and altered expectations of the United States over-under medal count of 111 or 112 across the major NJ online sportsbooks.

What a tipoff to an Olympiad running through Aug. 8.

“We’re doing pretty well with the Olympics,” Avello told NJGamblingSites.com this week.  “The money is being sprinkled around. Even in some sports in which we didn’t know how we would do, the action continues to pick up.

“I think it helps that people are seeing the events every day and eventually everybody has an opinion about something. There has been a lot of hype surrounding the Olympics.”

Avello noted DraftKings still writes the most tickets with basketball. He said the game between the United States and France was “our second biggest handle of the day.”

“It was bigger than what we get on most MLB games,” said Avello. 

DraftKings and the gift not taken

It was Christmas in July for the DraftKings faithful.  But it literally became a dead giveaway.

DraftKings put up an apparent freebie for anyone betting at least $50, providing a $1 bonus for every point the U.S. Olympic basketball team defeated France by in the opening round.

How much could you afford to win?

We are talking about a U.S. men’s basketball that entered the game against France with 25 consecutive basketball triumphs.

This was simply bet-and-collect, an Olympic version of Hammer the Over, a popular DraftKings promo in which everybody wins.

Guess what?

DraftKings couldn’t give this money away.

The American team looked disorganized, maybe disinterested, in losing.

Never mind that they then beat Iran 120-66, a 54-point thumping, in their second game. The action was on the opener.

The DraftKings promotion, merely designed to prime the pump for overall action, wound up draining the pump.

Avello said the odds boost ended becoming a revenue maker for DraftKings.

However, it wasn’t planned to be that way.

“We like to throw the promotions out there and it’s a loser for us most of the time. We do it to get people engaged, to reward customers who have been playing with DK for a while,” said Avello. “We were all very surprised to see that.”

Simone Biles puts an unexpected twist on Tokyo Olympics

The Olympics, no matter where they take place, usually include some unexpected twists.

But it seems nobody saw Biles decision to pull herself out of the women’s gymnastics team final and all-around competitions coming.

Talk about throwing a monkey wrench into the American medal-counts prop.

We are talking about Simone Biles here, winner of four golds and one bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

After her first vault attempt in this week’s team final didn’t go as planned, Biles shocked the world, including the live TV audience watching here in the States. 

After breaking the news to her teammates that she was pulling out for health reasons, Biles stepped aside and watched her teammates win the silver medal.

For bettors holding an “over” medals ticket, this was an unexpected development.

Biles, the favorite to win the all-around, stepping aside opened the door for one of her Team USA teammates to enjoy a golden moment. Suni Lee will be leaving the Tokoyo Olympics as the women’s all-around champion.

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‘My Beautiful Reward,’ the Boss’ daughter hits the board

Jessica Springsteen is one of the late additions to the NJ sports betting board.

For rock legend Bruce Springsteen, this underrated classic song extends to the reward of seeing his daughter Jessica compete for the American equestrian team.

For bettors who patiently waited weeks to see if they could wager on the daughter of The Boss, the breakthrough finally occurred.

Late Wednesday night, Jessica showed up on the board. 

Springsteen went up at +4500 at DraftKings Springsteen to win the jumping competition.

She’s also part of a team that is +270 to win the gold. It doesn’t matter that there are 13 people with lower betting odds than Jessica Springsteen.  She made it.

Lloyd, women’s soccer team still in the medal hunt

New Jersey bettors have other excellent human-interest dramas.

Delran native Carli Lloyd and the women’s soccer team is heading to the semifinals. Earlier today, Team USA defeated the Netherlands, 4-2 on penalty kicks, and secured at least a chance at the bronze medal.

Canada is up next.

Call it good news for bettors following an uneven first three games in round-robin play where the team went 1-1-1. Yes, they remain the DraftKings favorite to win the gold.

Here are the gold medal odds from DraftKings for the four remaining teams:

  • USA -125
  • Sweeden +175
  • Canada +800
  • Australia +900

More local ties to Tokyo games

Have you heard the name Vashti Cunningham? She is the daughter of Philadelphia Eagles great Randall Cunningham. The younger Cunningham is looking as sleek in the high jump as her father did leaping away from would-be tacklers 30 years ago. 

Cunningham is +250 to win gold at DraftKings and a strong medal possibility. The high jump is scheduled for Wednesday night (Thursday in Tokyo). 

For those seeking something sooner, check out Dunellen native Sydney McLaughlin. She remains the -330 chalk to win the 400-meter hurdles. 

That event will be part of NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage tonight.

BetMGM: Can lightning strike twice?

BetMGM has France at +1000 and the US -250 to win the men’s basketball gold medal. These odds are projecting a stiff improvement into the premium on this bet.

Most books mirror this sentiment. Anyone taking France believes the first victory was no fluke.

BetMGM also has prominent specials on individual games.

William Hill and golf betting odds at Olympics

William Hill builds upon its PGA popularity for the Olympic version, which occurs in the final weekend of July. Some of the world’s top golfers are showcased for this four-day affair.

So, guess who grabbed the first-round lead? None other than Sepp Straka, the Austrian who missed the cut at the 3M tournament last week.

Straka did not receive much pre-tournament money. In a field that included Collin Morikawa, who won the 3M, how could there be?

Such is the beauty of the underdog world and this Olympiad, in which bettors are coming to expect the unexpected. Straka enters today’s third round three strokes out of the lead. 

Olympics offers excellence in competition

How about breaking a world record, but losing? 

The United States 4 x200 swim relay team, anchored by superstar Katie Ledecky, did just that.

They finished second to China, with Australia third.

All three teams broke the existing world mark. More importantly, Ledecky increased her medal count to three.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall




Light The Olympic Betting Flame: NJ Sportsbooks Offering Variety Of Odds And Props, Some With Garden State Ties

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo presents a golden opportunity for NJ online sports bettors to enjoy some widespread wagering.

Assemble national pride with a breakthrough betting platform and what results in the next couple of weeks. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (delayed until now as a result of the global pandemic), offering widespread wagering for the first time ever.

The Olympic Games run until Aug 8. New Jersey online bettors observe numerous options.

Team USA heavy favorite for most Olympic medals

Taking a broad concept, they can slam a wager at lopsided prices for the United States to win the most medals. Not many will opt for -1000 across the major NJ sportsbooks, but some with large bankrolls will take a small return on a near-certain sure thing.

Gamblers can also stab at the U.S. total medal count of 111.5 over-under at William Hill, for example, with odds of -115 either way.

The projected medals total across the sportsbook spectrum is slightly less than in 2016 when the USA earned 121 medals. It included 46 gold, 37 silver, and 38 bronzes.

That nearly doubled the 70 earned by second-place China (26 gold, 18 silver, and 26 bronzes).

Major advancement is expected here from China, with DraftKings Sportsbook putting the medal total at over-under 85.5 for that country.

Besides the medal count, gamblers can direct individual bets on swimming and track and field props, as they become available. Some have a Garden State connection, more on that below.

Either way, the Olympic betting realm has arrived.

DraftKings Sportsbook ‘loaded for the Olympics’

NJGamblingSites.com caught up with Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings. He summed up the Olympic wagering menu with the words “We are loaded for the Olympics.”

“I think basketball is going to be the No. 1 sport, but soccer is also going to do pretty well. Tennis is going to do well. Golf is going to be good too,” said Avello.

“As a surprise, table-tennis is going to do business too. It did well during the pandemic and then afterward,” he said of a sport that, in the initial stages of COVID-19, was all that people could wager upon.

Avello also revealed a concept bettors will savor. Books have no information edge on a circuit that plays out once every four years.

“We have a ton of sports up there,” he noted. “Surfing, rowing, volleyball, cycling. There is no way you are able to research all of them and have a great feel for it.

“If there is something soft on that board, it’s a guarantee that a sophisticated player will find it and play it.  Gamblers will peruse everything, looking for some hidden value and they are going to find some.

“For us, the idea is to put up a lot of content and see what people like.”

Setting the 2020 Summer Olympic scene

Bettors can take over-under medal counts on numerous countries.

A New Jersey resident emigrating from overseas, especially Europe, may have a sense of the athletic level of his/her native country. Witness the passionate betting on England and Italy by New Jersey gamblers in the recent Euro 2020.

The 2020 Summer Olympics feature five new sports:

  • Surfing
  • Sport climbing
  • Skateboarding
  • 3×3 basketball
  • Karate

Plus, baseball and softball are back as medal sports for the first time since 2008.

While the Rio de Janeiro 2016 games saw 28 sports with 306 medal events, these games advance to 41 sports and 339 events.

DraftKings has introduced a promo for first-time users. Bet $1 on any Olympic event and win $100 in free bets if the U.S.A. wins any medal in any event.

So, it’s $100 in free bets. Go to the promos section on the DraftKings website.

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Olympic odds for high-profile sports at DraftKings

The United States is -320 to win the basketball gold medal, with Australia second at +750.

The first team for the U.S. is Sunday, July 25, as a relatively modest -12 against France.

Here is a betting angle: Watch a particular sport and handicap it, round by round, as if it’s a professional league here. Eventually, some patterns will emerge.

LPGA Rediscovered

We haven’t seen the LPGA Tour, for the most part, because of COVID-19. But it moved to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Nelly Korda, the 2019 money-winner, is in the Olympics, at +600 to win the women’s golf gold medal.

So is Inbee Park, at +600

Jin Young Ko, another LPGA stalwart, is +900

At +1800 is Lexi Thompson. New Jersey golf fans know her. She captured the LPGA ShopRite Classic at Seaview Country Club in Galloway in 2019.

Thompson, a Florida native, is a transplanted New Jersey favorite.

Olympic betting fun: the Springsteen thread

New Jersey has a stellar group of athletes in Tokyo. Many cannot be represented in bets, but some props emerged just before the Games and can align with tunes from a famed Garden State native.

Imagine a betting-world foray for rock legend Bruce Springsteen, skipping the worn Born to Run parody.

How about: “Sha-La-La-La, I bet chalk with a Jer-sey girl …”

Even if that can’t be done with his own family.

You can’t bet Jessica Springsteen’s equestrian event, but the 29-year-old daughter of Springsteen and wife Pattie Scialfa did make the United States Olympic team. The Colts Neck native competes in a sport that hasn’t developed a full betting platform.

More Jersey-girl chalk

Gamblers can wager collectively on Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath, two stalwarts on the U.S. women’s soccer team.  Lloyd, from Delran, also plays for Gotham FC in the National Women’s Soccer League. Heath is from Morristown.

The U.S. Women’s soccer team is the +120 favorite to win the gold.

Yes, they were just stunned 3-0 by Sweden in an opening-round game that wasn’t even that close. But gamblers can watch the women try and rebound.

And if you think they can’t?  Sweden is +350 at DraftKings.

Blinded by the Olympic light

Sydney McLaughlin of Dunellen does have blinding speed.  She already has set a 400-meter world record for the hurdles and is the first woman to clock in under 52 seconds (51.9).

By the time McLaughlin graduated from Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains in 2017, she had already visited Rio as part of her first Team USA experience in 2016.

Now she’s an Olympian and major chalk.

She’s -250 at DraftKings for the 400-meter hurdles gold medal. McLaughlin is the class of this field.

You won’t like the odds, but a small bet to cash an Olympic ticket on another Jersey superstar?

Why not?

At the very least, a must-watch if you can find the telecast.

Glory Days, the male side

Toms River native Todd Frazier finds himself in the Olympic fervor. The former New York Mets and Yankees star is part of the American team that’s a live dog at +350 in the baseball competition.

Japan is +160 followed by South Korea at +310.

Team USA is comprised of many former MLB players, who may want one crack at their glory days.

For bettors, the Olympics have a new purpose. And for television networks concerned about the odd hours some events are shown, there’s at least one more reason for people to watch.

AP Photo/Lee Jin-man