Football Five: NFL Week 8 Brings Mix Of The Norm And Unexpected

The NFL Week 8 storylines include a 2-4-1 Eagles team that continues to play mind games with bettors. This week it’s the Birds +7.5 versus the 2-4 Cowboys.

Football Five carries a package of intrigue for NFL Week 8 bettors.

The slate opens with the Carolina Panthers hosting the luckless Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night. And we can’t forget about  the searing Tampa Bay Buccaneers invading the one-win New York Giants Monday Night.

In between, the NJ sports betting card is a flood of the norm and the unexpected.

First, let’s touch on the norm. The Pittsburgh Steelers, football’s lone unbeaten team (with four-straight covers) visit the Baltimore Ravens in the potential game of the week.  And it’s hard to ignore the  Seattle Seahawks hosting the San Francisco 49ers in a potential NFC West barn burner.

The unexpected is the Philadelphia Eagles leading the NFC East and being lopsided favorites against the Dallas Cowboys.  Second-string quarterback Andy Dalton’s status is up in the air after suffering a concussion against Washington. The Cowboys, pre-season favorites to win the NFC Least, are the only NFL team without a cover. That’s a shocking stat.

The New England Patriots, for the first time in ages, are underdogs against the Buffalo Bills this week.

Here is the Football Five, a handful of ideas to carry forward into the wagering week.

1. NFL Week 8 + Eagles odds confusion

The Eagles continue to frustrate their backers. Philadelphia  left perhaps 10 points on the table while failing to cover -4.5 point spread against the New York Giants. Bettors who took the moneyline cashed in on the 22-21 victory. Overall, the Eagles are 2-4-1 against the spread and moneyline.

Here’s the laundry list of lost points against the G-Men:

  • An end-zone pick in the first quarter
  • Missed field goal before halftime
  • A bypassed  chip shot field goal early in the fourth quarter
  • A failed two-point conversion

The Eagles drove the length of the field late in the third quarter, trailing 14-10. On 4th and goal at the New York 3-yard line, they passed up the chip-shot field goal and failed to score.

So what happened, you ask?

The Giants started the fourth quarter with a drive of eight minutes and scored a touchdown to go up 21-10. The Eagles could not keep one of the league’s worst offenses pinned in near its own goal line.

The translation is the Eagles have an average offense and defense. They can’t afford to drive the length of the field and walk away without points.

And the Jalen Hurts experiment should be shelved when Philly gets in scoring position.  When the rookie entered against the Giants, defenders knew he would get the ball and stuffed him. If he can’t be respected as a decoy, he won’t be effective.

The Cowboys are bad, but can the Eagles leave points on the table and still cover?

The team is two  games under .500 and favored by more than a touchdown?

2. Pass the blood pressure pills

Several games on Sunday came down to the final play, which is more than any previous NFL week.

The Cincinnati Bengals, who host the Tennessee Titans this week, improved to a league-best 6-1 against the spread, although their bettors endured palpitations. The Bengals were +3.5 and seemingly victorious after pulling pulled ahead of the Cleveland Browns, 34-31, with 66 seconds remaining.

But Baker Mayfield led Cleveland back and with no timeouts, completed an improbable game-winning 24-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left.  What a dagger. Now the Browns went up by three, 37-34 and lined up to kick the covering extra point.

And then the real Hail Mary came in for Cincinnati bettors.

Cleveland’s Cody Parkey missed the conversion.

For Cincinnati bettors, it was a prayer answered. That never seems to come in on your behalf, but it did here.

For Cleveland bettors, it was a heist. Brown backers are ready to fill out a police report.

2 A) PointsBet Karma Kommittee Watch

So the good news is the PointsBet NJ Karma Kommittee was watching and ready to take action.

On Monday, the operator lifted up Cleveland bettors by posting this Tweet:

Bad karma became good karma.

The Browns host the Las Vegas Raiders in a very bettable game. And those who catch the -2.5 will be happy they got it for less than a field goal.

3. Fate giveth, fate taketh away

Here was a real roller-coaster ride for Atlanta Falcons bettors, as their team is 1-6 heading into Thursday’s NFL Week 8 game against Carolina.

Multiple NJ sportsbooks had the Falcons line at -2.5 as of late Wednesday morning.

The problem is Atlanta keeps getting close, but fails to close out games. They Trailed the Detroit Lions, 16-14, in the final stages of Sunday’s game as they drove toward a score.

Todd Gurley broke through for a first down and tried to go down at the 1-yard line.  This would’ve allowed the Falcons to  wind down the clock and kick the game-winning field goal as time expired. It would have been a half-point loss for Falcons bettors, but a badly-needed win for the team.

But Gurley accidentally scored, giving Atlanta a 22-16 lead with 1:04 remaining.  Falcon bettors had been given a gift, but it was snatched from them in gut-wrenching fashion.

Guess what happened next? Detroit got the ball,  and scored on the final play. Detroit prevailed, 23-22.

The Falcons could form their own division of any sportsbooks’ bad beat committee. Three epic fourth-quarter meltdowns have turned this team from a should-be 4-3 to 1-6.

4. Steelers play to the number

Entering NFL Week 8, oddsmakers are uncanny regarding the Steelers, whose games gravitate to the number like a magnet.

Many Pittsburgh contests against the spread are determined in the final seconds. Sunday, it was clinched on the final play. Pittsburgh, +1 at DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks, had a 27-7 third-quarter lead.

A breeze for once, right? Nope. Tennessee closed to 27-24 and gained position for a field goal to force overtime on the final play. Fortunately for Steelers bettors, it went wide.

And the Steelers remain the NFL’s only unbeaten team, and are  5-1 against the spread.

5. Think moneyline for NFL Week 8

These cardiac covers present an alternative to snakebit spread bettors: moneyline parlays.

This 4-team parlay paid better than 3-1 at DraftKings:

  • Chiefs –355 versus Broncos
  • Rams -250 verus  Bears
  • Chargers -370 versus Jaguars
  • Eagles -240 versus Giants

All bettors needed were straight-up winners.

Lumping prohibitive favorites on a moneyline ticket will usually put you in contention to cash.

What’s wrong with 3-1 odds?

photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS 

Thursday Night Football Odds Boosts Put Spotlight On Dolphins-Jaguars QBs

With NFL Week 3 looming, New Jersey sportsbooks break out the odds boosts for the Dolphins vs. Jaguars matchup on Thursday Night Football.

What’s the first sign of the upcoming NFL week, besides the chatter?

Odds boosts. They arrive in time for the Thursday night games and progress closer to Sunday’s kickoffs. They come in varied forms and reach different betting sectors, from individual to team props.

It’s important to know which ones are simply fun and which may entice a strong wager, perhaps one of the most important bets you’ll make this week.

Let’s assess some for the Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football.

DraftKings has a strong odds boost lineup

We’ll start off with a good pick from DraftKings Sportsbook. Jacksonville quarterback Gardner Minshew to throw for more than 250.5 yards and the Jags to win has been boosted from +130 to +150.

This is a good price.

The yards should be attainable, as Minshew threw for 339 on Sunday when the Jags authored a shootout with the Tennessee Titans, losing 33-30.

Minshew Mania was in full force, as he led the Jags back from a big deficit.

Conversely, the Dolphins allowed 417 yards to the Josh Allen-led Buffalo Bills in a 31-28 loss. If you think Minshew’s team can follow with a win, this is the most realistic prop on the board.

What you’ve got for this prop +150 is a moneyline favorite of -157 in the Jags and a yardage total Minshew normally hits.

Worth the attempt.

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A moneyline victory for the Dolphins

Go to the flip side of the moneyline. The Dolphins to win outright and the game to stay under 48 points now pays +355, up from +325.

This is an intriguing prop because a moneyline victory by the Dolphins is feasible. They opened as a 1-point underdog and it became +3 on Tuesday.

Still, being an underdog by a field goal or less represents a realistic win chance.

The tricky part will be keeping this game under 48 points. The Jags-Titans scored 63 points, and the Dolphins and Buffalo Bills clicked for 59 points last week.

Do you think this can go 10 points lower and the Dolphins can prevail? Miami doesn’t win many shootouts, so there is sentiment that if they win, it will be a lower-scoring game.

DJ Chark odds boost

Crap shoot: If you take a stab in the first touchdown department, DJ Chark has been boosted from +900 to +975. A nice payout becomes even nicer.

But how much will he play? Chark is battling a chest injury and will be limited. A chest injury impacts a player’s ability to reach out for the pass.

Will the Dolphins be nursing him on a short week, trying to preserve him for the long haul? First touchdowns are tough calls anyway because they have a limited time frame.

Fox Bet: Money in the TDs

Here’s a good one with a history of coming out.

Fox Bet NJ offers an odds boost if each team scores a touchdown in each half. The odds have been hiked from +125 to +200.

In Week 2, Miami scored touchdowns in each half of a 31-28 setback to the Bills.

Jacksonville tallied touchdowns in both halves in losing one of the week’s most thrilling contests, 33-30, to the Tennessee Titans.

Both teams have freewheeling, talented quarterbacks. Neither team has much of a defense.

PointsBet: Dolphins-Jags boosted to playable

Minshew and Ryan Fitzpatrick combined for 667 passing yards in NFL Week 2. They are presented as a prop of 500 yards between them and reduced from -140 to -110 at PointsBet NJ.

Not attractive at -140 but a play, maybe a strong one, at -110.

This is a sensible number, as you can forecast either quarterback to get hot. If either team falls a few points behind, it’s must-throw. The odds on the prop indicate there is roughly a 50% chance of the yardage being reached.

And they both cleared the number last week. Can they do it again?

The boost brings this wager into play.

This is a nice companion ticket to the over-under 48 play. You are doubling down on hopes of offense and rooting against freak plays, like a deflection that gets picked off in the end zone.

Why odds boosts are a good bet

Odds boosts are a significant benefit for players because a boost often eliminates the effect of the vig.

That’s the 10% premium gamblers pay the books for the privilege of taking their bets. At one time, it was how books made money. They balanced the books on each side, took their cut, and pocketed some revenue.

But the new age of gambling, with high-volume play and quick-betting access, makes book-balancing difficult. Operators now toss out enticements to lure action, especially on isolated Thursday night games.

Players must decide which props and odds boosts have the best value. In budgeting terms, a good feeling on a Thursday Night odds-boosted prop may be more beneficial than a Sunday bet you don’t love.

AP Photo/Doug Murray

Level Up, NFL Fans: NJ Sportsbooks Kick Off Week 1 With Odds Boosts, Free Bets

There’s more than just a couple of NFL free bets and odds boosts to consider from New Jersey online sportsbooks, but here are some of the good ones.

Promos, odds boosts, and free bets… oh my. Must be NFL Week 1 at New Jersey online sportsbooks.

Players love sportsbook enticements because they increase value and often eliminate the natural “vig” of 10%. Operators love them because the props entice new players. And current players, too.

Bettors can target Thursday night’s opener, the rest of Week 1, or the entire NFL 2020 season. Of course, this is just a selection, and it’s only Week 1. Who knows what will happen in the next 17 weeks.

Anyway, let’s dive in and see what NJ sports betting apps have to offer.

Thursday Night Football odds boosts and no-brainer bets

There is still some time left to jump on DraftKings’ no-brainer prop. To celebrate the NFL’s 101st season, DraftKings Sportsbook lets you bet on the Kansas City Chiefs at +101 against the Houston Texans on Thursday night.

It’s called the biggest no-brainer ever because, well, it is.

The maximum bet is $50, and you must select the boost in your bet slip before making the wager. This excludes live bets, parlays, free bets, cash out bets, voided bets, and odds boost. And of course, it’s one qualifying bet per user.

And here’s a mini no-brainer odds boost at DraftKings.

Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes combining for more than 4.5 passing touchdowns between them for Thursday night. It has been boosted to +140.

What’s deceiving is that Kansas City runs the ball more near the goal line than one would think and both quarterbacks are rushing touchdown threats. Nonetheless, this gets a piece of my bankroll.

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Sunday NFL free bets and promos

For Sunday games you have some time to think, but here are a few good ones from a few of the top NJ sportsbooks.

DraftKings: Making an impossible bet possible

The Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win is boosted from +334 to +380.

The Colts are -400 on the moneyline as an eight-point pick against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The New England Patriots are -295 against the Miami Dolphins as a 6.5-point favorite.

You can’t play either team on the moneyline, but here you can by taking them with the Buccaneers, who are +148 as a standalone moneyline bet against the New Orleans Saints. They are 3.5-point underdogs.

FanDuel and a Monday Night Football bet

FanDuel Sportsbook has several beauties.

One is the Road to 55 promo, a nod to Super Bowl 55.

Bet $50 on any NFL team to win Super Bowl 55 and gain $5 in site credit for every regular-season game the team wins. If that team wins 10 games, for example, your real bet was zero, plus the possibility exists for that club to win it all.

FanDuel tantalizes New York Giants bettors for Monday Night Football, too.  The G-Men to win outright in a game that hits 48 points or higher has been boosted to +420. That’s a sweet price if the Giants can win a shootout.

Here’s a nice odds boost: The Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, and Indianapolis Colts all to win. Hiked from +171 to +210.

Now, you can’t touch the Ravens at -360 against the Cleveland Browns and the Colts at -420 against the Jaguars. But combine them with the big-risk bet, the Vikings, who are -156 against the Green Bay Packers for a game in which they are only favored by 2.5 points entering the week.

Bet three teams with big minus moneyline numbers, they all win, and you have +210.

PointsBet: The rainmakers make it rain

Barkley, Bell, and free bets. Need we say more?

OK, we’ll say more.

PointsBet NJ has a season-long promo in which Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants or Le’Veon Bell of the New York Jets provide you money every time they score.

All it takes is a $25 bet in the NFL Futures Props Promo Markets. When you bet, you will receive a $6 free bet for each touchdown the player you selected scores after each game.

But be advised: Free bets will be paid out within an hour of each game and are valid for only one week of issue.

So put them right back in play.

BetMGM and a $20 free bet just because

To be fair, these NFL free bets from BetMGM Sportsbook are for both Thursday and Sunday games.

But they deserve a mention here because all customers have to do to get the free bet is log into their BetMGM account.

BetMGM is gifting users in New Jersey $10 free on Thursday ahead of the Chiefs-Texans NFL opener. Then, on Sunday, BetMGM will give users another $10 free.

Not too shabby.

Five Things To Know Before You Bet On Sixers Vs. Pacers At NJ Sportsbooks

The Philadelphia Sixers face the Indiana Pacers in their first matchup in the NBA restart. Here are five things you should know before you place that bet.

Here come the chameleons.

As the Philadelphia Sixers make their NBA return Saturday against the Indiana Pacers, bettors are backing the home court model — a league-best 29-2.

They have ignored Philly’s 10-24 road mark and made them 6-point favorites at FanDuel and DraftKings on the neutral court in Orlando, FL. 

By Thursday afternoon, the line had dropped to 5.5 at both sportsbooks.

There is Philly Fever in the NJ sports betting world.

DraftKings Sportsbook reports that the Sixers have taken the second-most championship money, 16%, at odds of 20-1. Only the Los Angeles Lakers, the league favorite at +240, have more action, 33%, than the Sixers.

“I see bets come through on a daily basis, and recently the Sixers are taking more than any other team,” said Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings. “This is the healthiest they have been. The team was not gelling before, but with so many players back, maybe now they have a second chance to win.

“They are very talented.”

So how will the first game of the Sixers restart play out? Here are five things to look at. (Odds as of 7 p.m. EST July 30.)

Aug. 1 Game (Moneyline)DraftKingsFanDuelPointsBet
Philadelphia 76ers-230-235-236
Indiana Pacers+190+205+185

1. No home court advantage + no fans

This is a neutral court, and these teams have the same record, 39-26.

In theory, the line at NJ online sportsbooks should be much closer. There is a premium built into the line that the Sixers are going to advance another level.

2. High moneyline for Sixers vs. Pacers

The Sixers have a high moneyline task, too.

They are -230 at DraftKings and -235 at FanDuel Sportsbook.  That’s a lot for a six-point game.

The Pacers are +190/+205, and there will be bargain hunters.

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3. Watch the totals

The over-under for total points was 211.5 at DraftKings, 212 at FanDuel. That has since shifted to 216 at FanDuel, 211.5 at DraftKings.

The oddsmakers have an uncanny way of being right around the totals number.

Seems a little low if you think the Sixers will hit their outside shots with their tall players, but not unreasonable a total if you believe that since the players have been off for four months, they won’t be sharp.

Watch the earlier games to get a barometer of whether the shooters are on.

Guesstimate? It won’t take them long to get comfortable, maybe a couple of games.

4. The Sixers are healthy for NBA restart

Easily the most perplexing team in the league before the shutdown, the Sixers have a chance to start healthy and fresh in Orlando.

And Tobias Harris isn’t shy about trumpeting the Sixers’ championship aspirations or the fact that the chemistry was way off previously. Reconciling those things immediately is critical, especially for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Simmons pronounced himself healthy after a four-month rehab process from a bad back. A Simmons at 100% does put Philadelphia on another level.

5. Pacers’ key offense won’t be playing

Damontos Sabonis is the heart of the Indiana offense. But he won’t play.

Sabonis, who leads the Pacers with 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds, also averages five assists. But a plantar fasciitis flare-up prompted him to leave the team. He may not be back at all.

If you liked that Sixers -6 line, hopefully you got it. The line moved to 5.5 at DraftKings and will likely shift again before Saturday.

Looking back to previous Sixers-Pacers games

The three previous games between the teams were entertaining.

The best may have been the first. In November, the Sixers nudged the Pacers 119-116 at home. That’s the only time that Simmons, Embiid and Harris were in the lineup for the Sixers in this rivalry.

Embiid had 32 points, Harris notched 22 and Simmons had 15.

In December, the Pacers got even on their home floor, beating the Sixers 115-97. Sabonis had 23 points and T.J. Warren 21 for the Pacers. The Sixers did not have Embiid, who, at 25, is working on his third consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound average for a season.

They did not have him the next time either, a 101-95 setback in January on the road. But Simmons had 24 points, Harris notched 23 and Josh Richardson stepped up with 23.

There are interesting variables to read into all three games. They indicate that a fully healthy Sixers team is a little better than the Pacers. For the first since 1984-86, the 76ers are going for their third consecutive .600-plus season.

The odds of this game reflect that.

PointsBet celebrates the return of NBA

Want to bet the Sixers? Or the Pacers? Or anyone else? PointsBet NJ just stepped up with an enticing promo, available only to New Jersey bettors.

How about that? Just for Jersey.

One of them is juice-free betting on the NBA for the eight-game regular-season resumption. No vig! Bettors are not laying the customary 10% just to place a bet. This savings adds up and directly impacts the bottom line.

And there are no $50 limits tied to regular promos. These are “normal trading limits.” Attention, all “whales”: This is an invitation to make some big wagers. The book has essentially returned its built-in profit on every bet to the gamblers.

The second is an insurance policy. If your team scores the first point of the game and then loses, PointsBet will refund you up to $50 in free bets.

Eight out of the last 10 games before the NBA suspended its season involved a team scoring first but losing.

This only applies to the first $50 staked on pregame moneyline bets. It is available in every single NBA game but applies only to the first moneyline bet on each game.

Clients betting on both moneylines in the same game will not be eligible for the promotion.

NJ Sportsbooks Heat Up With MLB Opening Day Odds, Player Props And Free Bets

The MLB is back, and NJ sports betting odds favor the Phillies and Yankees. Plus, get $10+ in free bets for opening day at NJ sportsbooks.

Sixty games in 66 days for every MLB team, here we come. MLB is finally here, with the season opener no longer a remote-looking date of July 23, but a day.

Thursday.

THIS Thursday.

The New York Yankees open as favorites against the host and defending World Series champions Washington Nationals at 7:05 p.m. The Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants as big chalk in Thursday’s second game, just after 10 p.m.

Then the full schedule kicks in on Friday.

Among teams followed most closely by New Jersey sports betting fans, the New York Mets are favored against the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies are the solidly installed choice against the Miami Marlins.

The bettors, and the fans, are ready.

“I have to go inside,” a New Jersey gambler told me one afternoon late last week. “The Phillies are playing an intrasquad game. I’m going to catch it.”

The bettors can’t wait, and now we’re here. Let’s look at some of the numbers entering the opening week of baseball.

Yankees vs. Nationals: DraftKings’ lines favor the Bronx Bombers

On the moneyline for Thursday, DraftKings Sportsbook likes the Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers are -139, and Washington is +120.

Here’s how the odds shake up at DraftKings, FanDuel Sportsbook and PointsBet NJ:

MLB MatchupDraftKingsFanDuelPointsBet
NY Yankees-139-130-140
Washington Nationals+120+114+120

The expected starting pitchers matchup presents a must-see barnburner. Newly acquired Gerrit Cole goes for the Yankees. Mighty Max Scherzer opens the defense of the Washington Nationals’ World Series championship.

The over-under for the game is about a run lower than an average baseball game, perhaps par with what you’d see from a matchup of pitching giants. The over-under is 7.5 runs, with the over at -105 and the under at -117.

Feel creative? Think the Yankees can win by more than one run? The 1.5 run line is +128 for the Yankees. For Washington to get 1.5 runs, the line is -148.

Pitching in the summer heat

Premier pitching matchups often fail to deliver the low-scoring games expected during April.

But what about in the summer? This is an interesting scenario, because most starting pitchers won’t go past six innings in their initial start.

Pitchers are normally ahead of the hitters early, but the hot summer temperatures favor hitters. These factors may cancel each other out.

Phillies vs. Marlins: Can Philadelphia prove the oddsmakers right?

The Phillies are -205 for their season opener against the visiting Miami Marlins on Friday. That’s intriguing, because the Phillies struggled against the Marlins last year at home, even being swept in a three-game series.

Here’s a closer look at the Phillies vs. Marlins game odds. (FanDuel and PointsBet have yet to post opening odds on this matchup.)

MLB MatchupDraftKingsFanDuelPointsBet
Philadelphia Phillies-205----
Miami Marlins+175----

Sandy Alcantara is Miami’s opening day pitcher.

Aaron Nola is expected to be the Phillies’ opening-day starter. But there is still enough time for all of that to change.

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FanDuel props worth a look for MLB betting

Here are some popular fun bets, tying in with gamblers following both their favorite teams and players.

On the board at FanDuel Sportsbook is a doozy: the first player to hit a home run this season.

Bear in mind that the first game of the year is the Yankees-Nationals. If that game goes dinger-free, the Dodgers and Giants become a high-paying target.

MLB Player Prop: First Home Run In 2020FanDuel Odds
Aaron Judge+550
Giancarlo Stanton+550
Juan Soto+650
Gleyber Torres+700
Eric Thames+1100
Gary Sanchez+1100
Trea Turner+1100
DJ LeMahieu+1300
Adam Eaton+1800

The last of the top 10 involve Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Howie Kendrick and Luke Voit at 20-1.

You also may want to think outside the box a little.

Cole and Scherzer are lights-out pitchers. Is that really the game that produces the first homer?

If you think not, Dodgers Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger are both +5000. Bellinger had 47 homers last year, and he’s a generous 50-1 odds. Justin Turner is +6000 or 60-1.

The beauty of this type of bet is you can select from different ranges and take a stab. Some will place one wager on the favorites, another on a midline player and one of the heavy-priced odds.

There may not be data to support this, but a big-name, free-agent hitter often finds a way to connect with a homer in his first game.

See if that fits into your overall MLB betting menu.

Yankees, Met, Phillies: Betting the first dinger

New Jersey gamblers have another venue regarding who’s going deep first. You can take the first player on each of these teams to touch ’em all at FanDuel.

For the Yankees, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are +300.

Gleyber Torres is +500, Gary Sanchez is +800 and Voit is +1000.

For the Mets, Pete Alonso is the likely suspect, at +250. Heck, he led the majors in homers last year at 53. But can he be first?

If not, Michael Conforto is +350, Yoenis Cespedes is +650 and Jeff McNeil stands at +700.

There’s a three-way tie rounding out the top five at +800. Those players are Brandon Nimmo, Wilson Ramos and Robinson Cano. Yes, THAT Robinson Cano. The longtime Yankee dons a Mets uniform for the second year. He is 37 years old now.

As for the Phillies, Bryce Harper is the favorite at +250. Rhys Hoskins is next at +350. Then come Andrew McCutchen and J.T. Realmuto at +500. Didi Gregorious, the new acquisition from the Yankees, is +650.

Free money for MLB opening day? You bet!

And here’s a slice of good news from NJ sportsbook apps.

The return of MLB has sportsbooks posting free bet offers for those who are savvy enough to take advantage.

Fox Bet, for example, has an “MLB is Back!” promo for all customers that features $5 in free cash for each run your team scores in the opening game.

You can get up to $50 free in this offer when you bet just $5 on your favorite single MLB team opening game (point spread or moneyline). Odds must be -200 minimum. It must be one cumulative bet to qualify, and the first placed bet qualifies your team.

Over at DraftKings, there are several offers ready to go for opening day.

  • Scoring Special: Bet $25 on DraftKings’ featured games and get $5 per home run your team hits.
  • Odds boost: Bet on any 2019 MLB All-Star player to hit a home run on opening day. The boost is +100.
  • World Series $25 bet: Place a $25 bet on any team to win the World Series and get a $25 free bet to use on any opening-day MLB game.

FanDuel features a World Series promo as well. A $50-plus futures bet on any team to win the World Series will earn you $5 in bonus cash for each game that team wins.

It includes only the first 10 games, but if your team is on a hot streak early, that’s a max of $50 in free bets.

PointsBet features a doozy of an offer with $10 in free bets for every home run in July. All it requires is a minimum $50 pregame moneyline or runline bet. If the team you pick hits a home run, you get $10 free.

This is, of course, just a sampling of free bets and odds boosts available at NJ online sportsbooks. Most of them won’t last long, either.

The clock is ticking on these FanDuel bets

Speaking of bets that won’t be around forever, you have to get these in at FanDuel before Thursday’s season opener.

One bet concerns season-long home run leaders. Alonso is +1000, the favorite. Right there are Joey Gallo and Mike Trout at +1100.

Sleepers include Bellinger at +1700 and Nolan Arenado at +1800. Bellinger hit 47 homers last year, six behind Alonso. For someone able to lead the league in homers, he’s an excellent price.

Arenado is +1200 to lead in hits, along with Whit Merrifield. Jose Altuve is +1400.

On the pitching side, Cole is +230 to attain the most strikeouts. Scherzer is second at +550. And we get to see them go head to head this week. Jacob deGrom of the Mets is +850.

MLB line shopping at NJ sportsbooks

Let it begin.

On opening night, DraftKings has the over-under for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants at 8.5. PointsBet has it at 8.

That’s a significant half of a number. If you like the under, you would like the DraftKings prop. That makes eight a victory.

If you like the over, PointsBet has a better line. At the very least, 8 is a push.

Multiply the small details of these lines by the potential of hundreds of bets over the course of a season and one can see the value of shopping to your profit-loss portfolio.

Good luck, New Jersey online betters, wherever your hunches and wagers lead.

NJ Sportsbooks Mull The What-Ifs Of An MLB Season That May Not Happen

MLB players and owners have spent weeks battling over the 2020 season. DraftKings Sportsbook and PointsBet in NJ are patiently waiting for a resolution.

Typically, MLB betting is a hot topic of conversation during the summer months.

But here we are on June 17 and there are no baseball games scheduled… yet.

As a result, NJ online sportsbooks are sitting on the sidelines awaiting a solution with only the futures market open for betting.

PointsBet NJ is taking the patient approach.

Andrew Mannino, senior sports content analyst at PointsBet, said, like the fans, there isn’t much we can do but “wait and see.”

“Like everyone, we want to see baseball, and we’re hoping they will come to an agreement and get the season underway,” said Mannino.

Until then, sports betting continues on without baseball games to bet on, run lines to handicap, or a World Series to watch.

And for NJ sportsbooks, the season’s delay boils down to two questions: what to do if there is no baseball and what to do if there is baseball.

New developments in the MLB restart saga

The answer to the first part is simple: If (and it’s a big if) there is no 2020 MLB season, all futures bets will be voided and the money refunded.

But that’s not necessarily going to happen. After several weeks, the waiting game may finally be winding down.

Here is what Jon Heyman of the MLB Network had to say earlier today:

But the Major League Baseball Players Association responded with a Tweet of their own:

Funnily enough, those two tweets posted while this story was being written. And the back-n-forth is likely to continue.

So we will call it a work in progress as the two sides at least seem to be talking again.

The drama behind the MLB’s 2020 season

If indeed a deal is finalized this week, it will be a complete 360 from Monday.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred appeared on ESPN’s Return of Sports on Monday night.

His outlook on the 2020 season happening wasn’t exactly optimistic:

The reaction came following a weekend statement released by the MLB Players Association:

Now, we could write a story just about the battle (for lack of a better word) to bring back professional baseball. There are still a lot of what-ifs in the works and challenges ahead.

But for sportsbooks, the real challenge lies in the planning.

DraftKings Sportsbook + limited baseball offerings

Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations for DraftKings, described the current situation as challenging compared to a normal season. And for one simple reason.

“I think what makes it challenging is that Major League Baseball comes out with a schedule for each team and we get a pretty good look at that for a couple of months before we have to deal with the first games,” said Avello.

“… They may decide they’re going to play and we have like two weeks lead time to prepare. I think that’s where the challenge is.”

Until all the details are released, DraftKings Sportsbook customers will find limited MLB betting options.

Here are some of the available wagers:

  • World Series winner
  • League winner
  • MVP
  • Cy Young

So total wins for the Philadelphia Phillies or New York Yankees are among the markets impacted.

And the fact that teams will not be playing the normal 162-game schedule throws a whole other wrinkle into the equation. At the same time, it doesn’t necessarily mean oddsmakers will bypass offering win totals.

Avello said DraftKings is sitting tight and letting the players and owners sort things out. But he is not ruling out putting win totals back up.

“There is a good chance we will if we have enough time once they announce the season, if they announce the season,” Avello said of offering total wins. “We will base those win totals on how many games they’re going to play.”

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What to bet on while you wait for the MLB’s return

Mid-June is the time of year when, in a normal season, baseball fans would be counting down to the All-Star break.

This year’s game was scheduled to take place July 14 at Dodgers StadiumEven if the MLB schedule is set next week, a 2020 All-Star Game seems highly unlikely.

July and August are usually a time when baseball is front and center with the NJ sports betting crowd. By then, the NBA and the NHL have finished their seasons.

That certainly will not be the case this summer.

The NHL has restart plans in place. And the NBA is going to Walt Disney World. Both will kick off in July.

And PGA Tour betting is more popular than ever, with the RBC Heritage starting on Thursday.

And for the horse betting fan, Saturday’s Belmont Stakes adds to the busy weekend.

Bottom line: It will be a busy time for sportsbooks with so many events happening across so many sports — and all within a short span of time.

However, if and when MLB does return, the PointsBet team will be ready to step up to the betting plate.

“I think people are still interested,” said Mannino. “They’re just waiting to see the league come to an agreement and announce a format for the season. When they do, we will react accordingly and have bets up to adjust to whatever the situation is.”