NBA Playoff Odds Shifting At NJ Online Sportsbooks After 76ers And Nets Are Eliminated

The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets missing the NBA Eastern Conference Finals left NJ sports bettors stranded with losing tickets.

So much for the best-laid plans. New Jersey online sports bettors had long penciled in the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA playoffs.

That will only happen now if they go to the same game, as spectators.

The Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks clash in the most unlikely Eastern Conference finals starting Wednesday. They shocked the Nets and Sixers respectively, taking two highly-favored entities out of the playoff picture with Game 7 road victories.

NJ sports betting customers hardly expected to see this series matchup at DraftKings:

Milwaukee is -480 (and the +100 favorite to win the title). 

Atlanta comes in at+350 (and +1100 to win the championship).

FanDuel Sportsbook offers up these series score scenarios after three games:

  • Milwaukee 2-1, +110
  • Atlanta +2-1, + 320
  • Milwaukee 3-0, +225
  • Atlanta 3-0, +1800

Or the length of series prediction:

  • 4 games, +420
  • 5 games, +190
  • 6 games, +240
  • 7 games, +250

Expect individual game props on Trae Young of the Hawks, Giannis Antetokounmpo for the Bucks, and others.

They will be enticing.  They just won’t be the Sixers or Nets.

Elimination of 76ers and Nets means new Cinderella stories

It’s probably numbing for New Jersey bettors to see that the Bucks became the early-week NBA title favorite at William Hill at +105, followed by the Phoenix Suns at +150. The Los Angeles Clippers are next at +800, while the Hawks are the biggest longshots at +1100.

With so much expected of the Nets and 76ers, no wonder the Suns, who opened the season at +5000 and the Hawks, at +15000 (150-1) are big stories now

The Bucks’ highest title odds at any point were +1600 on June 10, when they were trailing 2-0 to the Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Clippers were at +1700 back in late May, and were at +1600 on June 12, down 2-0 to the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals.

The other two teams possessed much longer odds at certain points of the season.

The Suns were at +5000 (50-1) when their NBA title futures were released on Oct. 12, as well as in February.  Meanwhile, the Hawks were displayed at +50000 (500-1) from Feb. 28 to Mar. 20.

There are some large bets at both William Hill and DraftKings Sportsbook on the Hawks to win everything, prompting liability to ride above $1 million. But none came from New Jersey.

These are the stories New Jersey bettors were certain they would not discover when the NBA Playoffs began. 

But that’s why they play the games.

The sad irony of Philadelphia 76ers

By winning the Eastern Conference regular-season crown, the Sixers supposedly did themselves a favor. As the No. 1 seed, they positioned themselves to avoid the Nets and Bucks in round two.

So according to the hypothetical blueprint, they would cruise past the Hawks and hope the Nets and Bucks had a long, drawn-out series.

They got the drawn-out series from the Bucks and Nets. But it didn’t matter. They didn’t win their own series, even dropping three games at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Sixers and Nets bettors are now dealing with the aftershock.

How unlikely was it for the Nets and Sixers to both lose Game 7 at home?

In Game 7 NBA matchups, higher-seeded teams were 109-31, a clip of nearly 78%. And two home favorites lost on consecutive nights.

The big money was on the Nets and Sixers. But the smart money was ultimately wagered on the contrarian angle.

NBA betting winners and losers from the weekend

Clearly, backing the underdogs is paying off for NJ online bettors.

The Nets had 74% of the DraftKings wagers at -2 and 71% on the moneyline at -114. Those who had the guts to take the Bucks on the road, in the finale of a series in which every home team had won, prevailed.

DraftKings betting reflected a “jump ball” between the smaller and larger bettors in the Sixers-Hawks finale.

The Hawks obtained 59% of the spread bets at +6.5

But the Sixers garnered 57% of the revenue, meaning that the big money lined up behind Philly.

PointsBet NJ reported a similar phenomenon. A full 66% of the bets landed on the Hawks +7 but 62% of the money was on the Sixers. 

The public prevailed, the sharps lost.

As for the series, anyone who took the Hawks at +500 at DraftKings, where they drifted to midway through the Sixers series, obtained a huge score.

NJ online sportsbooks are winners, too

 Nobody danced in the aisles more than executives at DraftKings, William Hill, BetMGM, FanDuel, etc. This is their all-time slam-dunk success story because their major, multi-million-dollar liabilities were eliminated.

The Los Angeles Lakers bowed to the Phoenix Suns in Round 1.

The Nets had been the perennial championship favorite most of the year. They took enormous money after spending $115 million to obtain the league’s best three players in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden.

The Sixers did not approach this betting level, but they did win the Eastern Conference regular-season championship and their post-season odds had ticked downward once the Nets looked vulnerable because of injuries in the Bucks series.

Yes, DraftKings has a $1 million liability on the Hawks to win everything, based on one $50,000 wager, at +2000, but that’s better than having the Sixers in contention.

Losers: 76ers, Nets come up short

Rarely has “a game of inches” meant more than in the Nets loss Saturday.

The Nets nearly stole the series with one second left in regulation.  When they trailed 109-107, Durant hit a miraculous buzzer-beater that was called a three-point shot on television.

And it looked that way. But replay confirmed that Duran’s feet touched the three-point line where he launched the shot, and it was ruled a two-pointer, thus overtime.

How the Nets only scored two points in overtime is another story in their 115-111 loss.

Durant played the game he was brought in for, delivering 48 points and big bucket upon big bucket. At least the Nets bowed in a great game.

Meanwhile, the Sixers just bowed.

After blowing whopping leads of 18 and 26 points in consecutive setbacks to the Hawks, the Sixers had previously choked. In losing to 103-96 Sunday, they simply looked not good enough.

Certainly not mentally tough enough.

At critical junctures in Game 5 and 7, they committed fouls on 3-point attempts, resulting in three free throws. When it happened Sunday, turning a one-point deficit into a four-point, two-possession game in the final minute, it signaled the end.  Joel Embiid then lost the ball, and it was over.

The Sixers were atrocious in crunch time in the fifth and seventh games. Shot selection was bad, as their big men needed to play closer to the basket to get to the free-throw line.

Highs and lows of prop game

Props can keep you on the edge of your seat.

A weekend offer from William Hill on the Nets and Sixers games certainly did.

Combined with a $50 wager, it awarded a $100 free bet if any member of the covering team had a player with any total – points, rebounds, or assists – landing on seven.

Some New Jersey bettors wished William Hill had a bad-beat committee after Saturday.

Brook Lopez of the Bucks had 17 points and the Bucks were about to win by two points over the Nets. With three-tenths of one-second remaining, not even a full second, just a fraction, an inbounds pass came in, Lopez was fouled and it was considered intentional. 

This produced a technical foul, bringing Lopez to the line, where he hit two of three free throws. Goodbye $100 freebie.

And that was the second part of the Bad Beat. Durant’s terrific game-tying two-pointer came with one foot on the three-point line. If he’s a couple of inches back, the Nets win the game and series by one point and the Bucks, at +2, would have come through on this promotion.

So close.

One night later, however, the Hawks produced on that prop. 

Many astute New Jersey online bettors played this promotion both nights and ultimately prospered.

Dreamstime Photo

 

History Sets The Stage For Saturday’s 147th Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby history is rich with facts and figures that provide a big-picture perspective on one of America’s oldest sporting events.

The 147th Kentucky Derby is now hours away. The prestige surrounding the event generates so many great anecdotes.

The Kentucky Derby history is rich with facts and figures that provide a big-picture perspective on one of America’s oldest sporting events. This includes some potential side horse betting journeys.

Here is a look back at some of the top Kentucky Derby moments.

Kentucky Derby history and betting highlights

The first Derby took place in 1875.

Today, it has a $3 million purse. Heading into his weekend’s event,  as far as wagering goes,2019 is the year to beat. That year, a record $165.5 million was bet on the Kentucky Derby.

The global pandemic caused a temporary plunge to less than $100 million last year. However, post-pandemic numbers, fueled by legalized online gambling, should set new records in the future.

And here are some other notable betting highlights from the previous 146 Kentucky Derbys.

Largest Upset

This requires going back in time to 1913 when Donerail, at 91-1, won the Kentucky Derby. The $184.90 payout for a $2 ticket remains the biggest in history.

Other notables: Giacomo, 50-1 in 2005 and Mine That Bird, 50-1 in 2009.

Largest superfecta

The 2005 Kentucky Derby still holds the No. 1 spot. Giacomo, Closing Argument, Afleet Alex, and Don’t Get Mad returned a whopping $864,253 for the $ 1 super.

The odds were 50-1, 70-1, 9-2, and 29-1 for the top four horses.

We still don’t know how someone came up with the numbers 10, 18, 12, and 17. Kids ages? Birthdays? Throw out the inside numbers?

Kentucky Derby fun facts

Triple Crown winner Secretariat (1973) still holds the record for the fastest time at 1:59.40.

Three fillies have won the Derby:

  • Winning Colors in 1988
  • Genuine Risk in 1980
  • Regret in 1915

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has Medina Spirit in this Derby, guided the last two Triple Crown champions.

Post position 17 has never produced a Kentucky Derby winner. That spot belongs to Highly Motivated this year. And he has a shot with 10-1 odds.

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The first leg of the Triple Crown

The Kentucky Derby is the opening leg of racing’s Triple Crown, which includes the Preakness Stakes (May 15) and the Belmont Stakes (June 5).

There have been 13 Triple Crown winners, including two in recent years. American Pharoah broke a 37-year dry spell in 2015, becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

American Pharoah’s Derby appearance prompted the all-time attendance record of 170,513. After the pandemic dropped the total to roughly 22,500 in 2020, 45,000 fans will be allowed in this year.

Post-pandemic, the Derby will eventually reclaim six-figure attendance.

DraftKings free Kentucky Derby pool

DraftKings is offering a nice $100,000 Kentucky Derby free-to-play contest in its pools section. Answer several questions and try for the $5,000 top individual prize. The sportsbook intends to obtain a bigger presence in major races by next year.

While that process with state regulators ensues, it has reached out to the players. More than 50,000 people have already signed up to take a shot.

William Hill will be open at Monmouth Park

The William Hill sportsbook will be open at Monmouth Park, which takes Derby bets at its simulcast facility. The racetrack has planned a big weekend around Churchill Downs’ big Friday and Saturday cards.

The William Hill book is open Friday from 10 a.m. to 1.am and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday. Sportsbook wagers can augment the full simulcast horse-racing card starting at 10:30 a.m. both days.

Even though William Hill is not taking Derby bets, the operator shared some betting analysis. Essential Quality is the favorite, but he is not necessarily a lock to produce the winning ticket.

“Essential Quality is not going to be a 6/5 (+120) or even-money favorite, [that heavy of a favorite] is not going to happen this year,” said Paul Bach, bookmaker for William Hill US. “It’s not a great field from top to bottom, but there are maybe 10 horses, for sure five, that can beat Essential Quality.”

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

 

 

Tee Time: Different Ways To Bet The Masters At NJ Online Sportsbooks

Tiger Woods will be missing from The Masters, but NJ sportsbooks are ready to go with another round of excellent betting odds and props.

The early bird catches the prop and other betting axioms surround the fabled Masters Tournament at New Jersey online sportsbooks.

The assemblage of top golfers and past champions for the PGA’s first 2021 major runs Thursday-Sunday. The golf betting festival includes early-morning start times, hole-by-hole results, individual matchups, and final results.

Major sportsbooks offer a strong menu and excellent betting odds for this tournament from Augusta National Golf  Club in Georgia.

Who are the favorites to win The Masters?

At DraftKings Sportsbook, 2020 champion Dustin Johnson, is +950 to win. And, as of Tuesday morning, he is +220 for a top-five finish and +100 for the Top 10.

He set a Masters record of 20 under par in November.  Is he a Masters’ master or did he prefer the rare, COVID-19 induced fall schedule over the spring tourney?

The next four golfers range between +1100 and +1250 on the win line, pay +275 for a Top-5 and +125 for a Top-10 finish.

They include:

Bryson DeChambeau, always a victory threat at +1150.

Jordan Spieth, +1150, won last week’s tournament in Texas, rides the momentum of recent form to Augusta. Spieth would be a strong consideration to play well here.

In seven Masters appearances, Spieth has a win, two second-place finishes, and a third.

Justin Thomas (+1150) and Jon Rahm (+1200), two of the sport’s biggest names, round out the top-five favorites.

Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites that “this is some of the best betting value in the sport of golf.”

“Some guys will get very high prices because there is so much talent here that everybody is being bet,” said Avello.

“Where else are you going to get the favorite, at +950? Some bettors go deeper on the board and there’s Rory McIlroy in the high teens, Brooks Koepka at +2800, and players like Paul Casey (+3500) and Lee Westwood (+5000) are getting action.”

What about past champs?

The 2018 winner Patrick Reed is +3500 to win, +600 for the Top 5, and +300 for the Top 10.

Sergio Garcia, the 2017 champion, is +6000 to triumph, +1000 for Top 5, and +450 for the Top 10.

Here is how to watch the 2021 Masters:

  • Thursday and Friday: 3-7:30 p.m., ESPN 
  • Saturday: 3-7 p.m., CBS 
  • Sunday: 2-7 p.m., CBS 

Masters betting strategies

There are several ways to wager on the 2021 Masters at NJ online sportsbooks.

One is to take the possible gimme promo that DraftKings is offering new users. Basically, a $1 wager could turn into $100 by Sunday. All it takes is to bet on any golfer to make the top 10.

But in order to tee off on this promo, new users will need to create an account and make at least a $5 deposit. NJ bettors will be issued one single-use odds boost to use for any player to reach the Top 10. The bet must be placed before the Thursday morning start.

Select the boost from your bet slip before placing the wager to apply the boosted price. This bet excludes live bets, parlays, free bets, cash out bets, and voided bets.

This is hardly a no-brainer, but payouts far exceed the near even-money odds on a chalk.

No Tiger Woods, but Tiger mania returns

Woods took the 2019 Masters by storm, encouraging books to offer multiple props on him. Especially his score on every hole en route to his fifth Green Jacket.

“No player is bigger than the tournament itself, but we can certainly credit Tiger Woods for the evolution of how the game is wagered upon now,” Avello said. “People tuned in to bet Tiger and watch Tiger.”

The prop bets he inspired now extend to much of the field, creating an in-game prop-betting paradise.

Most holes end in par and betting odds reflect that. The best wagering opportunities come in predicting birdies and bogeys when betting a player’s next-hole score.

There are seven holes in which birdies and bogeys were prominent in the 2020 Masters. This is where some money can be made.

Let’s first look at the best birdie chances.

Holes two, eight, and 15, all par 5s, are reachable in two shots. The second also has an opening in front of the green. There will be many eagle putts and players settling for birdie. According to 2020 statistics, these holes yielded the most Masters birdies.

But there are bogey possibilities, too.

The 11th is a long, 505-yard par 4. It has a stroke average of 4.35.

The 12th is a 155-yard par 3 with a putting surface protected by a large creek in front and a sand trap in the back.

The 17th and 18th holes, par 4s, summon pressure. They play harder than the holes look and have two of the highest bogey totals from 2020.

Birdies and bogeys? They add up to bucks.

Take a player at different odds points

Bettors readily load up on NFL games, which normally return -110 on both sides for the standard spread wager.

You’ll find a golfer listed around 40th for that price here.  It’s good odds management to take a player at those odds, giving yourself a large cushion to cash a bet. As an aside, taking that player in the Top 30, Top 20 or even Top 10 is viable, with a different-sized wager.

But in playing the percentages, it’s prudent to give yourself 40 spots. Or at least 30.

William Hill + Masters props

If you’re in the market for Masters props, William Hill is another sportsbook with excellent selections.

Will Johnson and DeChambeau both card 69 or under in the opening round?

That’s +300 if they do.

There is a category for individual winners in matchups of three. Some even come in packages of two.

So take your favorite head-to-head battle and create a tournament. Call it a tournament within a tournament for yourself.

Some bettors will likely include Spieth. He opened at 50/1 and was as high as 60/1 back in early February.

“Spieth plays well in Augusta and now he’s back in great form,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US. “Obviously he’s been on fire the past two months, so it’s not a surprise to see the masses going with him here. He’s the leader in the clubhouse right now in tickets and money.”

Bet MGM + Masters margin of victory

BetMGM incorporates the competitive nature of the event.

Try predicting how much the winner prevails.

Calling it a one-stroke margin pays +240. A correct two-stroke victory call is +400 and three strokes is +600.  A playoff is +350.

But before taking this wager, look back at every Masters between 2015 and ’19.  Each of them was decided by one stroke, with the exception of ’17, which resulted in a playoff.

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Looking At Philadelphia Phillies Odds Of Finishing 2021 Season With A Winning Record

“Bettor Up!” That’s right, the 2021 Philadelphia Phillies betting season is approaching home.

This week launches the MLB betting celebration at New Jersey online sportsbooks. There are a couple of days left for Garden State bettors to secure the best futures odds for seasonal win totals, division championship odds, and player props.

But Thursday, April 1 is the day the real sports betting in New Jersey fun begins. Call it the first pitch of the game-by-game wagering season. The Phillies are hosting the Atlanta Braves on Thursday at3:05 p.m. There will roughly 8,800 spectators allowed inside Citizens Bank Park.

Ace Aaron Nola gains his fourth straight opening day assignment for Philadelphia.

Near-term, the Phillies open the campaign with three home games against the Braves followed by a three-game series versus the New York Mets.  But there are 162 regular-season games to be played.

With that in mind, here is a long-term Phillies betting overview.

Phillies line shopping at NJ online sportsbooks

William Hill sportsbook unleashed some late love on the Fightin’ Phils. The book recently upgraded the Phillies’ over-under total to 82.5 wins. A successful over wager would accompany the Phillies’ first winning season since 2011.  It’s also the last time they finished higher than third in the National League East.

DraftKings Sportsbook has a different perception. It lists the Phillies at 80.5 for the total.

This is a nice betting window.

“Over” bettors may select the DraftKings wager, although the -143 is not a great price. That’s because 98% of the early money went on the “over”, driving the price upward, according to a pre-season report by the book.

DraftKings’ next move could be to raise the wins total if volume continues like this.

“Under” bettors will take the William Hill wager. (it’s -110 for the over or under). The two-game difference of opinion between the books is a victory for the bettors.

William Hill also unfurled an odds boost from +850 to +950 for the Phillies to win the National League East. Boosts like this coax bettors to chase the remote possibility that occasionally hits.

The book has the Mets and Braves co-favored to win the East at +140.

There’s no need to rush on the Phillies +4000 to win the World Series at DraftKings. Those odds stay locked in for a while.

 Betting on Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper is +1500 to win the National League MVP award at DraftKings. According to the operator, he has the third-highest amount of gambling money, 14%, in a field dominated by Washington star Juan Soto (+750).

Of the top performers, Harper is the one who looks to be getting more money than his odds should dictate.

Harper is +2000 to be the home-run leader, and in a league with Pete Alonso (+1100) of the Mets, that’s unlikely.

How about Harper on the dinger line?

His over-under is 36.5 (-112). The RBI prop is over-under 108.5. The beauty of this bet is its fair odds and makes Harper a bet-within-a-bet all season. Some gamblers who love this action may go heaviest on this bet, above all others.

Harper had 35 homers and 99 RBI for the Phillies in 2019. This prop would be right in that ballpark.

April presents a big test for Phillies

After Nola’s game and an off-day Friday, Zack Wheeler gets the ball Saturday (4:05 p.m.) and Zach Eflin Sunday 1:05 p.m.). Matt Moore and Chase Anderson presumably open against the Mets.

The first week is followed by three games in Atlanta and four in New York. Thirteen games to open the campaign against the two favored NL East teams. Not an easy task.

There are then seven games against the St. Louis Cardinals and one more versus the Mets, in April.

This first month will determine a lot about the season.

Phils’ bullpen can produce an upgrade

The Phillies had one of the worst bullpens of all time last season. It yielded more than seven runs every nine innings.

But there is some promise.  Hector Neris has been joined by Archie Bradley, Brandon Kintzler, and Jose Alvarado, who have all been closers in recent years.

Who wants the ball?

Bradley had 18 saves two years ago for the Arizona Diamondbacks and six in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. He is considered the Phillies’ closer, for now.

Kintzler was second in the entire National League in saves last season, with 12. He was not overpowering, but effective enough, with a 2.22 earned-run average. Kintzler had to fight to make this roster and did.

Alvarado is the only left-handed reliever to make the cut.

This could mean he’ll be used in key eighth-inning matchups to get one batter or even close in the ninth against a team with left-handed batters. He routinely hit 100 mph with his fastball and got some big outs in spring training.

In 2018, Alvarado struck out 80 and walked only 29 in 64 innings. He had eight saves and tied for the league lead in holds. Can he get back to that?.

Connor Brogdon is the name discussed least, but he did strike out the side against the New York Yankees on Sunday.

How important is this bullpen?

Just two years, the Phillies had an over-under of 89.5 season wins at most books.  And they were 11 games over .500 a third of the way through the season before collapsing.

The Phillies ought to be improved in this area, perhaps vastly.

Philadelphia needs to maintain its offense

One higher production level from Harper would be helpful. His stats from last year would equate to35 homers and 89 RBI in a full season. There is room for him to uptick in power and improve on his non-stellar .268 average.

The Phillies may need that because Didi Gregorious was a terrific acquisition in 2020. But the shortstop led the Phillies with 40 RBI, which would mean 108 this year. Nice, but you wouldn’t count on that again.

J.T. Realmuto’s numbers from last year would mean 30 homers and 87 RBI this year. High expectations from a catcher, but reachable.

And the Phillies need Alec Bohm, who had such an eye-opening .338 average last year, to deliver over a full season.

Now it’s just a matter of seeing how the different pieces come together once the regular season gets underway.

AP Photo/Chris Szagola

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Villanova Still In The March Madness Mix, With No. 1 Baylor Up Next

March Madness betting action picks back up this weekend with some surprise teams still in the hunt for a Final Four spot.

March Madness betting resumes on Saturday with the Sweet 16. And the field includes a 15. a 12 along with a pair of 11s.

And the New Jersey online dog bettors who rode those teams last weekend look for a March Madness encore.

When the NCAA Tournament action picks back up this weekend the field will have the highest number of seeds [of the remaining teams] — 94  — in tournament history. The action runs Saturday and Sunday for the next round, with the Elite Eight following Monday and Tuesday.

And then the 2021 Final Four will be set.

Villanova Wildcats are still dancing

Garden State gamblers were surprised to see Villanova shake off injuries to defeat Winthrop and North Texas. Bettors wagered heavily against the Wildcats, whose season had looked to be over when they failed to win the first round of the Big East tournament.

But now, presto, Villanova faces No. 1  Baylor and gains sizable points.

Villanova’s two victories also propelled the Wildcats from +10000 (100-1) to +4000 (40-1) for the championships futures at William Hill NJ.

 The rise of Villanova, once the nation’s third-ranked team, was partially logical.

March Madness shock value

Oral Roberts, the No. 15 seed that knocked off Ohio State at +15.5 and Florida at +8.5 at most NJ online sportsbooks, opened as a double-digit underdog versus Arkansas.  

Oregon State, the No. 12 seed in the Midwest Region, buried Tennessee and Oklahoma State. The Beavers are a dog against Loyola of Chicago, which beat Georgia Tech and then top-seeded Illinois.

How many points is Divine Inspiration worth to Loyola? Sister Jean, its celebrated 101-year-old team chaplain, issued a pre-game prayer that went viral before the second game.  She prayed that Loyola would outrebound Illinois, noting layup and three-point percentages.

As she sat in a wheelchair, Sister Jean’s prayer was answered.

Gamblers want to know if she thinks Loyola can cover 6.5 now. And whatever happens, if Sister Jean’s team plays Oral Roberts? Does religious influence cancel out?

No. 11 Syracuse, which throttled San Diego State and West Virginia, gets a handful of points against  No. 2 Houston.

No. 11 UCLA, which needed a First-Four game rally to upend Michigan State, parlayed the comeback to wins over BYU and Abilene Christian.  The Bruins, playing with house money, battle favored  Alabama, No. 2.

Otherwise, top-seeded Gonzaga remains a prominent favorite over Creighton

Top-seeded Michigan gives points to Florida State

No. 7 Oregon and No. 6 USC meet in the closest thing to a tossup.

March Madness bettors ready to load up

Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites that more money is going to be wagered in the next round. 

“With less games, four per night in the next round, there will be more sizable wagers,” said Avello.  “People will be trying to do more parlays, etc., with either one team or one game. This has been a crazy tournament so far.”

Some results appear typical. Three of the four No. 1 seeds,  Michigan, Baylor, and Gonzaga, advanced to the Sweet 16. Illinois was throttled by Loyola.

What’s different is the absence of  No. 2 and 3 seeds. Second-seeded Ohio State and Iowa were vanquished. So were third-seeded West Virginia, Kansas, and Texas

That brings betting money to an unusual area.

“As a result, you still have some futures wagering being written,” said Avello. “We still have Oral Roberts at 100-1 and there has been some play.

“You could even take an Oregon State at 50-1, maybe a Creighton at 40-1. Michigan is still at +750, and it was only +800 for the start of the tournament, so the team hasn’t dropped off much.

“Even Gonzaga, the big favorite, is still +155.”

DraftKings gains split of big results

Loyola stopping top-seeded Illinois helped all books.

But Oral Roberts performed oral surgery on the DraftKing Sportsbook’s bottom line once bettors doubled down on the team’s unlikely second-round victory.

DraftKings had enticed gamblers with an odds boost of Oral Roberts to +500 for the second game. For a 15 seed, it may have seemed like a safe move.

Did bettors pounce on the +500?

“Oh yes they did” Avello said.

“In that game, we lost a ton. Gamblers were betting them on the moneyline the night before, even on Sunday. Players always look for a good dog to play. When you look back at Oral Roberts, it had played teams like Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma,” said Avello.

“They hadn’t been buried by those teams, they usually lost by about 10. Then they won several games in a row and I think the players picked up on that.”

William Hill NCAA Tournament trends

Willian Hill had the same big winning game as DraftKings, but a different big loser.

“The biggest win for the house was Illinois-Loyola Chicago for sure,” said Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US. “The biggest loser was either USC-Kansas or Gonzaga-Oklahoma. USC-Kansas was the late game and Pac-12 had been rolling, so there was a ton of support on the short line come game time.” 

For the Sweet 16, Bogdanovich noted that Arkansas and Oral Roberts are a combined 4-0 against the spread, including three outright victories as underdogs. 

These contests also feature the two highest Sweet 16 totals, with Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts at 159.5 and Gonzaga vs. Creighton at 158.5.

“Gonzaga has covered both their games, people love Gonzaga,” he said.  “They want to see a mid-major finally get it done. We’ll need Creighton for sure in that game. Then I actually think it helps Oral Roberts that they’re running into a team that also plays fast. It’ll come down to how many threes they can hit against Arkansas.”

 Bogdanovich considers Syracuse “the public dog” against Houston, who the book will need to win.

Big bets at BetMGM

Over at BetMGM sportsbook, some big bets already poured in.

One bettor wagered $100K to win $150K on Gonzaga at +150. 

Here are some notable Sweet 16 bets:

  • $451,000 to win $410,000 on Alabama -6
  • $367,200 to win $306,000 on Oregon +3
  • $306,000 to win $255,000 on Loyola-Chicago -6
  • $222,200 to win $202,000 on Florida State +3

Most bettors will gamble less and feel less pressure. But either way, we’re just getting warmed up.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

No More Waiting: The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Tips Off Today

The NCAA Tournament returns after a one-year hiatus, creating plenty of buzz for New Jersey online sportsbooks and bettors.

March Madness betting season is back! New Jersey online sportsbooks, Garden State bettors, and the college basketball world issue thanks as the 2021 NCAA Tournament begins today.

The championship tournament, sorely missed last year, has been greeted like a returning long-lost friend.

Here are some significant betting aspects.

It’s a Rainmaker

Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites this is “the biggest event we have when you consider it takes place over three weeks and that you have several days each week.”

“I think going back about three years, just when it was brick-and-mortar casinos and no online betting, Las Vegas did about $325-$350 million for the tournament. [Avello would come to work at 6 a.m. to see the sportsbook packed and gamblers lined up to bet.]  I read somewhere recently that if all 50 states carried sports betting, March Madness would generate something like $16 billion.”

Billion, with a B.

“We have a lot of different types of customers now,” Avello said. “We have casual players and huge players. It will not be unusual for us to take six-figure bets in the first round.”

Wildcat strike, Villanova bettors abandon ship

The Villanova Wildcats opened at -7 for their first-round game versus Winthrop across the major sportsbooks, but the gamblers are taking the other side. DraftKings Sportsbook had the line at -6.5 on Wednesday night as bettors assessed the spate of injuries hurting Villanova’s campaign.

A season-ending injury to star guard Collin Gillespie and a less-than-100% Justin Moore has derailed Villanova. It lost to Georgetown, a sub-.500 team, in the first round of the Big East Tournament, and hits the Big Dance in a tailspin.

As of Wednesday afternoon, DraftKings had Winthrop at 75% of the spread handle and 64% on the moneyline at +215.

Villanova is not feeling the March Madness betting love.

Gonzaga, Michigan lead NCAA Tournament betting money trail

When it comes to liabilities, Avello said Michigan and Gonzaga are the big ones “on the future line” for DraftKings.

“With Michigan, you could have taken them, and a good number of bettors did when they were more than 20-1 a few weeks back,” said Avello.

“Gonzaga has never gone too high on the price, but they never had a cooling-off period. They were 26-0 and kept getting bet along the way.”

Michigan was sliding at the end of the season and could get knocked out. If Gonzaga loses, it would produce the sportsbooks’ exhilaration to match one of its historic triumphs, the 74-54 surprise by 16th-seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County over defending national champion Virginia in 2018.

Virginia not only took the most money but was tied in with numerous parlay tickets, which were torched. Advantage: book.

The beauty of early-rounds March Madness? Uncertainty all the way.

Opening weekend NCAA Tournament excitement

Avello sees a few different avenues bettors will use.

“They will take the moneyline favorites and use those teams in parlays,” he said, “and then they will look at our 20% parlay boosts. After that, they are going to tease some of these teams down, taking alternate lines.

“I don’t think it’s worth it to take a team giving 25 points and take that down to 20, but if you have a team like Kansas, it might be worth considering teasing them down to 5 or 6 (from 10.5) against Eastern Washington.”

Avello said he has good vibes regarding two other teams in the first round. One is No. 4 Florida State, which plays University North Carolina Greensboro and then would play the Georgetown-Colorado winner. The schedule could set up well for Florida State.

The other, New Jersey online bettors, is No. 10 Rutgers. Although the Scarlet Knights can’t be wagered upon in New Jersey, Avello said moving across state lines to bet the Scarlet Knights in Pennsylvania is “easy enough to do.” He gives them a good shot against Clemson because “the Big 10 is tournament tested.”

Note: With the First Four games occurring Thursday, the first weekend of March Madness runs five straight days, through Monday.

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Bet MGM and the sharp moves

Over at BetMGM sportsbook, there have been plenty of line movements heading into the First Four and first-round games taking place on Friday and Saturday.

Move for the favorite:

  • Mount St. Mary’s +2 to -1 vs. Texas southern
  • San Diego State -2 to -3 vs. Syracuse
  • West Virginia -12 to -13 vs. Morehead State
  • Illinois -22 to -22.5 vs. Drexel

Move for the underdog:

  • Ohio +9.5 to +7.5 vs. Virginia
  • Liberty +9.5 to +7.5 vs. Oklahoma State
  • Colgate +9.5 to +8.5 vs. Arkansas
  • Drake +2 to pick’em vs. Wichita State

Move for the over:

  • Villanova-Winthrop total 138.5 to 142.5
  • Arkansas-Colgate total 157.5 to 161.5
  • Kansas-Eastern Washington total 142.5 to 145.5
  • Alabama-Iona total 145.5 to 146.5

Move for the under:

  • Oklahoma State-Liberty total 146.5 to 140.5
  • Florida-Virginia Tech total 137.5 to 135.5
  • Creighton-UCSB total 140.5 to 138.5
  • UCLA-Michigan State total 136.5 to 135.5

William Hill’s NCAA Tournament betting bonanza

The 12-versus-5 argument gains additional credence this year. William Hill highlighted it with a high return for a 12-seed sweep of the 5’s, paying +12,500.

Will all four No. 12 seeds prevail in the first round?

OK, it never happens.

But all the dogs are between +5 and +7 .5 at William Hill. Viable enough to win.

It creates an angle. Even if taking all four No 12’s to win is a pipe dream, what about taking two, or three?

Who are the 12’s? Georgetown, which plays Colorado; Winthrop, which opposes Villanova; Oregon State, which battles Tennessee, and the University of California Santa Barbara, which faces Creighton.

Georgetown is red-hot, winning the Big East Tournament with four wins in four days last week.  Creighton and Villanova, two of the No. 5 seeds, both lost to Georgetown in the Big East. What if they are vulnerable?

Take any two of the 12 seeds to prevail in a parlay and your odds exceed +800. Triumph with three and the numbers go above +3000. If Georgetown is for real, taking the Hoyas with one other successful team is an exceptional return.

Or make a different team a key. Either way, parlaying some victorious 12’s will pay big.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings