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



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