Paying attention to an NFL preseason game, to quote Patches O’Houlihan, is about as useful as a poopy-flavored lollipop.
Sure, Thursday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants afforded fans to catch first glimpses of Cleveland’s top-overall pick and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield as well as electric running back Saquon Barkley of the Giants.
But overreacting (or even reacting) to such a game is as pointless as ordering a salad at McDonald’s. It’s like doing a fantasy football mock draft and bragging about your picks, only for the real draft to come around and you end up looking like a remedial student opening the textbook for Existentialist Thought and its Effects on Quantum Physics.
That said, Thursday’s “There’s Nothing Else To Watch So Here’s This” game was historic. Played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the preseason matchup was not about two first-round picks squaring off. Across the street from the stadium is FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack, at which a number of bettors placed wagers for the game. And from their seats inside MetLife, fans opened up the DraftKings Sportsbook app for in-play betting.
As ESPN‘s Ben Fawkes said, “What a time to be alive.”
Landmark moment for sports betting
Online sports betting is not fresh-out-of-the-box new for NFL games. In London, where several games are played each season, there are mobile sportsbooks available for fans to lay down wagers from their seat at the game.
In the US, however, this is uncharted territory. Certainly, there were knowledgeable fans heading to MetLife for the game who were already aware of DraftKings Sportsbook, which soft-launched last week and became available to everyone Monday. But for those who were not savvy, DraftKings made sure those folks were properly informed of the product.
DraftKings just plastering Secaucus station to remind those on the way to MetLife that we’re now in New Jersey where it’s totally legal to gamble on sports on your phone. pic.twitter.com/9V7QepajI3
— Trash Tyler (@tylerlauletta) August 9, 2018
That set the stage for the first NFL game on American soil during which fans could place legal bets from the “comfort” of their own seats inside the stadium.
Live free and bet hard
According to Fawkes’ story on ESPN, DraftKings said there were no restrictions for mobile betting at MetLife. In-game wagering was available throughout the game until late in the fourth quarter, when the game was taken off the board.
No sports betting handle or revenue was reported by DK Sportsbook, but FanDuel told ESPN that the Browns-Giants game accounted for 30 percent of the book’s handle Thursday night. (In Las Vegas, the game was much lower, down near 10 percent at Westgate.)
Certainly, there are detractors from legalized sports betting, especially when it concerns preseason football. With DK Sportsbook promoting itself hard leading up to the game, several Twitter-ers decided to ruin the party, like the kid on a Friday afternoon who tells the teacher she forgot to assign homework for the weekend.
“If you are betting on a browns/giants preseason game you just might have a gambling problem,” one user wrote. Another added, “If you are betting on Browns Giants preseason game, get help. Seriously get help. You have a gambling problem.”
Regardless of this group, mobile sports betting is alive and well in the Garden State. It will be kicking in London for three NFL games in October as well. This is the new world. We’re all just living in it — and enjoying the ride along the way.
Sports fans can finally cheer. The football season is here. (Well, preseason football anyway). While the games are pretty lame and feature many players who won’t make an official roster, they do offer something many fans have been waiting for – a chance to bet a few bucks on a football game.
Football remains king at the betting window. Of $4.8 billion wagered in Nevada in 2017, one-third was put on college and pro football ($1.7 million). Can money be won on the preseason? Is there any possible way to figure out if the Chargers’ second-stringers can top the Cardinals third-stringers this weekend? Some say the preseason offers a real chance to cash a few tickets (or get a nice feeling when that win pops up on your phone app).
Be in the know
Steve Golden with GoldenBoyPicks.com has been a sports handicapper for 12 years. He says betting preseason involved deeper research, but bets can be won. Younger teams that may be up and comers may have more willingness to play some starters or better players longer. An opportunity might be there for a knowledgeable gambler.
Veteran teams resting starters may be at a disadvantage in the preseason (at least for bettors), and drop games to inferior teams looking to build momentum with a win or nice performance.
“It’s mostly about information and knowing game plans,” Golden says. “Teams looking to have an upstart or breakout year with fresh faces are solid options. They have more motivation to perform and create a good culture of winning.”
A team that would be a heavy underdog in the regular season may have a shot at a preseason win or at least keep it closer than expected. Professional sports bettors take advantage of situations like this.
“A lot of people think the preseason is a complete crapshoot,” professional bettor Ron Boyles told ESPN. “I don’t think there’s too many things better, actually.”
Boyles advises watching for trends. For example, Mike Zimmer is 14-3 in the preseason and Pete Carroll is 34-14-1 against the spread in these games. It’s important to know what to expect in the game. Will the starting quarterback play a half or be pulled after one series? Any extra information can help.
“The best thing is finding out a team that is game-planning against a team that is not,” Boyles said. “It is just like free money, and I like to bet the first half.”
Preseason can also be a great place to really scour box scores for players who might break out. Owners in deep fantasy leagues, especially those that draft early, have a shot to load up players on their watch lists.
Breakout players come from every round in the draft and preseason offers an opportunity to really be in the know.
And who hasn’t had a player go down in the preseason. Maybe you had Ryan Tannehill in 2017. Or Cameron Meredith. Or Julian Edelman. All faced season-ending injuries before the season even started.
Quick-thinking owners check out those backups for a diamond in the rough.
The preseason may not be real football, but a winner is a winner – whether cashing a ticket or finding that breakout star to fill a roster need. And it at least serves as a nice replacement until the real games kick off.
OK, not really. But will Phillip Rivers play at all on the road against the Cardinals? The Chargers are 2-6 straight up and against the spread in their last eight exhibition games. Hmmm…
The “how are we going to make money off of sports betting” industry is as bullish as ICOs were in 2017.
Now one U.S. company having some success is looking to bring their technology to Europe. With Inside Injuries, athletes’ pain is their gain.
Injury reports a staple for bettors…
There’s a reason the NFL requires teams to supply injury reports: it’s always been a wink-wink nod to bookmakers and bettors.
Inside Injuries takes the reporting mechanism and puts an analytic spin on it, spitting out data from a proprietary algorithm detailing the overall impact an injury can have on a player and/or team.
The company already provides player injury data and reports for all players in the MLB, NBA, and NFL.
What they’re not currently covering is the most popular and globally bet game in the world: soccer. According to SportTechie, that across-the-pond hop is coming, and it’s driven by sportsbooks.
…And now bookies want an edge
A service that is beneficial to bettors would obviously help bookmakers too. According to the article:
“Bookmakers are also scooping up as much data as possible to gain an edge over their competitors when setting lines.”
While not mentioned in the article, the ability to forecast individual injury impact on teams can particularly give punters and bookmakers a leg up on in the futures market.
For example, Inside Injuries pushed notifications to their subscribers over a recent Aaron Judge wrist chip fracture. They followed up with data that said, “Our analytics show that he should miss a lot more time (7 weeks),” the report said. “When he is cleared to return, his power won’t be the same.”
Now, while that data couldn’t have foretold the utter shellacking the Yanks received from the Red Sox this past week, it certainly could impact their divisional and World Series future odds.
Football season is officially here the NFL future bets continue to pour in from eager gamblers. Teams seeing the most action from bettors to win the Super Bowl this year are … the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers?
It’s true. According to William Hill, the 49ers are tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the most amount of money bet on to win the Super Bowl. The Giants are second. In terms of the total number of tickets coming in to win the Super Bowl, the Giants top the list (8 percent), followed by the Rams (7 percent), 49ers (6 percent), Packers (6 percent) and Vikings (6 percent).
Check out the latest top 10 future betting trends at our 100+ Sports Book locations & on the Nevada Mobile Sports app to win Pro Football Championship 53. 🏈
Get your future bets in now before the start of the 2018-19 regular season! pic.twitter.com/OgRziOAmFH
— William Hill US (@WilliamHillUS) August 6, 2018
So why are two teams that won a combined nine games in 2017 popular with bettors to make a Super Bowl run this season? There’s no one answer, but value, homerism and regional bias all play a big part in how gamblers view a team’s long-term outlook.
“Teams like the 49ers and Giants are surprising because of hype around the 49ers this year (Jimmy G) and the New Jersey bettors betting the Giants heavy,” Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading at William Hill, told TheLines. “The Raiders, Packers, Cowboys and a few contenders are always heavily bet so that doesn’t come as a surprise.”
The Giants were the NFL’s biggest disappointment last season. Predicted by many to be a serious Super Bowl contender, New York stumbled to the second-worst record in the NFL at 3-13.
The Giants opened at 60/1 to win the 2018-19 Super Bowl at the Westgate SuperBook and 40/1 at William Hill. They’re down to 25/1 at both places and as low as 15/1 at the MGM.
Looking back as to why the Giants imploded, a rash of injuries and Ben McAdoo pretending to be an NFL head coach made New York one of the most uncompetitive teams in the league. The Giants lost eight games by 10 points or more.
Despite their struggles, bettors jumped on the Giants early on to win the Super Bowl. A new coach in Pat Shurmur and key additions like left tackle Nate Solder and rookie running back Saquon Barkley have bettors believing 2107 was just a hiccup for the Giants, especially in the state of New Jersey where sports betting just became legal on June 11.
“In New Jersey we are seeing increased action on the local teams there like the Giants, Eagles, Jets, and Steelers so we have to adjust those accordingly as people are swarming to bet them there,” Bogdanovich said. “In Nevada, we don’t have to adjust those teams too much but we do have to keep an eye on it. For the Giants, bettors in New Jersey are wagering on them like crazy and that is the main reason why we are seeing heavy action on them.”
A 49ers’ gold rush?
The 49ers have been a hot pick to make noise ever since Jimmy Garoppolo took over at quarterback late last season and led San Francisco to five-straight wins to close out the year after the team started 1-10.
The 49ers opened at 20/1 to win the Super Bowl at the Westgate and even though they didn’t offer the same kind of value as teams like the Giants, bettors pounced on San Francisco’s Super Bowl prop. The 49ers are also the second favorite (3/1) to win the NFC West at CG Technology, behind the Rams (2/3).
“We are seeing high betting interest in the 49ers, Rams, and Raiders because of how close in proximity they are to Nevada,” Bogdanovich said. “Bettors in California always seem to stop into our Nevada books to wager on their favorite team. They are also wagering on them because they have a bright future going forward with young promising quarterbacks.”
Just win again, baby
Another team that finished with a losing record but bettors are smitten with heading into the season is the Oakland Raiders. After finishing a disappointing 6-10 last year, the Raiders summoned Jon Gruden from the broadcasting booth following a nine-year hiatus from coaching to return the franchise to glory.
Besides the addition of Gruden, another thing favoring a quick turnaround in Oakland is the Raiders had the third-worst turnover differential last year at -14, ahead of only Denver (-17) and Cleveland (-28). Predictably, those three teams finished a combined 11-37.
So far, bettors are buying a Raiders’ resurgence under Gruden. CG Technology has the highest single bet on the Raiders winning the Super Bowl at 25/1. Oakland is currently down to 20/1 at CG Technology.
“Our biggest overall liability is on the Giants,” Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management at CG Technology, said. “Our single biggest ticket for liability is on the Raiders of $10,000 at 25/1.”
New year, same results?
It’s not inconceivable to think teams coming off a losing season won’t make a Super Bowl run the following year. Just look at last season, for example.
The Philadelphia Eagles were at 45/1 to win the Super Bowl, while the Saints (70/1), Jaguars (75/1) and Rams (125/1) were considered longshots but all three teams won their division. A year later, the Eagles (10/1), Rams (10/1), Saints (16/1) and Jaguars (16/1) are among the favorites to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy.
So, will history repeat itself this season? Many gamblers are betting on it.