The NFL season may be over, but bettors have a lot to look forward to with March Madness right around the corner. One New Jersey bettor put his college basketball prognostication to good use over the weekend, turning a $100 wager into a win of almost $45,000.
The parlay legs included wagers on the following teams:
- Cincinnati (against Memphis)
- Houston (against Central Florida)
- Oral Roberts (against Denver)
- Old Dominion (against UAB)
- Iowa (against Indiana)
- Hawaii (against Long Beach State)
- San Diego (against Loyola Marymount)
- Washington (against Arizona)
- Wofford (against East Tennessee State)
- Nebraska of Omaha (against South Dakota)
Getting to the finish line had plenty of ups and downs for this winner. Cincinnati trailed by six at the half, but came back to win by 5. Houston and Oral Roberts both won easily also. Old Dominion was outscored by 16 in the second half, but still won by 11 against UAB. Iowa topped Indiana by 5, Hawaii beat Long Beach State by 7, and the Huskies cruised over Arizona.
San Diego proved to be a close one and provided some sweat. The Toreros trailed Loyola Marymount by 2 at the half, but were able to turn things around and squeak out a 2-point victory.
Two games must have been particularly worrisome but swung the right way in the end. Nebraska of Omaha faced off against South Dakota in a major scoring fest. After 40 minutes of play, the game was tied at 87-87. The Mavericks outscored the Coyotes in overtime, however, to keep the parlay alive with a 107-102 victory.
The Wofford-East Tennessee State matchup also proved tough, but no double-digit parlay would be complete without some nervousness. The Terriers battled to a 64-64 tie against the Buccaneers but trailed late in the overtime period. Senior Fletcher Magee, however, nailed a 3-pointer as he was fouled with 31 seconds remaining in overtime. The free throw gave the Terriers a 75-73 and they held on for a 78-76 win.
The victory gave Wofford its 20th win and one New Jersey bettor a huge return on investment.
With Selection Sunday set for March 17 and the first play-in games getting underway March 19-20 in Dayton, Ohio, bettors may be looking for some futures wagering as the tournament approaches.
As of Feb. 13, Tennessee was the top-ranked team in the nation with a 22-1 record. Duke followed the Vols at 22-2, followed by Gonzaga, Virginia, and Kentucky. Last year’s champion Villanova sat at No. 13 with a record of 19-5.
Here’s a look at current odds from the BetStars NJ on some of the favorites to win the title.
- Duke: +175
- Gonzaga: +850
- Michigan: +1200
- Virginia: +1300
- Kentucky: +1400
- Tennessee: +1600
- Nevada: +1600
- North Carolina: +1700
- Kansas: +1700
- Michigan State: +1800
The Showtime cable network announced a new docu-series set to debut March 24. It chronicles the lives and betting of several sports bettors, bookies, and oddsmakers throughout the 2018-19 NFL season.
The show, titled “Action,” has made some news this week not just as a spotlight on the industry, but for a controversial figure highlighted in the series.
The show follows players through the ups and downs of the season, culminating with Super Bowl Sunday. The network says the “character-driven narrative delivers intimate access to a diverse cross-section of authentic and sometimes garrulous subjects within the sports gaming community, documenting the effects of legalization through their prisms.”
“Action” plays out in four parts and explores the changing face of the industry since last May’s Supreme Court ruling.
“The world of sports gambling has fascinated Hollywood for decades, but never before has a documentary captured the essence of the industry at such a pivotal period,” Showtime Sports and Event Programming President Stephen Espinoza said. “Through the lens of industry professionals and real-life gamblers within every virtual layer of the business – both legal and illegal – ‘Action’ delivers a one-of-a-kind look as sports gambling enters a brave new world.”
Controversial figures and criticism
Almost immediately after plans for the new show were released, many in the sports betting industry reacted negatively to some of the figures involved.
One of those is David “Vegas Dave” Oancea, who pled guilty in federal court in January for charges involving using phony Social Security numbers at Las Vegas casinos in transactions of more than $1.2 million. Oancea initially faced 19 felonies, but ultimately pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge by admitting to causing violations of record keeping and procedures.
The fake Social Security numbers used by properties such as Wynn and Westgate, caused casinos to file false federal currency transaction reports. As part of his plea deal, Oancea also agreed to forfeit $550,000.
Oancea claims to have won millions of dollars and runs a tout service offering his picks with several packages available beginning at $199. On his Twitter feed, Oancea describes himself as the “No. 1 sports information consultant as seen on ESPN, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, USA Today and Forbes.”
Others in the industry quickly accused the series of hyping bettors and handicappers involved with suspect tout services.
Ughhhhhhhhhhhh. Touts galore. Including the biggest con job of all: Plea Deal Vegas Dave. https://t.co/IecTmlR3t3
— Rufus Peabody (@RufusPeabody) February 13, 2019
Chronicling an industry
Producers are hoping viewers give the show a shot and note that there are other interesting characters featured in the show. Those include professional gambler Bill Krackomberger and sports handicapper Kelly Stewart. Krackomberger, a longtime Vegas handicapper, seems ready to distance himself a bit from the inclusion of “Vegas Dave” in the show.
“I can tell you I did not film a single scene with VD [Vegas Dave] nor was I even told who was even in the show (besides Kelly) until last week,” he noted Tuesday via Twitter. “Kelly and I had zero clue he was in this show until last week.”
“Action” becomes the latest in a growing number of media offerings and content related to sports betting as the industry grows at a rapid pace. An estimated $400-$500 billion is wagered annually on sports gambling in the U.S., and that is expected to grow. Beyond legal wagering, the show also delves into illegal wagering.
Along with professional gamblers, the show also features Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, sports broadcasting icon Brent Musburger, and comedian Cousin Sal. While some bettors and handicappers may not be pleased with publicizing some of the negative sides to sports wagering, producers are hoping viewers give the series a chance as they try to show a season from all angles.
“The chorus of human stories we present in ‘Action’ will resonate far beyond the world of sports and gambling,” director Luke Korem says. “This is a subculture that reflects to an extreme the risk, reward, and uncertainty we find in our everyday lives. I’m thrilled that Showtime is allowing us to capture these stories at such a unique moment in history.”
Australian sports betting company PointsBet debuted the ninth online sportsbook in New Jersey on Jan. 17. Needless to say, PointsBet CEO Johnny Aitken sounded pretty happy about it when he spoke with TheLines.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s exciting just to take bets.”
Aitken said the PointsBet app is the fourth most downloaded of all New Jersey sports betting apps. In just a week, the application is already closing in on the iTunes Store‘s Top 100 sports apps.
PointsBet is not a standard sportsbook
Naturally, people are interested in new things. However, in the crowded New Jersey market, a garden-variety sportsbook might struggle to stand out after the initial interest.
Thankfully, PointsBet comes with its unique product. Its signature game, points betting, rewards players based upon the magnitude of the final margin of victory.
So, a player will win or lose a multiple of his or her stake in a points bet. The distance from the given line or total acts as a multiplier on the bettor’s stake.
After the game, the final score is 36-28. Since the margin is only eight points, the player would lose $20, since he was wrong about the outcome by two points.
Conversely, let’s say the final score happened to be 40-28. In that case, the player would win $20, since he was correct about the outcome by two points.
Points betting has a learning curve, but it’s worth it
Needless to say, the concept of points betting is a new one to American sports bettors. Aitken acknowledged that getting players up to speed is one of the company’s goals.
“It’s an education piece — even more so in America (than Australia),” he said. “It’s a unique product. There is this sort of learning curve to it, so that’s a challenge for us moving forward.”
Nevertheless, Aitken felt confident that the product would quickly become a favorite for many players. The nature of the game promotes an environment that is both high-risk and high-reward.
Aitken mentioned that some professional bettors had already tried the signature product. He said they reported that it made their hearts pound for the first time in decades.
So, the appeal of such a game is clear. There is no such thing as garbage time with points betting. Even the beginning of the game warrants attention for players who have a points bet going.
“Everything matters,” Aitken said. “It elevates the watching experience.”
Aitken wants to shake things up in New Jersey
This elevation of the moment is symbolic of Aitken’s overall vision for the company. He wants a company that is both aggressive and anti-establishment. That attitude is part of the reason that one of PointsBet’s new ambassadors is NBA great Allen Iverson.
“(Iverson) embodies what PointsBet is all about,” Aitken said. “Going after the establishment. A slick, modern brand. Swagger.”
Aitken’s ethos is also why the company stood alone offering refunds to Saints bettors after the controversial NFC Championship Game. In fact, he said that PointsBet would continue to look for those opportunities to extend goodwill toward their clients:
“We (want) to be seen as the bookmaker that has the client’s back. I believe it will set us up for the long-term.”