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Juan Carlos Blanco

Juan Carlos Blanco

Juan Carlos Blanco has served as a freelance writer for a wide variety of online publications and websites, with an intensive focus on fantasy sports. Juan has provided analysis and comprehensive coverage of the MLB, NBA, NFL and CFL, while also reporting on news and developments in the daily fantasy sports and online gaming industries.

DraftKings Sportsbook App: Here’s How To Get Started

Juan Carlos Blanco December 5, 2018
DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook is now live for all New Jersey residents via one of Resorts Atlantic City Casino’s online sports betting licenses. The DraftKings Sportsbook app is available for download on both iPhone (iOS) and Android platforms.

“I am excited to begin this new chapter in our story by officially launching what I believe to be the most innovative, mobile sports betting product in the U.S.,” said Jason Robins, CEO and co-founder of DraftKings. “We have put immense thought and significant resources behind the development of DraftKings Sportsbook and I’m confident that sports fans in New Jersey will enjoy using it to make the experience of watching the games even more interesting and thrilling.”

TheLines readers in New Jersey qualify for a generous introductory promotion when trying DraftKings Sportsbook for the first time. You will get $25 in free bets  (exclusive to TheLines) and match your first bet up to $500 upon initial deposit. Taking advantage of this offer is as easy as clicking the links below and following the required steps. There are no additional promotional codes required:

$25 No Deposit Bonus!

Instructions for iPhone and Android Devices

Below you’ll find the step-by-step instructions for downloading DraftKings Sportsbook for iOS and Android devices:

  • DraftKings SportsBook AppClick on the DraftKings Sportsbook download link on your device. Make sure you allow DraftKings to use your device’s location so it knows you are located in New Jersey.
  • If you already have an active DK DFS account, click on “Already have a DraftKings account?” and follow the subsequent instructions. Otherwise, click “Sign Me Up” and enter your details on the Sign Up page. Once finished, click the box agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy and hit the green “Sign Up” button.
  • You will advance to the app download page. Click on the download button at the bottom of the screen. Once the app downloaded to your device, click open and log into the DraftKings Sportsbook using the email linked to your account.
  • You’re now eligible for the $25 in free bets and $500 match on your first bet! Follow corresponding instructions for making an initial deposit. Deposits are accepted via credit card.

Deposits and withdrawals at DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook users can share a wallet with their DFS accounts on the site if they have one. Transfer of funds from the daily fantasy side for use on Sportsbook is possible once the individual has played through their DFS deposit.

DraftKings Sportsbook currently offers several options for depositing:

  • Credit card (Visa, Mastercard)
  • Debit card (Visa, Mastercard)
  • Bank transfer

Additionally, DraftKings has added PayPal as a deposit option. The availability of PayPal is particularly important, considering that there are still issues with banks declining an elevated percentage of credit card transactions.

Withdrawals are currently processed via a physical check or via the teller cage at Resorts Casino Atlantic City, the operator whose license DraftKings Sportsbook operates under.

Navigating the DraftKings Sportsbook interface

DraftKings Sportsbook features a betting carousel upon log-in, which will typically feature bets customized to the user’s personal wagering history on the site. Users are able to click on any featured bet open a betting ticket and place their wager.

There is plenty of uniformity between DraftKings’ DFS interface and that of its sportsbook. For example, like their DFS lobby, the sports betting lobby features a horizontal navigation bar across the top that highlights the different leagues and sports for which bets are being accepted. There is also a dropdown tab dubbed “Sports A-Z” where the user can examine all wagerable sports in alphabetical order.

Once a user selects a sport, all available wagers for that sport will display on their screen. This will typically include options for betting on point spreads, money lines, point totals, futures, parlays and props.

Upon a bet being selected, a bet slip pops up to the right-hand side of the screen, allowing the user to populate it with the amount they wish to wager. Users can then track open bets through two different tabs located above the aforementioned horizontal navigation bar:

  • My Bets – lists all of the users’ active bets
  • Live In-Game – lists the current potential payout of any active bet if the user wanted to take advantage of DraftKings’ live in-game ticketing system.

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DraftKings Blazing New Trails With Sports Betting National Championship

Juan Carlos Blanco December 3, 2018
DK Championship

DraftKings got to the top of the DFS mountain by taking some chances and thinking outside the box.

One of the methods by which the industry leader gained notoriety was through its live final events. There have even been full-fledged documentaries memorializing the experience. And while DK wasn’t the first to host one, they arguably have gotten to the point where they pull it off better than anyone else.

The company took a similarly aggressive/innovative approach when entering the sports betting space. Chief Revenue Officer and Co-Founder Matt Kalish made no bones about the company’s goal to become the “best total value operator in sportsbook” as DK officially kicked off its sports betting product in early August.

Bringing a little DFS flavor to the sports betting space

The subsequent months have arguably been an unqualified success by and large for DraftKings Sportsbook, even as it’s still only available in New Jersey. Now, using a little bit of that same ingenuity that they’ve often applied on the DFS front, the company has found a way to hold a first-of-its-kind live final for sports betting that incorporates players from jurisdictions where the activity isn’t yet available.

“At DraftKings, the natural state of things is to look at everything as an opportunity for creativity and disruption,” said Kalish. “We looked at the sportsbook space and saw very little in the way of events. With our history running the biggest and best fantasy events every year, it seemed natural to find a way to bring that kind of experience to the sportsbook space.”

The first annual DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship unfolds in – where else – Jersey City, New Jersey on the weekend of January 11-13. Qualifiers are currently running in the company’s DFS lobby. However, there’s also the option of a direct $10,000 buy-in.

Some of the other logistics of the event include:

  • Each participant begins with a DK-funded $5,000 bankroll.
  • Players must wager at least $1,000 on Friday and Saturday, and at least $2K on Sunday.
  • Wagers can be placed on any sport Friday or Saturday. However, all wagers placed Sunday must exclusively involve the two NFL divisional playoff games unfolding that day.
  • Those requirements must be met in order for participants to retain a spot on the official leaderboard and qualify for the $1,000,000 grand prize, or for the subsequent payouts for lower finishes.
  • All types of bets are in play, including “straight bets, parlays, fantasy props and more” as per Kalish. However, betting closes upon the kickoff of the second NFL divisional playoff game on Sunday.
  • The player with the biggest bankroll at the end of the weekend is crowned the grand prize winner. Subsequent qualifying spots are also determined by bankroll size.
  • The prize pool will be at least $2.5 million, with each direct buy-in above 531 entries increasing the prize pool by $4,700 apiece.
  • Contest is single entry. The event will have a maximum of 1,000 entrants.
  • All players take home the sum total of their bankroll at the end of the weekend. Those who have kept their leaderboard eligibility are also awarded any money they’ve earned through that channel.

Ensuring a level playing field

The Sports Betting National Championship will naturally have quite a few firsts associated with it. One of those is an educational component not found in DK’s live DFS events.

Despite their many similarities, sports betting – and how it’s laid out in the DK Sportsbook app — is in a completely different stage of familiarity as compared to the company’s DFS product for most that will attend the event, considering:

  • Legal single-game sports betting outside of Nevada is still in its nascent stages.
  • Many qualifiers for the proceedings will be migrating over from the DFS space. While conventional wisdom would dictate most have placed a sports bet before, there will inevitably be at least a handful that are considerably inexperienced.
  • The DK Sportsbook app is only fully operational for New Jersey residents at present. It offers a wealth of potential wagering options – including a suite of in-play bets – that even some experienced players may not have extensive experience with. At minimum, many participants will be navigating the platform for the first time upon their arrival at the event.

Accordingly, the company is trying to ensure that no one is at a disadvantage from a knowledge perspective.

“In addition to the abundance of educational features already included in our easy-to-use app that help better acquaint customers with our product, we’ll be providing additional learning materials to all competitors,” remarked Kalish. “We will also have a fully staffed onsite area at the event for customers with any questions or issues that happen to arise.”

“Method to the madness” in contest rules, structure

As Kalish further explains, there’s sound reasoning behind each of the contest’s rules, even when it’s not evident on the surface. For example, the requirement that all final day bets must be exclusively on football stems from the NFL undoubtedly serving as the U.S. market’s most frequently and lucratively bet sport.

The fact that the NBA and NHL – the other two major sports in action at that point of the year – purposely keep their Sunday slates modest while pro football’s in season also played a role.

And as far as the wagering cut-off time on the contest’s final day? There’s a strategic element at play there as well.

“Closing betting at the kickoff of the last game will allow players and spectators alike to watch the last few hours of action with a clear picture of who could potentially walk away the champion,” Kalish said. “We want the final experience to easily display the necessary turn of events required to crown a winner, adding even more anticipation with each in-game moment.”

From the company perspective, that certainly makes sense. DK is naturally hoping this initial version of the Sports Betting National Championship once again positions it as a trailblazer in a new industry, with all the positives that could bring.

The company’s prior experience facilitating live, high-stakes sports-based gaming events was critical. Devising a final-day contest structure that engenders the type of electricity that’s made DK’s DFS live finals an industry standard was high on the priority list, according to Kalish. Especially for an event that DK certainly has a highly bullish long-term view on.

“Based on our experience with our DFS live finals, which we’ve been hosting since 2014, we think this will lead to a much more focused and exciting conclusion to the event.”

Lead image courtesy of DraftKings

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Flurry Of Gambling Partnerships Are Enhancing The In-Stadium Sports Experience

Juan Carlos Blanco December 2, 2018
Gambling Partnerships

Pro sports leagues (pre-May 2018): Sports betting is the scourge of the earth and will ruin the integrity of our games.

Also pro sports leagues (post-May 2018): How fast and in how many ways can we get paid on this sports betting thing?

The latter is the new normal in a post-PASPA landscape. The cash grab initiative actually predates the May 14 Supreme Court decision. The request for the now infamous integrity fees first popped up in an Indiana sports betting bill back in January. The league would attempt to incorporate them – along with official data fees – in the bills for numerous other states.

They’d unanimously be rebuffed.

Leagues, teams getting more intertwined with gambling

Having repeatedly run into a legislative brick wall on that front thus far, the leagues are starting to adjust on the fly. In the spirit of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”, the NBA and NHL have already struck partnerships that include remuneration for official statistical data with MGM Resorts International.

As it turns out, that was only the tip of the iceberg. Individual teams in states with legalized sports betting are also getting in on the action with their own deals.

This month also saw:

  • The NFL’s New York Jets — which play their home games in sports betting-friendly New Jersey — signed a sponsorship deal with 888 Casino.
  • Caesars Entertainment found willing partners in both the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers for its own marketing deal. In the case of the Devils, the agreement includes a second sports betting lounge inside the team’s Prudential Center arena. The first will be William Hill-branded in a deal signed the week prior. Fans will be able to make bets through the respective sportsbooks’ apps within the lounges.
  • The Jets signed a second deal during the week, this time with MGM Resorts International as their official gaming partner. The relationship will include a free-to-play predictive game within the Jets’ official app entitled “I Called It” that will offer prizes and other giveaways.
  • To cap off things off, the focus fittingly was on the “O.G.” of U.S.-based sports betting — Nevada. Caesars Entertainment signed a 15-year agreement that makes it an initial founding partner of the forthcoming state-of-the-art home of the Las Vegas Raiders. The stadium is expected to be ready by the start of the 2020 season.

Money, as it always has, talks

Leagues and teams only occasionally flirted with the gaming industry as a whole prior to the eradication of PASPA. A few teams did have sponsorship agreements with local casinos. However, with sports betting essentially limited to just Nevada, the possibility of a marketing agreement with a sportsbook was a moot point — there weren’t any outside of the Silver State.

Therefore, the leagues had the luxury of pretending that point spreads, over/unders and the like were more or less dirty words that were never uttered or thought about. Yet all the while, an unquantifiable but relevant chunk of the audience on each of their games had some action riding on the contest, whether legally or not.

As it turns out, the progressive legalization of sports betting is not only bringing the public’s widespread craving for the activity out of the shadows — it’s shining a light on the voracious appetite the leagues and their teams have for it as well. In the latter case, the appeal comes in the significant amount of revenue and cross-promotion that the agreements they’re inking at a breakneck pace can bring.

Perks and features of new deals to be felt at fan level

And some of the details in these newly-forged alliances have the potential to reshape and enhance the way that fans experience both their local teams and local casinos. The Devils’ implementation of two sports betting-themed lounges with televisions and odds boards is one such new amenity.

MGM’s agreement to extend “expanded hospitality offerings” at their properties to Jets season ticket holders is another. The thought of Gang Green superfan Fireman Ed getting a complimentary aromatherapy massage to relieve the stress of attending games at MetLife Stadium brings quite the chuckle.

The Vegas stadium deal for Caesars takes things to a whole other level. Select Caesars customers and members of the casino’s Total Rewards program will have a chance for VIP dinners on the field, access to a Caesars-branded suite situated overlooking midfield, tours of the stadium and entry into special events at the team’s training facility.

And of course, while none of these new partnerships involve a physical sportsbook being placed inside a team’s arena or stadium, the possibility already exists for fans to place wagers on their mobile devices while at the events themselves in states where it’s legal to do so.

The fact that they’ll often be in sensory overload with respect to the signage, billboards and other forms of exposure for sportsbooks that these marketing deals enable should only help encourage that extra level of engagement.

MGM Swings For The Fences Again With Latest Pro League Partnership

Juan Carlos Blanco November 28, 2018
MGM MLB

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, the old saying goes. And applying that principle to ensure a cut of exponentially increasing sports betting revenue likely has the leagues purring with satisfaction right about now.

Rebuffed repeatedly by state governments in their quest for integrity and data usage fees, the leagues seemingly have pivoted to two tried-and-true cornerstones of business — ingenuity and deal-making — to accomplish their goals.

MLB the latest to join forces with MGM

The latest example of such became official Tuesday. Major League Baseball (MLB) announced an official “all-inclusive partnership agreement” with MGM Resorts International. If that sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been here before, and recently at that.

The NBA, arguably the most “progressive” of the pro leagues on sports betting prior to the Supreme Court decision that eradicated PASPA, fittingly got the ball rolling. They inked a deal with MGM in late July that made the latter their “official gaming partner”. The NHL mirrored their basketball counterparts just three months later. They too put pen to paper with MGM for an agreement that included remuneration for the leagues for their official game data.

As customary, both parties were effusive in their praise for the newly minted deal and each other in the press release announcing the move.

“We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead.”

“We are excited to enter into this historic partnership with MLB. We are thrilled to create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans,” said MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. “Combining MGM Resorts’ world class entertainment and technology with MLB data will continue to transform a rapidly changing industry.  This partnership further amplifies the significance of our GVC JV, firmly establishing MGM Resorts and playMGM as the market leader in partnerships with major professional sports leagues.”

Plenty of benefits for both parties

The MLB-MGM marriage has a similar structure to those past deals. However, it also includes an international component. As per the terms of the partnership, MGM will also be an official partner for MLB grassroots events in Japan. Those functions include the MLB Road Show, described in the official press release as an “interactive fan experience” where opportunities exist for direct participation in baseball-related activities akin to those offered in similar events stateside.

As with the other leagues-MGM partnerships — and any other marketing/sponsorship agreements for that matter — this latest initiative is built on a foundation of mutual benefits. MGM gets expansive exposure for its brand and various offerings across MLB’s digital and broadcast platforms, both domestically and internationally. The gaming giant will also enjoy a similar presence at signature events such as the All-Star Game and World Series.

MLB will have similar visibility in MGM advertising and promotional campaigns. And, the league also has a commitment from MGM to use its official statistics feed on a non-exclusive basis. That essentially mirrors related wording in the NBA and NHL pacts. However, the agreement also includes a provision for MGM’s use of “enhanced statistics” in its betting offerings.

There’s even a nod to the now infamous integrity fees that have come to symbolize the pro leagues’ quest to establish a recurring financial stream with respect to legalized sports betting. The agreement pledges that both parties will “work together on comprehensive responsible gaming measures and work to protect the integrity of the game both on and off the field.”

Leagues showing they can play nice with sportsbooks … if the price is right

This latest league-level partnership is just another example of the settling of the dust in a post-PASPA reality. There was plenty of uncertainty — not to mention a fair amount of acrimony — in both the months prior and the months following the May 14 SCOTUS decision. As states have passed legislation and successfully initiated betting within their jurisdictions, clarity has been gained on a couple of fronts.

  • One is certainly what was suspected all along — that there’s plenty of interest in legalized sports betting across the country, and money to be made.
  • Another is that something has finally given in the ongoing dispute over integrity and data fees between the leagues and the states.

For the moment, at least, the alternate route of forging partnerships with individual sportsbooks — ones that often still afford the leagues a chance to come to similar terms with other gaming entities — seems to serve as a viable truce.

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Sign Up For BetStars NJ And Receive A Free $50 Bet — No Deposit Required!

Juan Carlos Blanco November 21, 2018
BetStars

BetStars has an enticing offer for new customers in New Jersey as the NFL approaches the stretch run of its season.

Players in New Jersey who have yet to open a BetStars account will receive a $50 free bet when they take the following steps any time between 12:01 am Eastern on Thursday, Nov. 22 and 11:59 pm Eastern on Sunday, Nov. 25:

  • Download the BetStars app onto their smart device during the offer period.
  • Sign up for a new BetStars account by providing all the required information.
  • Within one minute of account creation, the $50 free bet will appear. NO DEPOSIT IS REQUIRED in order to take advantage of this offer.

When the user goes to utilize the $50 free wager, a real-money form will appear. Account holders will be required to provide all applicable information required by New Jersey law, including their date of birth and social security number. Once that information is provided, the $50 bet will be available for use.

Reminder: This free bet is ONLY available on Saturday and Sunday, so don’t miss out!

Plenty of ways to utilize special offer

There will be no shortage of exciting football wagering options this coming weekend on which New Jersey residents can utilize their free $50 offer:

Game Time BetStars Odds
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Thursday, Nov. 22
12:30 p.m. ET
43.5
+3
Washington Redskins
Dallas Cowboys
Thursday, Nov. 22
4:30 p.m. ET
40.5
-7
Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints
Thursday, Nov. 22
4:30 p.m. ET
60
-13
Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, Nov. 25
1 p.m. ET
47.5
-3
Jacksonville Jaguars
Buffalo Bills
Sunday, Nov. 25
1 p.m. ET
37
+3
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Sunday, Nov. 25
1 p.m. ET
46
+9
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, Nov. 25
1 p.m. ET
46
-5.5
Oakland Raiders
Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, Nov. 25
1 p.m. ET
43
-10.5
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Bucs
Sunday, Nov. 25
1 p.m. ET
54.5
-3.5
Seattle Seahawks
Carolina Panthers
Sunday, Nov. 25
1 p.m. ET
47.5
-3.5
Arizona Cardinals
LA Chargers
Sunday, Nov. 25
4:05 p.m. ET
44.5
-12.5
Miami Dolphins
Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, Nov. 25
4:25 p.m. ET
51
-7.5
Pittsburgh Steelers
Denver Broncos
Sunday, Nov. 25
4:25 p.m. ET
47.5
+3
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, Nov. 25
8:20 p.m.
47.5
-3.5
Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans
Monday, Nov. 26
8:15 p.m.
41
-6

Stars Rewards Program offers multiple benefits

A BetStars account brings a number of appealing benefits that extends beyond the company’s sportsbook offerings. The company offers a comprehensive Stars Rewards program that rewards players for their real money play in sports, poker and casino. Players can earn a variety of rewards tailored to the games that they like to play, and opportunities exist for lucrative prizes the more a user plays.

The BetStars NJ iOS app is conveniently available through the iTunes store in addition to its desktop version. Click here to download and receive your FREE $50 bet if you’re in New Jersey.

Local NY Giants Dominating NFL Betting Action At BetStars NJ

Juan Carlos Blanco November 18, 2018
Giants Betting

Both the shiny and familiar objects are getting plenty of attention from customers at BetStars NJ during the NFL season.

The New Jersey sportsbook’s latest data reveals much of what we’d suspect as we approach the NFL regular season’s stretch run:

  • Despite winning only two games, the New York Giants are the most frequently wagered-on NFL team (9.8 percent of NFL bets)
  • Two “legacy” teams with significant nationwide fandom — the Steelers (5.0 percent) and Cowboys (4.6 percent) — check in at number two and four, respectively.
  • The AFC’s hottest team this season, the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs, check in as the third-most popular team for bets at 4.8 percent.
  • Another team with plenty of nationwide interest, the Saints, rounds out the top five at 4.0 percent of all NFL wagers.

Most popular teams a mixed bag versus spread

How have these favorite options performed against BetStars’ lines? Three — KC, New Orleans and Pittsburgh — have frequently rewarded those who’ve wagered on them to cover. They sport respective 80.0 percent, 77.8 percent and 66.7 percent success rates versus the spread thus far.

But, it’s been a different story for those who’ve plunked down some bucks on the pair of NFC East representatives. Both the Giants and Cowboys have each failed to beat the number in five of their nine tries.

Conversely, two other prominent clubs currently making a beeline for the postseason are curiously receiving far less attention from Garden State bettors:

  • The Rams, despite boasting a smorgasbord of offensive firepower that would seemingly engender plenty of confidence in moneyline bets, aren’t the darlings of bettors by any means — they check in as the NFL team with the fifth-fewest percentage of wagers (2.1) placed on it by BetStars customers. The issue may lie in the Rams’ rather surprising inconsistency in covering, despite their sparkling won/loss record — they’re only 4-6 (40.0 percent versus the number).
  • The fast-rising Bears and electric second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky may be thrilling the Chicago faithful, but their mostly impressive exploits have largely fallen flat with the East Coast crowd — the Monsters of the Midway rank dead last among NFL teams as the subject of a scant 1.4 percent of wagers. Unlike Los Angeles, Chicago has come through versus the spread twice as often as it’s failed — they sport a 6-3 record (66.7 percent) in that regard. However, early-season lack of confidence in Trubisky could have certainly helped drive that sparse action.

NFL ATS Records 2018 (BetStars closing lines)

TeamATS RecordCover %Margin of VictoryATS +/-% Total Bets
Arizona5-3-162.5%-11.2-5.32.4%
Atlanta3-6-033.3%-1.1-3.12.1%
Baltimore4-5-044.4%5.9+3.62.2%
Buffalo4-6-040.0%-11.4-2.02.6%
Carolina5-4-055.6%1.0+0.72.7%
Chicago6-3-066.7%10.4+6.11.4%
Cincinnati4-5-044.4%-5.9-5.31.8%
Cleveland6-4-060.0%-4.5-0.52.7%
Dallas4-5-044.4%1.1+1.84.6%
Denver3-5-137.5%-0.9+0.83.9%
Detroit5-4-055.6%-4.7-3.22.0%
Green Bay4-5-044.4%0.8-1.74.0%
Houston4-5-044.4%3.6+1.22.4%
Indianapolis4-4-150.0%2.3+3.92.0%
Jacksonville3-5-137.5%-4.3-6.02.3%
Kansas City8-2-080.0%11.3+7.34.8%
LA Chargers5-4-055.6%6.0+2.22.3%
LA Rams4-6-040.0%10.4+2.82.1%
Miami5-5-050.0%-5.7-1.72.1%
Minnesota5-3-162.5%1.9-1.33.5%
NE Patriots6-4-060.0%4.4-1.83.9%
NO Saints7-2-077.8%10.9+7.34.1%
NY Giants4-5-044.4%-5.7-2.19.8%
NY Jets3-7-030.0%-4.6-2.63.9%
Oakland2-7-022.2%-13.9-10.22.2%
Philadelphia3-6-033.3%1.7-2.23.3%
Pittsburgh6-3-066.7%7.8+5.25.0%
SF 49ers3-7-030.0%-3.6-0.93.2%
Seattle5-3-162.5%3.0+5.23.0%
Tampa Bay3-6-033.3%-6.6-4.32.4%
Tennessee6-3-066.7%1.9+5.13.0%
Washington6-3-066.7%0.1+0.92.5%

Big names wield big power in NBA as well

Star power is carrying the day when it comes to the hardwood, too.

LeBron James is a magnet for money in all sorts of ways, not just in the astronomical salaries he commands each time he “transports” his talents to a new city. The Lakers are the team of choice when it comes to BetStars customers in the new NBA season, commanding 9.6 percent of the sportsbook’s NBA action. The rest of the top five is fairly predictable as well:

  • Warriors: 7.6 percent
  • 76ers: 7.1 percent
  • Knicks: 4.9 percent
  • Celtics: 4.2 percent

The drop-off is steep after the top three, but as with the Giants, the Knicks hold plenty of appeal to area bettors. New York currently sports a 6-6-2 record versus the number over its first 14 games.

Meanwhile, the Warriors, Sixers and Celtics are all long on talent but notably short on reliability when it comes to those who’ve banked on them covering. Their respective records against the spread:

  • Warriors: 8-7 (53.3 percent)
  • 76ers: 6-9 (40.0 percent)
  • Celtics: 4-9 (30.8 percent)

Fittingly — considering Showtime reigns supreme as the most wagered-on NBA team — LeBron’s two former clubs are stuck bringing up the rear in terms of NBA action at BetStars:

  • Cavaliers: 1.5 percent
  • Heat: 1.1 percent

BetStars boasts its own unique college football leaderboard

On the college football side, BetStars features a top 25 poll that has its share of differences with current real-world NCAA rankings:

  • Consensus #1 Alabama finds itself the recipient of just 0.1 percent of the action at BetStars.
  • Unanimous runner-up Clemson is doing only slightly better at 0.6 percent.
  • A team with no shortage of nationwide prominence, history and appeal — No. 3-ranked Notre Dame — has them both beat with a 1.1 percent stake of the action.
  • Oregon may only have a 3-4 record and checks in fourth in the Pac-10 alone, but they’re top dogs at BetStars — 5.1 percent of college pigskin money is being plunked down on the Ducks.
  • The closest correlations between real-word and BetStars rankings belong to LSU and Washington State. Ranked No. 7 and 10 in the CFP and AP rankings, respectively, the Tigers check in second on BetStars with 3.4 percent of the college football action. Meanwhile, the Cougars’ unanimous No. 8 rankings in the official polls are complemented by No. 3 slotting in terms of popularity with BetStars customers (3.3 percent of wagers).
  • The team closest in proximity to New Jersey holding the highest ranking on BetStars leaderboard is the Penn State Nittany Lions — 2.3 percent of wagers, fourth overall.

Did A Supreme Court Just Indirectly Deal Another Blow To The Pro Sports Leagues?

Juan Carlos Blanco October 31, 2018
Supreme Court Indiana

Not much has gone the way of the plaintiffs in Murphy vs. NCAA with respect to sports betting since, oh, about May 14.

On that day, the Supreme Court cleared the path for legalized single-game sports betting outside of Nevada with a decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

Over the subsequent five-plus months, five states – New Jersey, West Virginia, Mississippi, Delaware, and New Mexico – have either passed sports betting legislation or leveraged existing law to begin offering single-game sports betting. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are on deck.

None of these jurisdictions have incorporated the leagues’ requests for integrity or data usage fees into their laws. All that had active sportsbooks prior to October (New Mexico’s one sportsbook went live earlier in the month) have already begun reaping the benefits of sports betting in the form of tax revenue, to varying degree.

DFS operators’ right to royalty-free game data

Then, on Oct. 24, the Indiana Supreme Court likely set some critical precedent with an opinion in Daniels vs. FanDuel — a suit brought by three former college football players against both FanDuel and DraftKings. In considering the plaintiffs’ position, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals requested guidance from the state’s Supreme Court on the question of whether the DFS operators’ use of the players’ likeness and statistics for paid-entry contests violated the state’s “right to publicity” law. The higher court’s unanimous opinion read, in part:

In short, we answer this question narrowly and find online fantasy sports operators that condition entry to contests on payment and distribute cash prizes do not violate the Indiana right of publicity statute when those organizations use the names, pictures, and statistics of players without their consent because the use falls within the meaning of “material that has newsworthy value,” an exception under the statute.

Both Legal Sports Report’s Eric Ramsey and PlayUSA’s Bart Shirley provide thorough background on the case. But at this point, let’s hone in on this latest outcome. Does the Supreme Court’s opinion have potential ramifications beyond the current litigation, which incidentally, is yet to be officially adjudicated?

Important legal precedent set?

Apologies in advance for the cringe-worthy pun, but it’s a pretty sure bet that it will.

State lawmakers and sportsbook operators alike have railed against the pro sports league’s requests for both integrity and official data usage fees over the past several months. The validity of an argument for the latter is what appears to be potentially impacted by this opinion.

A pivotal component of the plaintiff’s argument in the case involved the use of their official game statistics within the DFS operator’s college football product without their consent, and by extension, remuneration.

With an assertion that those same figures are publicly available in all manner of print and online publications subsequent to a game’s conclusion – and therefore do not subject any particular party to a compensatory obligation – the Court seems to be largely cutting the legs off a significant portion of the pro sports leagues’ “official data” position (which also includes the separate argument that using official data is the only way to ensure integrity with respect to the wagering taking place on their games).

Granted, Daniels v. FanDuel is a case that solely centers on the use of these players’ statistics in college football daily fantasy sports contests. Yet there happens to be synergy with sports betting in multiple ways:

  • The first is the most obvious — DFS and sports betting are both real-money-based gaming activities that rely on statistics (in slightly different ways) to determine winners and payouts.
  • Additionally, DraftKings and FanDuel now operate sportsbooks that naturally didn’t exist when the case was initiated, or even when it was first dismissed in September 2017 and subsequently appealed by the players.
  • And, the argument of the plaintiffs in Daniels v FanDuel does, at its essence, mirror the crux of the pro sports leagues’ position on their proposed official data usage fees — that an operation profiting in part from the use of data generated during their sanctioned contests must give up a cut of the proceeds.

Leverage likely gained against pro sports leagues’ data demands

The legislators and industry operators that will continue to balk at the leagues’ demands will doubtlessly deploy Wednesday’s opinion to their full advantage. And, as a Supreme Court opinion – albeit a state-level one – it has the potential to carry enough weight so as to serve as a formidable obstacle.

Truth be told, even more ammunition resides a bit further back in legal annals. In reaching its decision, the Indiana Supreme Court partly relied on the findings in the significant CBC Distribution and Marketing, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Inc. case in 2007.

In that litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision that CBC (a season-long fantasy contests provider) had a First Amendment right to utilize players’ likenesses and statistics in their product, given that the information used was already “readily available in a public domain”.

Technically, the First Amendment argument as specifically put forth by the defendants in Daniels v. FanDuel was not directly validated in the decision just rendered. However, the fact that the players’ statistics are widely available was. Just as important, the fact that this data was used for commercial purposes was confirmed as irrelevant with respect to whether there was a violation of the statute in question.

Indeed, the use of official statistics in for-profit endeavors such as newspapers and magazines naturally predates the internet and DFS contests by decades. The widespread digital presence of that same information since the early 1990s without express financial obligation has set further precedent.

The potential wide-reaching ramifications of the case are already envisioned by at least one authority on sports-related legal matters.

“While the ruling is a big win for DraftKings and FanDuel, the Indiana Supreme Court decision will likely have broader implications,” said Ryan Rodenberg, an associate professor at Florida State University. “A lawsuit about whether the First Amendment pertains to the dissemination of betting data is inevitable and this case will likely be looked to as persuasive precedent down the road.”

Clearly, this latest court decision – the first of its kind in a post-PASPA landscape – could be the most influential yet.

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MGM Helps NHL Break The Ice On Sports Betting

Juan Carlos Blanco October 29, 2018
NHL Betting

Among the pro sports leagues, the NBA is often credited with being the trailblazer when it comes to sports betting.

Now, the NHL seems to be gaining some ground. And they’re doing so with the aid of the same entity that officially ushered the NBA into the new legalized sports betting landscape — gaming giant MGM.

Another first between pro sports leagues and casinos

After a teaser late last week, Monday brought the joint announcement from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and MGM Resorts Chairman & CEO Jim Murren that the NHL and MGM have entered into a “multi-year strategic relationship in the sports betting category”. The non-exclusive agreement makes MGM the NHL’s first official sports betting partner.

As in their agreement with the NBA, MGM is agreeing to eventually utilize “official league data” when grading wagers on NHL contests. More from the official press release:

As part of the relationship, MGM Resorts will receive access to previously unseen enhanced NHL proprietary game data that will be generated by the League’s state of the art tracking systems currently under development. Access to this data will allow MGM Resorts to provide its customers with specialized NHL game insights, as well as unlocking new and innovative interactive fan engagement and betting opportunities for its U.S. customers wherever legally available.

The end result for the bettor is that MGM will apparently offer a full array of in-game betting options for NHL games in part based on reported forthcoming innovations such as puck tracking and other advanced statistics regarding player performance. NHL Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Keith Wachtel alluded to the fact that the league’s new enhanced data collection initiative — originally developed with the idea of supplementing game broadcasts — is certainly implementable in sports betting scenarios as well.

The partnership doesn’t preclude the NHL’s clubs from striking individual agreements with casino operators at the team level.

Agreement symbolic of leagues’ shifting strategy on fees?

And then there’s the legislative angle to the whole situation.

With apologies to the NFL – which still is keeping sports betting at arm’s length compared to their basketball and hockey brethren — the NBA and now NHL seem to be growing quite adept at the good, old-fashioned end-around. Repeatedly rebuffed by state legislators (with the prominent voices of sportsbooks making plenty of noise behind them in the peanut gallery) in their quest for both integrity and data usage fees, the NBA and NHL appear to have found another means to an end in their deals with MGM.

While the respective partnership deals the casino has signed with the two leagues over the last 90 days extend beyond just remuneration for official data usage, that is undeniably a component of each. A win is a win, as they say. Both leagues have at minimum set a precedent – albeit through a commercial agreement – for compensation with respect to their official statistical information.

Naturally, that guarantees nothing for the leagues on the legislative front. However, if more gaming industry heavyweights jump on board with similar agreements, the leagues could essentially reach their objective on the “getting a cut” front without having to hassle with state legislatures across the country over the next several years.

FanDuel SportsBook Celebrates NBA Tip-Off With Trio Of Slam-Dunk Promos

Juan Carlos Blanco October 15, 2018
FanDuel Sportsbook NBA

It’s mid-October, which means the minds and bankrolls of sports bettors are still firmly focused on football. But, the tip-off to what could be one of the more intriguing NBA seasons in recent memory is upon us. Roundball should once drive a substantial amount of action at sportsbooks. In fact, it already has, in the form of futures.

As has been the case with college football and the NFL, betting interest in the league should be at an all-time high as it enters its first regular season under the new legalized sports betting landscape. The relocation of several of the NBA’s biggest stars this offseason certainly grabbed the attention of both the casual fan and sports bettor, building plenty of momentum for the 2018-19 campaign.

One of the states where it was impossible to plunk down any cash any NBA team just 12 short months ago – but where you can now plunge away to your heart’s content – is, of course, New Jersey. The Garden State is served by multiple sportsbooks, and one of its most prominent is celebrating the advent of the 2018-19 season with several enticing promos.

Bombs can build your bankroll

The fast-paced Golden State Warriors have a well-earned reputation for disregarding pesky details like distance when uncorking shots from all over the court. The Oklahoma City Thunder have their fair share of scorers as well — even if Russell Westbrook misses Opening Night while recovering from recent knee surgery – while regional East Coast squads Boston and Philadelphia roll out multiple marksmen in their own right.

FanDuel Sportsbook gives you the chance to profit handsomely from the long-range acumen of one of the four clubs taking the floor for Tuesday’s Opening Night with the following promotion:

  • NBA: Thunder-Warriors, 76ers-Celtics
    • Get $5 in your account for every 3-pointer your team scores
    • Promotional Period: 10/11, 12:00AM EST – 10/16, 9:39PM EST
    • Wager: Moneyline Only, Minimum Bet $25
    • Max two wagers per user, 1 per game

The only safe way to bet on the Knicks and Nets

Looking for a risk-free way to get a little extra rooting interest in the local New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets? The way each club’s fortunes shape up this coming season, it’s likely to take a little alcohol, potential payout — or a combination of both — to hold fans’ collective attention spans for all four quarters on many nights.

At least FanDuel has you covered in that regard for their respective season openers. Make an investment in either squad and get it back, guaranteed, if they fall short:

  • NBA: Nets-Pistons, Hawks-Knicks
    • Bet the Knicks or Nets to win, get your bet back if they don’t (up to $100)
    • Promotional Period: 10/11, 12:00AM EST – 10/17 7:40PM EST
    • Wager: Moneyline Only
    • Max two wagers per user, 1 per game

Score a king’s ransom in The King’s West Coast debut

Luminaries like Damian Lillard and Lonzo Ball will be on the court for Thursday night’s Lakers-Trail Blazers season opener. However, with all due respect to their respective star power, it will pale in comparison to that of NBA royalty – namely, LeBron James, who’ll be making his Lakers regular-season debut.

FanDuel is celebrating The King’s City of Angels launch party by offering bettors a chance to literally profit from every point he scores, provided you think he’ll lead the Lakers to a season-opening victory:

  • NBA: Lakers-Blazers
    • $3 bonus for every point The King scores
    • Promotional Period: 10/12, 12:00AM EST – 10/18 10:40pm EST
    • Wager: Lakers Moneyline
    • Minimum Bet: $50

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook today and take advantage of these can’t-miss promotions if you’re betting on the NBA in New Jersey!

Plenty Of Intrigue Surrounds First NBA Season With Sports Betting In NJ

Juan Carlos Blanco October 15, 2018
NBA Betting NJ

It’s an interesting time of year in the sports betting realm. Both pro and college football have a firm grasp on the betting public’s attention, and postseason baseball undoubtedly enjoys its fair share of action as well.

Yet somewhat under the radar, the NBA suddenly pops up in mid-October. For approximately the subsequent two weeks (depending on how long the World Series goes), it’s a sports betting fan’s (and sportsbook’s) delight — all three major sports are playing meaningful, wagerable games.

The pigskin will continue to draw plenty of attention all the way through Super Bowl LIII on the first Sunday in February. But this coming NBA season will hold no shortage of interest. Specifically, the movement of three prominent pieces on the league’s chess board – LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and DeMarcus Cousins – has led to some interesting futures props in New Jersey sportsbooks.

And not to be forgotten in all the offseason-moves-centered hype is a team that stood pat, but that returns a star who missed all but the opening minutes of last season – an already formidable Boston Celtics squad that stands to get even better with a healthy Gordon Hayward.

Even the NBA itself is combining the anticipation with its increasing embrace of the new legalized sports betting landscape – along with new partner MGM Resorts, it’s running an NBA Pick ‘Em: Team Win Totals contest that awards a cool $1 million to those who can specifically predict each team’s number of victories.

Ahead of roundball season, let’s examine how some of what’s transpired this offseason is reflected in current lines:

Los Angeles Lakers

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: +950 to win Western Conference/ +1100 to win NBA Finals
  • 888sport: +700 to win Western Conference/ +800 to win NBA Finals
  • BetStars: +900 to win Western Conference/ +900 to win NBA Finals

Never underestimate the power of the King. LeBron’s second exit out of Cleveland drew relatively less fanfare than his first one back in 2010, but it’s had a seismic effect on the way the Lakers are viewed by the oddsmakers. Los Angeles’ triple-digit numbers for both their conference and NBA title chances are especially striking when compared to other playoff teams.

On all three Garden State sportsbooks cited above, the Lakers check in with markedly better odds to be crowned champs than 2017-18 playoff teams like the 76ers, Thunder, Jazz, Raptors, Spurs and Trail Blazers. Make no mistake – despite the fact the Lakers offered reason for optimism with their play at times last season, there’s no way they come close to sniffing these odds without LeBron in the fold. This was a 35-47 team last season that returns three-fifths of their starting five and that arguably downgraded by swapping out Brook Lopez for JaVale McGee at center.

James’ massive effect on a team has been proven countless times (by comparison, a now LeBron-less Cavaliers squad is a whopping +55000 to win it all), but whether it’s enough for the type of line movement the Lakers have seen makes for a healthy debate.

Toronto Raptors

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: +320 to win Eastern Conference/ +1800 to win NBA Finals
  • 888sport: +375 to win Eastern Conference/ +1700 to win NBA Finals
  • BetStars: +375 to win Eastern Conference/ +1600 to win NBA Finals

The Raptors went from regular-season juggernauts to LeBron patsies – again — by the time their 2017-18 campaign wrapped up. Yet another postseason collapse made their 59-23 regular-season record seem hollow. They then made what could potentially turn out to be a move that’s has a neutral effect at best and could even represent a downgrade at worst – swapping out DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard.

If he’s 100 percent right physically, Leonard is arguably an elite difference-maker, especially on defense. But whether he’ll hold up for an entire season is anyone’s guess, regardless of how much due diligence Toronto undoubtedly performed before trading for him. Meanwhile, the Raptors essentially return the same cast – sans DeRozan – that fell short. That includes a 32-year-old Kyle Lowry that saw a drop of more than six points per game last season.

Irrespective of those factors, Toronto checks in with considerably better Finals odds than fellow 2017-18 playoff teams such as the Thunder, Jazz, Heat, Pelicans and Trail Blazers, and with the same chances as a promising Sixers squad. Toronto’s current numbers are clearly based on the health of one player, and like those of the Lakers, are fodder for plenty of discussion.

Golden State Warriors

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: -330 to win Western Conference/ -160 to win NBA Finals
  • 888sport: -286 to win Western Conference/ -200 to win NBA Finals
  • BetStars: -330 to win Western Conference/ -180 to win NBA Finals

Outside of LeBron, the Warriors likely made the most headlines this offseason with their acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins. Many cried foul at Golden State’s apparent quest to ensure no other team hoists the Larry O’Brien trophy for about the next decade. The validity of those complaints could probably be debated until next June’s Finals. However, it says plenty about the oddsmakers’ faith in the Warriors’ Big Four of Curry, Thompson, Durant and Green that they’re comfortably the odds-on favorites to repeat, even though Cousins’ exact return date from his Achilles injury remains firmly up in the air heading into the season.

Boston Celtics

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: -110 to win Eastern Conference/ +600 to win NBA Finals
  • 888sport: -106 to win Eastern Conference/ +525 to win NBA Finals
  • BetStars: -115 to win Eastern Conference/ +600 to win NBA Finals

Which team has the most potential to serve as the NBA’s savior from those dastardly Warriors? It’s the boys in green from across the country, which admittedly might need a good dose of the luck of the Irish to topple Golden State. However, while they’re not quite on the Warriors’ level with respect to securing an NBA championship in the eyes of the sportsbooks, the Celts are perceived as the highly likely favorites to emerge as the potential dragon slayers out of the Eastern Conference.

The numbers are driven not just by Boston’s remarkable, deep playoff run last season with a short-handed squad, but by the reinforcements they get back this season. The returns of a presumably healthy Kyrie Irving and Hayward arguably make the Celtics the deepest unit in the Eastern Conference. Moreover, the books also appear to be projecting a true breakout season for phenom Jayson Tatum, whose learning curve was undoubtedly accelerated by a large margin in the 2017-18 campaign while filling in for Hayward.

Boston’s talent and potential coaching advantage over the Warriors is such that they could be one key Golden State injury away from making those current Finals odds a bargain.

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Northeast teams hold plenty of regional interest

Of particular interest to Garden State bettors are the three teams within closest proximity. That includes the former home-state Nets, as well as the neighboring Knicks and 76ers. Of the three, only the latter has anything resembling bright prospects heading into the season. Nevertheless, here’s a look at where the trio of clubs stands in the eyes of the oddsmakers:

Brooklyn Nets

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: +21000 to win Eastern Conference/+55000 to win NBA Finals/32.5 projected wins total
  • 888sport:  +10000 to win Eastern Conference/ +40000 to win NBA Finals/31.5 projected wins total
  • BetStars: +15000 to win Eastern Conference/ +40000 to win NBA Finals/31.5 projected wins total

The Nets are projected to only bump up last season’s win total by four, although Brooklyn returns its impressive core of young players and has added reliable veteran Ed Davis to serve as an important part of the second-unit frontcourt rotation. While they have the misfortune of playing in the same division as the 76ers, Raptors and Celtics, the Nets could surprise a la last season’s Lakers and push for a win total in the upper 30s if the likes of D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and promising big man Jarrett Allen can stay healthy.

New York Knicks

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: +21000 to win Eastern Conference/+50000 to win NBA Finals/29.5 projected wins total
  • 888sport: +5000 to win Eastern Conference/+30000 to win NBA Finals/29.5 projected wins total
  • BetStars: +10000 to win Eastern Conference/+30000 to win NBA Finals/29.5 projected wins total

Think the crosstown Nets with a slower pace and you have the Knicks, who also have some solid under-30 talent, especially if Kristaps Porzingis is able to return at some point. However, considering that’s far from certain, New York will have to rely on much surer propositions such as Tim Hardaway, Jr., Trey Burke and Enes Kanter, as well as ninth overall pick Kevin Knox. The Knicks also added what could turn out to be one of the better under-the-radar free agents of the offseason in Mario Hezonja, but the oddsmakers don’t see them having made a net improvement of even one full win. Porzingis’ potential season-long absence is certainly a factor in that assessment.

Philadelphia 76ers

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: +320 to win Eastern Conference/+1800 to win NBA Finals/53.5 projected wins total
  • 888sport: +300 to win Eastern Conference/ +1400 to win NBA Finals/54.5 projected wins total
  • BetStars: +375 to win Eastern Conference/ +1600 to win NBA Finals/53.5 projected wins total

The 76ers naturally carry the highest expectations of the three teams coming into the season. The books project a slight improvement in their win total as Philly returns their entire first unit from last season’s 52-win squad. A full season of health from Joel Embiid and Dario Saric could certainly push them closer to the 60-win mark, and Philadelphia should also benefit from the offseason acquisition of veteran Wilson Chandler to back up Robert Covington. Another x-factor will be the health of 2017 top overall pick Markelle Fultz, who was limited to 14 games during his rookie campaign due to a shoulder injury. The Celtics still represent a major roadblock to a division title for Philadelphia, but a playoff spot seems all but assured if key pieces avoid the injury bug.