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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.

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.

FanDuel NBA Lineup Change Is No Slam Dunk With DFS Community

Juan Carlos Blanco October 9, 2018
FanDuel NBA

There’s one thing that’s a constant in daily fantasy sports (DFS). Well, besides the screenshot brags on Twitter.

Gripes. The player community hasn’t exactly been shy about voicing their opinion about things that haven’t sat well over the years.

Granted, a general rule of customer service is that it’s impossible to address every complaint or resolve an issue to unanimous satisfaction. But to their credit, industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel have offered some grease to the squeakiest wheels over the years by adjusting their product accordingly.

This coming NBA season brings with it two such examples. For its part, DraftKings has decided to bring back the late-swap option for NBA after a two-season hiatus. Meanwhile, FanDuel recently announced some news that’s in a similar vein, but with a twist  – the site is changing a component of its full-roster-format contests by dropping the lowest score in any lineup:

Half-hearted attempt = late swap lite?

To an extent, this serves a similar purpose to a late-swap option. For example, contestants with a late scratch in their lineups won’t get penalized for it by having to take a zero. The NBA is notorious for wreaking DFS havoc with its last-minute real-world lineup adjustments. This change is an effort to neutralize the effect of such instances.

However, it falls short of serving as a true late-swap replacement. Contestants are still out of luck if they have more than one late-scratch player on their roster. The same applies if they have both a late-scratch player and another who also exits a game early with an injury and falls well short of their scoring expectation.

And, without an actual late-swap feature, players can’t fully capitalize by plugging in a player’s typically cheap replacement if it’s a late scratch that’s announced after the slate locks. Being able to do so would allow them greater, valued lineup flexibility elsewhere.

Announcement not exactly met with open arms (or wallets)

Think DFS Twitter took note of said shortcomings?

One look at the reactions underneath FanDuel’s Oct. 5 tweet tells the tale – the DFS community’s reaction seems to be a firm “thanks, but no thanks.” And, in many cases, that’s putting it nicely.

Respondents also brought up another couple of key strategical anomalies that FanDuel’s latest change brings about:

  • The ability for contestants to roll the dice by grabbing a minimum-priced that may not even be active, knowing that the player’s score (or lack thereof) will be dropped anyhow. In turn, they’ll have that much more salary flexibility to roster viable mid-range options and high-priced studs.
  • The possibility that the upper portion of a contest’s leaderboard gets drastically altered due to the lowest score in lineups being dropped. For example, an otherwise first-place finisher drops out of the top spot.

Change may be subject to change

As with any major change to a business model, there’s no doubt FanDuel had a healthy debate before implementing this one. And given the amount of pro/con discussion the whole issue of late swap has generated in the past, they were likely expecting to deal with a fair share of negative feedback.

But it’s unlikely they saw this level of backlash coming. If they did, maybe they wouldn’t have gone in this direction in the first place.

The move is clearly an attempt to appease the many customers who’ve cried foul about the NBA’s hyper-fickle injury/inactives reporting over the years. Yet sometimes, in an attempt to compromise on a polarizing issue, things can inadvertently be made worse. Given the potential nightmares that could ensue with the new policy costing someone large amounts of money, for example, it seems increasingly likely the company will at least tweak some aspects of it.

Meanwhile, with many players now proclaiming they’ll move all their NBA play to DraftKings due to them re-implementing late swap, FanDuel’s current approach is increasingly looking like nothing short of an airball.

Get $20 Of Free Play at DraftKings!

FanDuel Sportsbook Offering Risk-Free Bet On Yankees MLB Wild Card Game

Juan Carlos Blanco October 3, 2018
Yankees Bet

In its ongoing quest to make inroads in the nascent New Jersey sports betting market, FanDuel Sportsbook is currently running three promotions designed to seriously mitigate those pesky drains on one’s bankroll.

Baseball postseason takes center stage

Fall is upon us, so two of FanDuel’s current initiatives fittingly include the MLB playoffs, which kicked off Tuesday. The National League’s Rockies-Cubs wild-card marathon showdown got the postseason started, while the American League features a Yankees-Athletics winner-take-all battle Wednesday. The subsequent Division Series will carry us through the majority of October.

However, we’re also in the heart of NFL season, which has already been responsible for some impressive sports betting numbers in New Jersey and other newly-minted sports betting markets around the country. So, FanDuel has a little Week 5 treat awaiting Garden State football fans as well.

Be a risk-free homer for AL Wild-Card Game

The first baseball promotion involves Wednesday’s Yankees-Athletics AL wild-card showdown. Want to put some money on the guys in pinstripes from across the river? Plunge away (up to $50)! You’ll get your money back if they falter:

  • AL Wild Card Game
    • Risk-free bet on the Yankees
    • Promotional Period: 10/2, 12:01 a.m. EST – 10/3, 7:59 p.m. EST
    • Event: AL Wild Card Game
    • Wager: Bet the Yankees to win outright
    • Placement Time: Wager must be placed on FanDuel Sportsbook by 8 p.m. EST on Oct. 3, 2018
    • Cash-back guarantee: Get your wager of up to $50 back if Yankees lose

A “tilt-proof” Division Series promotion, too

Bad beats are naturally one of the worst ways to see your cash go up in flames on a sports bet. Not to worry — FanDuel’s got you covered there for the AL and NL Division Series. Afraid that your moneyline wager will be ruined by a blown save or similarly unfortunate turn of events? Get your bet of up to $50 back if your team of choice has a late-game meltdown:

  • MLB Division Series
    • Bad luck / tough loss insurance
    • Promotional Period: 10/3, 12:01AM EST – 10/21 time TBD
    • Event: Any MLB Division Series
    • Wager: Moneyline, pre-live
    • Placement Time: Game time on each game day; games start 10/4 and could run through 10/21
    • Cash-back guarantee: Get your wager of up to $50 back if the team you picked to win blows their lead after the sixth inning and loses.

Pigskin props on the menu as well

Player prop bets are popular among bettors as an in-game form of engagement with a sporting event. An NFL game typically has a plethora of options in this regard. One of the most common involves trying to peg who’ll be the first player to cross the goal line in the contest.

With FanDuel Sportsbook’s Week 5 promo, take a stab at a skill player that’s highly likely to score and get your wager of up to $100 back if he hits paydirt at any point during the game other than for the initial touchdown.

  • NFL Week 5
    • 1st TD scorer
    • Promotional Period: 10/3, 12:01AM EST – 10/8 11:59pm EST
    • Event: All NFL Week 5 games
    • Wager: 1st TD scorer
    • Cash-back guarantee: Get our wager of up to $100 back if the player you picked doesn’t score the first touchdown, but scores a touchdown at any other point in the game.

Parlay Fever: U.S. Bettors Won’t Stop Chasing Big Wins (And That’s OK)

Juan Carlos Blanco October 3, 2018
Parlay

Most of us have done it at one point or another, in one form or another. Chased the “big payday” dream, odds be damned.

Maybe it’s plunking down a few bucks on the Powerball, especially on those weeks when it really swells up. Or entering a DFS contest with a couple hundred thousand entries and million-dollar grand prize. Or, if sports betting is more your speed, investing in a parlay or two on an NFL weekend.

Newsflash — the expected value (EV) on all of these is bad to varying degrees. Chances are you’re not going to be lounging on your own private island because you hit all seven numbers on your ticket or every guy in your fantasy lineup returned 5x on their salary. And it’s likely that one of your parlay teams lays an egg unexpectedly — Minnesota Vikings, we’re very much looking at you! — and ruins your four- or five-team train that could have scored you a handsome haul.

But even if you lose everything you put in, there’s an overriding point in every one of these cases … you had fun anticipating the possibilities! Specifically, the possibility of getting your initial investment back many times over.

Parlays have been a cash cow for decades

And yet, the numbers don’t lie – that fun can be quite a drain on your bankroll. The sportsbooks continue to run roughshod over bettors on parlays. Take this 25-year sample (1992-2017) from a research study by UNLV on Nevada casinos for starters:

  • Casinos posted a sub-20-percent win rate on parlays in only two years during that period, and never lower than 17.26 percent.
  • In turn, they posted a win rate between 23.33 percent and 29.79 percent in 10 years during that period.
  • And incredibly, they posted a win rate in excess of 30.0 percent the most frequently – 13 out of those 25 years.
  • All of those numbers add up to one especially jaw-dropping one: Silver State sportsbooks racked up an average 31.17 win percentage on parlays between 1992 and 2017.

Naturally, as good as those odds are for the books, they’re correspondingly crappy for bettors.

“The people creating the lines are extremely sharp and they are running the numbers to get the lines in favor so that the general public will lose more than they win,” observes professional handicapper and bettor Jon Price of Sports Information Traders. “When you add in the probability of winning a second or third bet with the contingency that all bets must win for the ticket to be cashed in increases the houses favor exponentially.”

Yet those slim chances didn’t prevent a total of $1.6 billion being placed on parlay wagers in Nevada casinos over that quarter-century period.

Meanwhile, the nascent Mississippi market serves as a tangible example of how “parlay fever” isn’t just localized in the desert. In their first full month of operation in August, 11 Magnolia State casinos took in over $1.5 million in handle on sports parlay cards alone. Notably, those figures were generated in a month where neither college football nor the NFL had yet kicked off their seasons.

Big parlay winners get plenty of attention

Again, the allure lies in the “what if”. Because when parlays do hit, they can hit big. And that’s more than enough of an enticement.

There’s no shortage of press when those explosive winnings do come to pass, too. The story of a $5 bet turned into a $305,000 payout on a William Hill progressive parlay card back in 2016 is one such example. And the big money isn’t just limited to wagers on team sports, either. Back in 2015, a bettor hit on a UFC parlay that converted his $1 investment into $48,291.

However, in a testament of what a dice roll these types of wagers can be, consider the first windfall was the result of an incredible 15-for-15 run in which the bettor nailed 12 college basketball winners and a trio of NBA games as well. The second involved the bettor correctly pegging a whopping nine underdogs to prevail on the UFC Fight Night 61 event in Brazil.

Predictably, parlay wagers are often panned by the sharps, who seem to have disdain for both the poor odds that they offer and the avalanche of attention that some of the big parlay winners get. However, even the sportsbooks themselves will gladly publicize the occasional butt-kicking they take on these bets, too. One look at the numbers cited in the UNLV study easily explains why.

Popularity of parlays to expand right along with sports betting

Given their significant popularity, logic would dictate that parlay betting will be a key part of sports betting’s gradual nationwide expansion over the next few years. In fact, the more the activity is made available to the masses, the more novice bettors with dreams of big returns on modest investments available to flock to parlays.

“I do believe that the popularity of parlay bets are going to surge through the roof in the next few years as the majority of states move to legalize sports wagering,” said Price. “Much like the lottery sells millions of tickets with extremely low probabilities of being paid out. At least with parlay bets the percentage of winners will be exponentially higher than the lottery, which is the biggest sucker’s bet that I’ve seen.”

One thing is certain: Given their proliferation and odds, parlay wagers are an important component of the sports betting ecosystem. They’re certainly helping sportsbooks stay in business, yet it’s not just a one-way street — and it’s that opportunity, no matter how remote, that keeps ’em coming back.

 

 

SugarHouse Sportsbook: How To Sign Up, Deposit, And Start Betting In NJ

Juan Carlos Blanco September 24, 2018
SugarHouse Sportsbook

SugarHouse SportsBook is now live in New Jersey with legal, real-money sports betting. The platform is powered by Kambi Group, which also operates the platform of Garden State competitors 888sport and DraftKings Sportsbook.

Unlike some other New Jersey operators, SugarHouse has directly implemented their sportsbook into their online casino offerings via www.playsugarhouse.com. Consequently, customers who already utilize the company’s online casino have the benefit of a shared wallet they can utilize across both platforms. SugarHouse operates in New Jersey under the license of Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City.

Additionally, customers can accumulate Loyalty Level Points and Bonus Store Points – both features of SugarHouse’s iRush Rewards program – through their gameplay on either the casino or sportsbook platform.

Creating an account on SugarHouse Sportsbook

New users will need to begin by creating an account, which can be done through either the desktop or mobile version. Users click the orange “Join Now” button in the upper right-hand corner of the desktop platform to initiate the process. After that point, users will need to do the following:

  • Create a screen name and password.
  • Provide an e-mail address.
  • Enter any applicable promotional code.
  • There is also an expedited registration option near the bottom of the screen where existing customers can use their Rush Rewards or SugarHouse Casino4Fun account to register with SugarHouse Sportsbook.

Deposit and withdrawal methods

Following account creation, users will need to make an initial deposit to fund their forthcoming wagering activity on SugarHouse Sportsbook.

SugarHouse Sportsbook offers its users a variety of both deposit and withdrawal methods:

  • ACH/eCheck
  • Neteller
  • Online Bill Pay
  • SugarHouse prepaid card
  • PayPal
  • Cash (in person at Golden Nugget Casino)

An additional method for withdrawals only is checks.

Multi-faceted interface

SugarHouse Sportsbook’s homepage interface is relatively straightforward and user-friendly.

Upon entering the lobby, users will find five clickable tabs running across the top, beginning from the left-hand side of the screen:

  • Get Started: Allows customers to establish an account on SugarHouse Sportsbook.
  • Promotions: Provides details on all current special promotions.
  • Rewards: Provides details on iRush Rewards program.
  • Help Center: Provides answers to frequently asked questions about bonuses, promotions and sports betting in general.
  • Casino: This link takes customers directly to SugarHouse’s extensive online casino offerings.

The homepage is anchored by a center panel that displays a “Live Right Now” listing of wagering options. Users can also perform a search for a specific sport, league or team through a search bar located right above the main center panel.

The betting options in the center panel can be customized by sport through the clicking of a vertical listing of tabs in a column on the left-hand side of the page. A “My Bet History” tab is located at the top of that listing and allows users to view their archive of sports wagers on the site.

To place a wager, users click on the tab for the specific game and specific bet related to that game they wish to make. Doing so activates a betting slip that will pop up on the right-hand side of the screen, which will pre-populate with the wager type and related odds. Once the user fills in the dollar amount they wish to stake and hit the “Place Bet” button, the bet is finalized.

The betting slip also contains links to both the Help Center and the customer’s bet history underneath at its very bottom.

Full selection of sports, leagues and bet types

SugarHouse offers customers a comprehensive selection of available leagues to wager on in that left-hand column. Currently, that list consists of:

  • NFL
  • MLB
  • College Football
  • NHL Preseason
  • Tour Championship
  • Premier League
  • MLS
  • Liga MX
  • Serie A
  • La Liga
  • Bundesliga
  • UFC

SugarHouse also lists all betting options by sport directly underneath the leagues listing. The sportsbook appears to go beyond other competitors in the state with some of its offerings, which include:

  • Soccer
  • Baseball
  • Boxing
  • Tennis
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Australian Rules Football
  • Cricket
  • Cycling
  • Darts
  • Hockey
  • Motorsports
  • Rugby Union
  • UFC/MMA

SugarHouse Sportsbook offers customers the expected full array of betting options found in other Garden state establishments, including:

  • Spreads
  • Moneyline/Run lines
  • Over/under bets
  • Game and individual player props
  • Parlays
  • Teasers
  • Futures
  • In-play betting
  • Cash Out live ticketing system- Users can cash in a live bet before the contest being wagered on is finalized.

Live Support

SugarHouse Sportsbook customers can access the company’s support department through either a Live Chat feature or E-mail from 9:30 a.m. to 2 am ET. The links to access both forms of assistance are located within the Help Center tab near the top of the home screen.