Sports fans and bettors that went to bed early Monday night were in for a shock Tuesday morning. The Golden State Warriors blew a 31-point lead and lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, 135-131.
Some bettors who did stay up had the foresight to place some money on LA’s historic comeback before it came to fruition.
The Warriors led the Clippers by 23 points at halftime, 73-50. The only thing not going the Warriors way was DeMarcus Cousins leaving in the first quarter with a torn quad muscle (he will be sidelined for the rest of the playoffs).
The Warriors came out of the halftime break and extended the lead to 31 points. Golden State led 94-63 with 7:31 remaining in the 3rd quarter before the Clippers started chipping away. As the 3rd quarter ended, LA had scored 44 points led by Lou Williams 17 and the Clippers cut the margin to 108-94 entering the 4th quarter.
Yet even as the fourth quarter began, it still appeared the only thing left to be decided was the point spread with the Warriors (-13.5) in control to take a 2-0 series lead. The over/under of 234 was on pace to be an easy winner for OVER bettors, but the shocking result was that it was the LA Clippers that would win 135-131.
You can watch the comeback highlights below.
— NBA (@NBA) April 16, 2019
The LA Clippers’ playoff comeback topped a 29-point rally by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1989 Western Conference semis over Seattle.
Odds and in-game action
The Warriors were a -13.5 point favorite before the game and -1300 on the moneyline. According to numberFire, the Warriors had an 88.2% win probability from the opening tip. The Clippers were +870 on the moneyline and FanDuel Sportsbook took a $500 moneyline bet on Los Angeles, which returned $4,350.
With the Warriors leading by 23 points at halftime, FanDuel Sportsbook made the Clippers a -0.5 point favorite on the 2nd half line.
But in-game betting offered some much bigger prices on the Clippers. FanDuel took 14 bets on Los Angeles at a +10000 price (100-1) with the largest bet of $50 to return $5,000.
According to numberFire Live, Golden State had a 99.65% chance of winning when leading by 31 points.
Perhaps that’s why BetStars was offering the Clippers at +100000 (1000-1) odds at that point in the game. Unfortunately, nobody in NJ had the stones to put a bet down.
Some bettors at DraftKings Sportsbook took the Clippers live at odds of 20-1 later in the game. One bettor had the vision of a historic comeback and bet $150. He was rewarded for his long-range jumper and longshot bet with a $3,150 payoff on the Clippers victory.
It’s fair to say that bettors will be paying even closer attention to in-game odds for the rest of the NBA playoffs.
With LeBron James sitting out the playoffs for the first time in as long as anyone can remember, the NBA has a problem on its hands: Which team are they going to showcase to a national audience to prevent folks from spending their weekends watching The Masters?
That series turns out to be the Los Angeles Clippers against the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, with ABC showcasing that series with a Saturday night telecast of Game 1 and a Sunday afternoon (April 21) showcase of Game 4.
And the Clippers have no chance, correct?
That is what the sportsbooks are predicting, with the Clippers listed as 55/1 underdogs to win the best-of-seven series at DraftKings Sportsbook … or to put it another way, the Warriors being listed as -20000 (200/1) to advance to the second round.
Well, please pardon the oppositional nature of this column … because there is a school of thought that the Warriors are vulnerable for a number of reasons:
- Coach Steve Kerr and Draymond Green have endured a great deal of friction this season.
- Kevin Durant’s impending free agency has been a dark cloud hanging over the team the entire season.
- Steph Curry has a foot injury that is being described as “minor” … but no injury below either of Curry’s knees is ever really “minor.”
Yes, the Warriors won the season series 3-1, including a 27-point beatdown four days ago in which Golden State clinched the No. 1 seed in the West and outscored the Clippers 42-18 in the third quarter to turn the game into a runaway.
And that is bound to happen again in Games 1, 2, 3 and 4, correct?
Well … let’s take a closer look at the Clippers.
Don’t dismiss them
First and foremost, the Clippers turned over their roster at the trade deadline when they dealt Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers and brought in rookie Landry Shamet, along with another trade in which they acquired center Ivica Zubac from the Los Angeles Lakers.
“The chemistry was instant,” said Danilo Gallinari … a comment that was echoed by Doc Rivers in a late-season visit to Madison Square Garden at which he marveled at the way his youth-laden roster had become a solid defensive team with a bunch of players in their early 20s who were great listeners when it came to receiving tutelage from the coaching staff and Sixth Man of the Year shoo-in Lou Williams.
A top-five finish in Sixth Man of the Year voting is expected for Montrezl Harrell, who will tag team with Zubac to defend DeMarcus Cousins as Boogie he plays playoff basketball with the Warriors for the first time.
“It’s a whole new season,” coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s time to get going.”
Something else to keep in mind: When Game 1 of the NBA Finals was played last season, the Warriors were prohibitive favorites in Game 1 but might have lost if J.R. Smith had not had his moment of cranial flatulence, leading to an excruciating loss that prompted LeBron James to take out his anger on an Oracle Center blackboard.
You never know what to expect in a Game 1, so keep that in mind when considering the relative merits of the Clippers being listed as a 13-point underdog for Saturday opener.
Shooting star needs to shine
The key player in the series for Los Angeles will be Williams, who has not had a single-digit scoring game since Dec. 6 — a run of 47 consecutive games in double figures.
The 15-year veteran will be appearing in the playoffs for the eighth time (with no starts), and for the Clippers to have any chance of pulling off the unimaginable Williams will have to improve on his career postseason shooting percentages of 40.5 overall and 32 percent from 3-point range.
Also, the Clippers are a very young team — usually a sign of a team that needs to learn how to absorb losses rather than figuring out ways to produce victories. The task of focusing on one game at a time will fall upon coach Doc Rivers, who has coached 161 postseason games during his 20 seasons holding a clipboard.
But Rivers does have one of the best defensive guards in the NBA at his disposal in Patrick Beverley, who will likely draw the defensive assignment on Curry.
“Should we take that personal that the Warriors are the favorite?” Rivers said. “The [Clippers] have a chip anyway. … My guess is in the next 48 hours someone’s going to write something or say something that will piss Pat off, and he’ll tell everybody and it will work out for us.”
Rivers played his regular group in the season finale against Utah and watched as they picked up right where they left off in March, when the Clippers (48-34) went an NBA-best 13-2.
Win or lose, the Clips are value
Of course, March is in everyone’s rearview mirror. And because memories are short, everyone is sort of concentrating on how Houston may be the team to beat in the West because of the way they finished the regular season.
But remember, wagering opportunities that make sense — especially in terms of long odds — are few and far between. The Clippers may or may not be one of them …. that is for the reader to decide.
But discount them at your own peril. They are one of the stronger No. 8 seed to come along in quite some time.
Zion Williamson’s college season is over. Ja Morant is done, too. And if you listen to 99% of the talking heads out there, those are the two guys who are going No. 1 and No. 2 in the 2019 NBA draft.
But if you sit back and think about it, and you consider history, there is a case to be made: What everyone is predicting in early April will not come to fruition in late June.
Which then brings us to Jarrett Culver.
Potential draft raider
Only one lottery-bound player competing in the NCAA Final Four this weekend in Minneapolis, and it is the Texas Tech Red Raiders swingman who is averaging 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists.
I am told that the New York Knicks are dialed in on him as the No. 3 pick if they fail to win one of the top two spots in the lottery. It is time to take a close look at whether he may move up to No. 2 with a breakout performance this weekend.
The bottom three teams in the NBA each have a 14% chance at winning the lottery. Right now, the Knicks, Cavaliers and Suns appear to be those three teams — especially with Trae Young making a late push for rookie of the year as the Atlanta Hawks are knocking off quality teams.
Under the old system, which encouraged taking, the top seed had a 25% chance of winning the lottery, the second seed had a 19.9% chance and the third seed had a 15.6% chance.
Under the new system, the difference in lottery odds between the first three seeds (14%) and the fourth seed (12.5%) will be 1.5%. The difference between the fourth seed and the fifth seed (10.5%) will be 2%, and the difference between the fifth seed and the sixth seed (9%) will be 1.5%.
So, let’s imagine that a random team, perhaps the Washington Wizards, win the draft lottery. Williamson would be a no-brainer — unless the person taking over for the fired Ernie Grunfeld can package the No. 1 pick and John Wall’s burdensome contract to move down a few spots.
The Wizards are already overloaded at Williamson’s position with Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker (although Parker has a $20 million contract that will likely be declined). The opportunity to shed Wall’s contract (he is due $38 million, $41 million, $44 million and $47 million over the next four seasons) will allow the Wizards’ new head honcho to clear $58 million in cap space if Parker’s option is not renewed.
This would incentivize the Wizards to trade away the draft right to Williamson and allow them to become players on the free agency market (Kevin Durant grew up in Maryland).
If the team picking No. 2 was so ga-ga over Williamson that they would take on Wall’s contract, it makes sense. Then it would be a question of whether the Wizards would want Morant at No. 2, or whether Culver might be a better fit next to Bradley Beal and Durant.
And much of that might depend on whether the new person in charge is sold on Tomas Satoransky as a long-term option at point guard.
Why are we kicking this idea around?
Because DraftKings Sportsbook has Culver listed at 70-1 to be the No. 2 pick in the draft, with Williamson listed at 11-2. Coby White, of North Carolina, and Rui Hachimura, of Gonzaga, are both on the board at 16-1.
And the history of No. 2 overall picks is a checkered one.
The jury is still out on the 2018 No. 2 pick, Marvin Bagley III, who has battled injuries throughout his rookie season in Sacramento but has been a favorite of the front office and the coaching staff because of his work ethic.
Lonzo Ball went No. 2 in 2017 — one pick after Markelle Fultz, whose tenure in Philadelphia was unremarkable at best (and that is being generous).
Brandon Ingram went No. 2 in 2016, and he has done well in his Lakers career but will no doubt be playing for the Pelicans next season after the Anthony Davis-to-LA deal finally gets done.
D’Angelo Russell went No. 2 to the Lakers in 2016 but is now plying his trade in Brooklyn, where he is an all-star but rarely goes to the free throw line.
Jabari Parker went No. 2 in 2014, and Victor Oladipo went No. 2 in 2013 after the Cavs sort of whiffed on Anthony Bennett.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been unremarkable ever since being the No. 2 pick in 2012, and we haven’t heard much from Derrick Williams since he went No. 2 in 2011.
Evan Turner (2010) and Hasheem Thabeet (2009) were not exactly the greatest No. 2 picks of all time, and we still have not even mentioned the words “Darko” and “Milicic.”
So, keep something in mind when locking in Williamson and Morant as sure things at No. 1 and No. 2: Things change, and if Culver wins a national championship for Texas Tech with the whole country watching, there is going to be some serious reconsidering going on.
Culver at No. 2 is worth a flyer at 70-1, but the folks at DraftKings are pretty sharp and will not leave him at that price is they see sharp money coming in.
Timing is everything, as they say, and the time to place that wager is now if you choose to go against conventional wisdom. Good luck.
NBC Sports continues to expand its sports betting coverage. NBC Sports Philadelphia will feature a second feed of the 76ers game versus the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. The additional feed on NBC Sports Philadelphia+ will provide a sports-betting telecast that will be presented by NBC Sports Bet.
76ers sports betting broadcast
The sports betting broadcast of this NBA game will be led by NBC Sports Philadelphia and 97.5 The Fanatic host Marc Farzetta. He will host the show alongside Brad Feinberg from NBC Sports Philadelphia’s The Daily Line. The show will also include Anthony Gargano from 97.5 the Fanatic. The trio previously hosted a weekly sports gambling show during the NFL playoffs.
Commentary and analysis from the hosts will include discussion about the odds, point spreads, and totals. This will be complemented with unobtrusive on-screen graphics featuring betting information. One unique feature of the graphics will be the quarterly points total being updated each time a team scores.
The special gambling broadcast will feature hosts inside a broadcast studio commenting on the live game feed. The traditional broadcast with announcers inside Wells Fargo Arena featuring Marc Zumoff, Alaa Abdelnaby, and Serena Winters will still be available on regular NBC Sports Philadelphia feed.
Initially, NBC Sports is only committing to one game featuring this secondary sports betting feed.
Sports betting in and around Philadelphia
The actual market of Philadelphia is larger than the city in Pennsylvania. There Philadelphia sports fans in Delaware and south New Jersey. Coincidentally NBC Sports Philadelphia reaches all three of these states that happen to offer legal sports betting.
This will be the first NBA broadcast in the area that is specifically focused around sports betting. Since this is a new topic for many mainstream sports fans, NBC Sports Philadelphia will also include a glossary of gambling terminology.
More sports betting coverage from NBC Sports
Philadelphia is the second city where NBC Sports will deploy a sports betting feed for an NBA game. Earlier this year NBC Sports Washington (DC) debuted a sports betting broadcast of select Washington Wizards games.
NBC Sports’ first sports betting broadcast featured a prediction game with a graphics-heavy screen wrap with stats, prediction questions, and a sponsor. The “Predict The Game“ feed will air for the eighth and final time of the season on April 5.
NBC Sports Radio also produces “The Daily Line.” This is a weekday afternoon drive radio show from 3-7 p.m. ET that airs in partnership with Westwood One Radio. There are 400 NBC Sports Radio affiliates around the country. The show can also be listened to live online at NBC Sports Radio or downloaded as a podcast.
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote about the rising transparency issues with NBA teams, star players, and their injuries.
The injury report issue specifically has been a challenge for the NBA biggest star and second-best player ever, LeBron James.
During the NBA finals, LeBron maybe-probably-could’ve-potentially broke his hand punching a whiteboard after the Cavs’ Game 1 loss. You might remember what preceded it:
This season, James’ groin has been the issue. From the ongoing theories about how severe the injury is (and who really knew what when), LeBron’s groin has been a source of consternation for gamblers. Writes Windhorst:
Gamblers want more transparency when it comes to injuries. Players, like anyone else, have privacy rights. Teams don’t want to allow a competitive disadvantage — and want to limit possible damage to business — and frequently obfuscate. In short, it’s a challenge.
It’s a delicate mix, for sure. The whole situation though could quickly come to a head as the NBA deepens its ties with legal betting operators.
Injury disclosure standards
Despite being late-to-get-on-board-with-gambling, the NFL historically has had the most wink-wink-nod-nod relationship with bettors. Their required injury reporting process is the most stringent of the major American sports league. As the NFL has partnered with Caesars now, stricter reporting policies may be put into place.
If the NBA had a 15-day disabled list like MLB, James surely would’ve been on it this season, clearing some levels of his day-to-day ambiguity. Currently, the NBA only requires teams to list a player as probable, questionable or doubtful by 5 p.m. on game day. Professional gamblers are used to working on those types of tight timelines, but it does make it more difficult for mainstream gamblers to gauge a player’s availability on short notice.
How do integrity fees fit into this?
Professional sports leagues want gambling operators to use their data feeds and charge them a fee for it. These integrity fees are intended to keep the games legit and ensure the quality of data being used.
But what about the integrity of injury information? Isn’t that just as important? And should gambling operators demand more transparency from professional sports leagues regarding player injuries?
The easy answer to that is, “yes.”
If professional sports leagues want to charge integrity fees, great. All day long. The operators though should push back and get standard reporting and standards from all leagues regarding player injuries.
New Jersey is showing the enormous appetite for legal sports betting in the U.S., pulling in $1.2M in handle since June. Degens are always gonna degen, they’re not going anywhere. But the real revenue growth will come from more casual mainstream bettors. Making sure they have the most accurate information is vital.
Expect this topic to gain steam this year.
The repeal of the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018 opened the doors for states to legalize sports betting. It also opened the doors for mainstream sports media to embrace sports betting more than ever.
Websites and podcasts were the first to act since those are the forms of media that are quickest to respond. Older, traditional forms of media, like television and radio, are still working toward getting off the ground.
While “Lock It In” debuted nationally on Fox Sports 1 last year, we’ve yet to see a major influx of TV shows dedicated to sports betting, though that should change this year.
The next step for televised sports betting could begin on the local level.
Next step for sports betting in the media
NBC Sports Washington is taking sports betting on television to another level. Instead of another show providing analysis, the regional sports network will debut a unique prototype of what TV could look like when sports betting is fully integrated.
On Jan. 11, NBC Sports Washington will air a second feed of the Washington Wizards game versus the Milwaukee Bucks. The traditional broadcast will be shown on the main station while an interactive broadcast will air on NBC Sports Washington Plus.
The game broadcast will be the same. The screen will feature wraparounds similar to what you’d see on ESPN News, any game on YouTube TV and new digital cable boxes.
Those major difference from the regular broadcast of this basketball game will be interactive and feature sports betting information. The screen will show odds, point spreads and wagering options surrounding game action.
Even though NBA League Pass is available nationally, most of the audience for this game will be in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland where sports betting isn’t legal yet. The gambling interface for the game will be a sweepstakes-style game.
‘Predict the Game’
According to Sports Business Daily, the gambling will be more of a question-and-answer activity called “Predict the Game.”
Viewers will be able to answer questions like: “How many points a specific player will score in a quarter?” or “How many assists will a player have in a half?” for a chance to win $500.
While this will be a free game, it could also be the future of sports betting during live games.
NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports (Wizards’ ownership group) both see this as a way to appeal to new, mainstream sports bettors. This new television broadcast could be used as a model to incorporate sports betting more deeply into game broadcasts.
The idea of rewarding customers by predicting outcomes in sporting events isn’t necessarily a new concept. However, this will be the first time it will be integrated on TV with a live game.
Sports betting continues to take small steps toward mainstream distribution and acceptance, and this is just another step forward for legal sports betting in the US.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced a deal to make FanDuel Sportsbook an authorized gaming operator of the league. FanDuel will continue to be the official daily fantasy partner of the NBA and the WNBA.
The new and expanded partnership gives FanDuel access to official NBA betting data as well as the use of NBA and WNBA marks and logos across FanDuel’s sports betting offerings. This part of the deal might sound familiar as the NBA has similar partnerships with The Stars Group (BetStars) and MGM Resorts International.
What makes this deal slightly different is that FanDuel will remain the NBA’s Official Daily Fantasy Partner. They will continue to operate both the Official Daily Fantasy Game of the NBA and the WNBA. FanDuel and the NBA will also continue to offer NBA InPlay, the interactive, real-time mobile fantasy game that launched in 2016.
Maybe… finally… possibly… a sportsbook will do something with NBA data
MGM Resorts was the first company to sign a partnership with the NBA to access official data. So far, the international casino operator hasn’t offered anything new for pro basketball bettors. BetStars just signed their partnership and hasn’t offered new NBA sports betting options either. Perhaps, FanDuel and their beautiful app will offer NBA bettors a new way to get down on the action.
“The core of our terrific partnership with FanDuel has been focused on innovation around the fan experience, and we are excited to extend it to include sports betting,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, Head of Fantasy & Gaming, NBA. “Together, we have broken new ground in the fantasy world on both the NBA and WNBA, and now with the use of our official NBA betting data, will continue to collaborate on new ways to engage our passionate fans.”
FanDuel has one of the best, if not the best, mobile sportsbook apps on the market. While FanDuel’s in-play betting options load quicker than some of the competition, it can still get better. Official data from the NBA should reduce any lag, which will give bettors a few more seconds to place a wager.
FanDuel already offers a large and quick In Play menu for NBA games. In theory, the new partnership should make these offerings even better.
FanDuel engaging NBA fans like nobody else
NBA fans are looking for engagement with the game anywhere they can find it. NBA twitter is probably the most active audience of all sports leagues. House Of Highlights on Instagram has more than 11 million followers enjoying NBA videos all day and night.
The NBA has always been a step of other professional sports leagues in the US. Their fans expect to be able to engage with the NBA more than any other sport. This new FanDuel partnership has the potential to give NBA fans another way to engage with a sport and brand they already know.
“We share a clear view on how we can collaborate to bring basketball fans new ways to engage with the games and players they love. With the expansion of our fantasy agreement and addition of sports betting, we are excited to work together in ways we haven’t before.”
The more partnerships the NBA signs the closer American sports bettors are to unlocking new ways to gamble on one of their favorite games. This could be the first partnership with the NBA to actually offer sports bettors in the US new and improved sports betting options.
This week, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and The Stars Group (BetStars) announced a new multiyear gaming partnership. The Stars Group is now an authorized sports betting operator of the NBA in the US.
This partnership is the first for the Stars Group with a professional sports league in the US. As of this announcement, BetStars is only operating in New Jersey.
Inside the deal
The deal between the NBA and The Stars Group is similar the partnership the NBA and MGM Resorts International agreed on earlier this year. Here’s the part of the deal that should effect NBA bettors.
- The Stars Group has the right to use official NBA betting data and league marks across their digital sports betting offerings.
Additionally, both entities will help market each other.
The Stars Group will be promoted across the NBA’s digital assets including NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA social media platforms. In return, the NBA will be promoted across The Stars Group’s gaming platforms.
This deal will include BetStars in the US, and PokerStars, which operates the world’s most popular online poker sites outside of the US.
The bottom line with this deal is that the NBA is paid for their name and data while The Stars Group and BetStars get promotion from the league and official data.
Data Deals: BetStars vs. MGM Resorts
In theory, this partnership puts BetStars on the same level as MGM Resorts International. The online and mobile sportsbook operator now has a similar deal with the NBA that the major worldwide casino operator has.
The marketing is good for the NBA and The Stars Group, but it’s really not something that’s useful for sports bettors at this time. The league could implement some kind of wagering opportunities in their games but it doesn’t seem as though that’s a priority.
Data deals with professional leagues in the US have great potential for sportsbook operators. The speed and uniqueness of the information should allow sportsbook operators to improve their betting product. Unfortunately, MGM Resorts International hasn’t used the data to offer new gambling experiences just yet.
While the mammoth casino operator has been slow to act with their league data, BetStars should be nimble enough to shake up NBA betting in New Jersey. Smaller and focused companies can often move quickly.
A casino operator has the challenge of selling various channels at multiple properties. For example, MGM Resorts, as a company, is selling a casino, entertainment, dining, nightclubs, spas, etc.
To date, MGM Resorts is signing deals and not improving their sports betting product for customers. That should come in time.
Meanwhile, The Stars Group only offers gambling products. This limited scope should allow BetStars to find ways to use the NBA data sooner than later.
BetStars is already offering more pre-game NBA wagering options than some other sportsbook operators in the US. On Tuesday night, BetStars had as many as 75 ways to wager on the Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets. For comparison, MGM Resorts had 11 pre-game options for the game.
Official data from the NBA should allow both BetStars and MGM Resorts to offer unique In-Play wagering opportunities that other sportsbooks don’t or won’t offer. Sports bettors are eagerly awaiting new ways to gamble on their favorite games.
On Wednesday, the NBA announced a first for a professional sports league in America. The league is now the first professional sports league in America to sign betting data partnerships related to the US market. The first two betting NBA data partners are Sportradar and Genius Sports.
This deal is a nonexclusive, so in theory, there could be more NBA betting data distribution partners in the future. This comes just a few months after MGM Resorts and the NBA signed a nonexclusive deal for data (and marketing). Coincidentally, or not, Sportradar is already providing data to MGM Resorts.
The first of its kind deal will begin with NBA and WNBA data distribution this year. Partnering with reputable data distribution services to provide official data to licensed sportsbooks could be a major step for legal sportsbook operators to separate from illegal bookies.
Legal sportsbooks moving forward
Data distribution deals by the NBA and other leagues can potentially leave illegal bookies in the Dark Ages. One benefit of sports bettors gambling with illegal bookies is the ability to bet on credit. This won’t go away. But while offering better lines for pre-game wagering is beneficial, there’s a whole lot more to betting on sports today.
Legal sportsbooks receiving data the quickest will allow them to offer in-play betting and some player propositions that won’t be accessible to illegal sportsbooks. In-play wagering has anecdotally been about 20 percent of the sports betting market in Nevada. That number is multiplying in New Jersey.
During a sports betting conference this week, Niall Connell, of FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey, said around 40 percent of their handle (amount of money wagered) is coming from in-play wagering. Having access to the best data will continue to grow that revenue stream and help advance legal sports betting around the country.
US sports betting worldwide
Sports betting in the US may never be the same. New international companies are changing the game. Sportsbook operators in New Jersey are already offering different options for US sports bettors thanks to their European influences.
Irish sportsbook operator Paddy Power is the brains behind the FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey. Kambi, another European company, is already powering sportsbooks in multiple states outside of Nevada.
US sports betting data distribution will also use experience from European companies. Carsten Koerl, chief executive officer of Sportradar, says that with “sports betting being so new to the United States, we will look to utilize our vast global experience in the space to implement innovative feeds and products to give fans and partners an amazing experience.”
Sports betting is evolving
For better or worse, sports betting in the US is changing. Between data deals with professional sports leagues and sportsbook operators with a different point of view than Nevada casinos, there are a lot of changes happening to sports betting in the US right now.
There are new ways to bet on sports popping up nearly every week. Thanks to new companies, new data deals and new wagering options, there’s no end in sight to the evolution of legal sports betting.
In something you don’t see at the top levels of European soccer anymore, Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been charged with allegedly breaching the Football Association’s betting rules.
Specifically, Sturridge is accused of breaking Rule E8(1)(a)(ii) and Rule E8(1)(b) during January 2018.
He has until Tuesday, Nov. 20 to respond. Sturridge has stated “categorically that he has never gambled on football,” said a Liverpool spokesperson.
Soooo … what does that mean?
Just follow this and then I’ll speculate. Here are the FA betting rules Sturridge is accused of violating:
- Rule E8(1)(a) – a participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on – (i) the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in or in connection with, a football match or competition; or (ii) any other matter concerning or related to football anywhere in the world, including, for example and without limitation, the transfer of players, employment of managers, team selection or disciplinary matters.
- Rule E8(1)(b) – where a participant provides to any other person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available at that time, the participant shall be in breach of this Rule where any of that information is used by that other person for, or in relation to, betting.
Sturridge was accused of this violation in January 2018.
In January 2018, Sturridge completed a loan to West Brom Albion. Rule E8(1)(a) states that, “a participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly…or enable any person to bet on…the transfer of players…” Rule E8(1)(b) states that, “where a participant provides to any other person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game…”
It’s reasonable given the timeframe to assume that Sturridge either intentionally or carelessly provided information of his transfer to someone who placed and won a large wager. We here at TheLines are not the betting type of people, but it’s like -350 that’s what happened.
Governing athletes in the U.S.
Europe has a significantly more mature sports betting market than the U.S. Players at the top levels know the rules.
So what exactly are sports betting rules for U.S. pro athletes?
Major League Baseball
We all know that Pete Rose earned himself a lifetime ban. In general, this is pretty straightforward. Section D of Major League Baseball Rule 21 states:
- Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible for one year.
- Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible.
National Football League
The NFL has an interesting and somewhat confusing view of gambling in general. They’ve opposed gambling and were behind lobbying efforts around the UIGEA. Yet they provide injury reports with a wink-wink-nod-nod to how that impacts gamblers, and their owners had no issue investing in daily fantasy sports sites. As far as “NFL personnel” go, however, this is more clearly defined:
League policy strictly prohibits NFL Personnel from participating in or facilitating any form of illegal gambling. In addition, NFL Personnel are prohibited from engaging in any of the following gambling-related activities, regardless of whether such activities are legal:
- Accepting a bribe or agreeing to throw or fix a game or illegally influence its outcome, statistics or score;
- Failing promptly to report any bribe offer or any attempt to throw or fix a game or to illegally influence its outcome, statistics or score;
- Betting on any NFL game or practice, or any other professional (e.g., NBA, MLB, NHL,PGA, USTA), college (e.g., NCAA basketball), or Olympic sport. including but not limited to wagers related to game outcome, statistics, score, or performance of any individual participant
- Sharing confidential information regarding any game or any participating individual’s Status for or performance in any game without authorization or for the purpose of enabling or facilitating gambling;
- Participating in or condoning any form of gambling while in any Club or League setting including, without limitation, locker rooms, practice or office facilities, or while traveling on Club or League business; or
- Entering into, utilizing or otherwise visiting a “sports book ” at any time during the NFL playing season.
National Basketball Association
Rumors have swirled for years regarding why Michael Jordan really left the NBA the first time. And we all know about Tim Donaghy. The NBA Constitution states:
Any person who, directly or indirectly, wagers money or anything of value on the outcome of any game played by a Team in the league operated by the Association shall, on being charged with such wagering, be given an opportunity to answer such charges after due notice, and the decision of the Commissioner shall be final, binding, conclusive, and unappealable. The penalty for such offense shall be within the absolute and sole discretion of the Commissioner and may include a fine, suspension, expulsion and/or perpetual disqualification from further association with the Association or any of its Members.
Additionally, per the league’s collective bargaining agreement, players have to take a mandatory gambling awareness program.
Expect very public player and personnel policy
As sports betting continues to roll out to more states, with so much at stake, expect stricter, clearly defined, and more public player policy from all professional leagues. It’s in the best interest of the leagues, players, and bettors.