On Wednesday, daily fantasy sports powerhouse DraftKings became the first to roll out a mobile sports betting app in the New Jersey market. Currently, the product is in an invite-only beta phase, with the presumption being that the doors will officially open to the public once the state’s regulatory body, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, gives the go-ahead.
In the meantime, NJ Online Gambling has seen a glimpse of the app, including the lines for some of Thursday’s Major League Baseball games, and has taken the liberty of comparing them to those posted by the Westgate in Las Vegas.
Westgate v. DraftKings
The overarching trend is that while DraftKings’ lines are marginally better than what FanDuel offered at its live Meadowlands sports book at launch, they’re still lagging well behind those offered in the Las Vegas market.
MLB money lines: 8/2/2018
- DraftKings: Rockies(+128)/Cardinals(-157); Westgate: Rockies(+130)/Cardinals(-140)
- DraftKings: Royals(+120)/White Sox(-148); Westgate: Royals(+127)/White Sox(-137)
- DraftKings: Reds(+255)/Nationals(-315); Westgate: Reds(+235)/Nationals(-265)
- DraftKings: Marlins(+155)/Phillies(-190); Westgate: Marlins(+165)/Phillies(-180)
- DraftKings: Braves(-180)/Mets(+145); Westgate: Braves(-155)/Mets(+145)
- DraftKings: Yankees(+100)/Red Sox(-121); Westgate: Yankees(-103)/Red Sox(-107)
On balance, players on DraftKings will be subject to a commission in the 4% – 5% range, while at the Westgate, the vigorish averages out to around 2%. The differences between the two books is rather alarming, with NJ bettors getting by far the short end of the stick.
MLB run lines: 8/2/2018
- DraftKings: Rockies(-167/+1.5)/Cardinals(+140/-1.5); Westgate: Rockies(-165/+1.5)/Cardinals(+145/-1.5)
- DraftKings: Royals(-167/+1.5)/White Sox(+138/-1.5); Westgate: Royals(-165/+1.5)/White Sox(+145/-1.5)
- DraftKings: Reds(+104/+1.5)/Nationals(-125/-1.5); Westgate: Reds(+115/+1.5)/Nationals(-135/-1.5)
- DraftKings: Marlins(-137/+1.5)/Phillies(+114/-1.5); Westgate: Marlins(-130/+1.5)/Phillies(+110/-1.5)
- DraftKings: Braves(-113/-1.5)/Mets(-108/+1.5); Westgate: Braves(-105/-1.5)/Mets(-115/+1.5)
- DraftKings: Yankees(+160/-1.5)/Red Sox(-195/+1.5); Westgate: Yankees(-205/+1.5)/Red Sox(+180/-1.5)
Here we notice that DraftKings’ lines are more in sync with Westgate’s lines than the money lines are. Westgate lines are still generally better, but the difference is at least palatable.
So what’s going on here?
NJ bettors that have anxiously waited for mobile sports wagering to arrive in the Garden State are going to undoubtedly be disappointed with DraftKings’ MLB money lines. And quite frankly, they should be. Yes, New Jersey levies an 8.5% tax on land-based books, and 14% on online books, which is materially higher than the 6.75% tax rate on sports betting in Nevada, but it’s hardly a big enough difference to warrant this much of an increased cost for the customer.
We do think, or at least hope, the situation will improve. Keep in mind that DraftKings is the first operator to offer a mobile product in New Jersey, meaning at present, there is a dearth of market competition. As more operators go mobile, and players can shop around from anywhere in the state, DraftKings may be forced to adjust its lines to remain viable. This holds especially true when the MGM-owned Borgata launches its mobile sports book, as its money lines stand to be relatively in line with those found at MGM properties in Las Vegas (similar to Westgate, although not quite as player-friendly).
Also worth noting is that DraftKings’ rival FanDuel responded to player backlash a couple of weeks ago by adjusting the lines at its Meadowlands sports book almost immediately. Are they good? Hardly, but at least the operator has shown a willingness to listen to the ire of the community and react accordingly. DraftKings will almost undoubtedly do the same.
In short, let’s all take a breath and give DraftKings more than a day to work out its money lines, and at least take some solace in the fact that the run lines are decent. If time passes and we’re still seeing absurdly bad MLB money lines, frankly, it may be time to shop somewhere else.