Overall, sports betting is a negative-EV proposition. We hear all the time about how only a tiny percentage of people actually make money doing it. Whether that figure is 1% or 5% or 10%, all it takes is one glance at the revenue reports and hold percentages from the casinos each month to know that the odds are not in the public’s favor.
These nascent days of online sports betting in New Jersey, however, provide a rare, probably fleeting, opportunity to flip the script. There are 16 active online sportsbooks in New Jersey. Yes, you read that right: a “1” with a “6” after it. And they’re all competing for deposits and return business from customers who, in many cases, will play on one or two sites and be done tapping their bank accounts.
So what we’re seeing is a flood of player-friendly promotions. There are all the usual sign-up bonuses and first-deposit matches, but on top of that, most digital sportsbooks are rolling out odds boosts that remove the house edge, refund opportunities, and other ways to earn a little extra cash with every bet you place.
And during Week 1 of the NFL season, the promos go into overdrive.
We’ve combed through all of the sites, and here are the NFL-specific offers they each have going this weekend.
New Jersey’s current leader in handle and revenue has been serving up absurd daily odds boosts for the past couple of weeks; the most ludicrously generous one was probably the Patriots to win the AFC East at even money (up to $25).
Their current NFL promo, however, isn’t necessarily a huge value play. FanDuel is offering a “First TD Bonus” on the Cowboys-Giants and Patriots-Steelers games, whereby if you bet $25 or more on a specific player’s prop to score the first touchdown of the game, whether that bet wins or loses, you get a $5 bonus for every touchdown that player’s team scores in the game. So on average, you’re going to be looking at $10 or $15 of money back.
(However, FanDuel also ran this promo for last night’s Packers-Bears game, and with just one TD scored by either squad in 60 minutes, the promotion proved a dud.)
NFL 1st TD Bonus 💰
Bet $25+ on any player to score the game's first TD and we'll give you a $5 bonus for every TD your player's team scores 🤑
• Giants vs Cowboys
• Steelers vs Patriots
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) September 6, 2019
If you thought that Pats AFC East boost was a steal, that’s nothing compared to what DraftKings is calling its “No-Brainer Boost”: Even-money odds on the Giants, Jets, or Eagles to score a single touchdown in Week 1. That’s right — you just need one of the three local teams to find the end zone once to get paid. This is what’s known as free money.
(Not much free money, though; there’s $10 cap on this one.)
DK is offering other modest daily odds boosts, and the book has a special “NFL Week 1 Marquee Matchup” offer on the Rams-Panthers game. If you place a moneyline bet on either team, you get $6 in free bet money for each touchdown that your team’s star running back (Todd Gurley or Christian McCaffrey) scores. It’s far from a sure thing that you’ll see any bonus action there, but if you were going to bet the moneyline in this game anyway, the promo offers some added value.
As they often do, PointsBet is offering -105 juice on standard spread bets, which adds up if you’re looking to bet a whole bunch of games.
And the site that is famous for early payouts — if your team gets out to a sizable lead, you’re getting credited with the win on the spot — is taking it to the next level with the two Week 1 Monday night games. In Saints-Texans and Raiders-Broncos, if the team you bet on scores the first touchdown, you win the bet automatically. (This promotion was also in play on Thursday night.)
On top of that, PointsBet is offering a “free field goal” promotion, giving refunds on any spread bet that loses by three points or fewer.
Bottom line: PointsBet is making it hard for customers to lose money betting a high volume of NFL games this weekend.
One week into operation in New Jersey, the new kid on the block hasn’t yet revealed any of its on-air-personality-linked daily bet boosts for the weekend.
So what can you expect? Well, if Thursday’s bet boost from “Cousin” Sal Iacono is any indication, the bets might be longshots but they also might not cost you anything.
If you're in NJ or PA, check out my #CustomBet offer on the @FOXBet app: Get +600 on Green Bay to win + Rodgers to throw for more TDs than the number of sacks he takes. If it loses, I’ll refund you up to $25 as a free bet. If you’re not in NJ or PA – forget I said anything. pic.twitter.com/hnNAT3ttVF
— Cousin Sal (@TheCousinSal) September 5, 2019
Aaron Rodgers threw one TD and got sacked six times, so this FOX Bet special wasn’t much of a sweat. Good thing it came with a money-back guarantee.
It’s debatable whether this one qualifies as a good deal, but here it is: William Hill is calling it the “Gridiron Live Club,” and from now through Oct. 2, if you place $200 worth of in-play football bets, you get $10 in your account. Make it $2,500, and you get $100.
That percentage return isn’t much compared to the other sites’ offers, but if you’re into in-game betting and prepared to do a fair amount of it, a little rakeback never hurts.
Here’s another one with limited value. NJ newcomer bet365 is offering an early-payout offer, similar to PointsBet’s trademark move, but you really have to earn it. Your pre-game moneyline bets will pay out early if the team you bet on takes a lead of 17 points or more.
This little bit of insurance doesn’t hurt to have, but if you’re making bets expecting your team to lead by 17 points and then blow it, this might not be the best hobby for you.
The MGM site has a couple of modest promos going this weekend. One is perfectly straight-forward: Make a $10 pre-game bet on an NFL game, get a $10 free bet.
The other one is notable more for its name than for the parameters of the bet. The deal is that if you lose your moneyline or spread bet in overtime, you get your money back in free bets, up to $25. The name? “Buffalo Wild Wings Overtime Insurance.” The MGM-BWW partnership is officially underway.
SugarHouse, Caesars, Resorts
None of these three sites are offering standard Week 1 single-game or parlay promotions, but they have each announced season-long contests.
At SugarHouse, it’s the “Million-Dollar Streak” contest, a tough test of handicapping centered around the Thursday night games.
Caesars has a “Weekly Football Pick ’Em Challenge,” a freeroll in which customers try to guess which game will have the highest total score and can win a $5 free bet if they’re right.
And Resorts has its own freeroll, the only season-long NFL picks contest available in New Jersey in 2019, the “Super Pick ’Em.”
The other sites
The following NJ operators don’t have any NFL-specific promotions listed on their sites:
- Golden Nugget
- Hard Rock
- Borgata Sports
All of them are taking bets on NFL games, though. So if you prefer to build your bankroll the old-fashioned way, by simply being on the right side and beating the house, any of these online sportsbooks will give you that opportunity.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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