They say you can’t beat the house. Well, New Jersey bettors came shockingly close last month, but that hasn’t stopped the state’s online sportsbooks from offering players opportunities to enhance their equity.
From getting your money back if you’re on the wrong side, to doubling your winnings if you’re on the right side, the digital books are presenting a variety of opportunities to improve your EV on this weekend’s sports betting action. And as always, with eight different apps offering odds, the bettor who shops around ends up with the best chance at an overstuffed Costanza wallet. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. Online bankrolls don’t take up physical space.)
Here’s a look at some of the most appealing promotions of the weekend and a price comparison on the two biggest football games:
Friday night basketball bonus
FanDuel Sportsbook has a special just for tonight on NBA games, a “Local Team Bonus” focused on the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, and Brooklyn Nets.
If you make a moneyline bet on any of those three teams by 7:00 tonight, and the bet wins, you get double your winnings, up to $100. You can only collect the bonus on one of them, however, so choose wisely.
The Sixers, in their second game working Jimmy Butler into the lineup, are the only favorite of the trio, currently listed at -152 on the moneyline at home against the Utah Jazz. Key stat here: Philly, though an ugly 2-7 on the road this season, is 7-0 at the Wells Fargo Center. They’re easily the safest bet available here, though the payout is modest.
If you’re into bigger risks and bigger rewards, the Nets are +235 in Washington against a Wizards team that got off to a shockingly slow start but has won three straight, and the Knicks are +420 to upset the Pelicans in New Orleans.
Expect a lot of money on the 76ers on FanDuel today.
It pays to have insurance
FanDuel and DraftKings Sportsbook are both offering a variety of insurance options this week.
Much of it comes in the form of a familiar sight at the NJ online books: parlay insurance. If you bet a parlay of four or more legs and miss on exactly one leg, you get a refund (in site credit, of course).
DraftKings is offering insurance on football games — NFL, college, or a combination thereof — as long as each individual leg has odds of -300 or longer. In other words, you won’t be working the Alabama moneyline into this parlay. But pick four less prohibitive favorites and hit on three of them, and you can get your money back up to $25 per parlay and up to $100 total for the weekend.
FanDuel has the same deal, but it applies specifically to NBA games and NCAA football. And FD is stricter with the favorites, as an individual wager within the parlay can be no shorter than -200 to qualify.
FanDuel also has a creative new form of insurance for NFL games called “First TD Insurance.” This is a twist on a standard player prop that gives bettors the opportunity to guess who will score the game’s first touchdown. With First TD Insurance, if the player you pick doesn’t score first but does score eventually, you get your money back (up to $50, in site credit).
Notably, TD machine Todd Gurley plays in the Monday night game and thus isn’t eligible for this promotion. That leaves Alvin Kamara (+500), Melvin Gordon (+410), and James Conner (+430) as the safest bets on the board to at least get you a refund if they don’t win you the bet. Important note: Only one wager per bettor is eligible for the refund.
Bets beget bets
Over at BetStars NJ, the name of the game is free bets.
PokerStars’ sports betting arm continues its ongoing promotion of a $5 free bet every week if you bet $25 on any game.
And the site also has a special for the NBA on Fridays only: If you make a pre-game bet of $50 or more, you can make a free in-game bet on the same game of up to $50. Note, however, that minimum odds of -110 apply to all qualifying bets.
There are eight games on the schedule tonight, including an important Eastern Conference showdown between the Raptors and Celtics, so plenty to choose from here.
Price check on premium games
There’s a clear “main event” on both the NFL and college football slates this weekend, so let’s take a look at the pricing on each at various NJ sites and see if there’s value to be found.
In NCAA football, the game of the weekend is No. 12 Syracuse visiting No. 3 Notre Dame, and the Fighting Irish are a 10-point favorite everywhere you look — at FanDuel, DraftKings, Play Sugarhouse, Caesars Casino, BetStars NJ, and 888sport. (A word of warning, though: the vig is -114 on both sides at 888, vs. -110 everywhere else.)
There isn’t much variation on the score total either, as the line is 65 everywhere except Caesars, where it’s 64.5.
You can find slight discrepancies on the moneyline, however:
- FanDuel: Notre Dame -390, Syracuse +300
- DraftKings: Notre Dame -385, Syracuse +295
- Play Sugarhouse: Notre Dame -385, Syracuse +295
- Caesars: Notre Dame -380, Syracuse +310
- BetStars: Notre Dame -400, Syracuse +300
- 888: Notre Dame -400, Syracuse +280
Clearly, Caesars is the book to go to for a moneyline bet — on either side. As for those 888 prices? Woof.
The spotlight game in the NFL this week is technically not a weekend game; it’s the Monday Night Football showcase between the Chiefs and Rams, originally scheduled for Mexico City but moved to L.A. due to a field that was in worse shape than Bartolo Colon at the start of spring training.
There isn’t much variation on the spread for this game either; all of the mobile sportsbooks have the Rams as either 3- or 3½-point favorites, and those that gift you the Rams at 3 are making you pay a -117 price instead of the standard -110 (with a -105 on the Chiefs at +3).
The score total is 63 at DraftKings, Play Sugarhouse, and 888sport and 63½ at FanDuel, BetStars, and Caesars. Interestingly, the over at FanDuel is +100 (the under is -120).
As for the moneyline, L.A. is -167 or -168 everywhere except Caesars, where they’re an unattractive -175, and BetStars, where they’re an even more unappetizing -182. But Caesars is the place to go for a Chiefs moneyline bet. The payout there is +155, compared to +150 at BetStars, +144 at FanDuel, +138 at Play Sugarhouse, and +135 at 888 and DraftKings.
Lastly, speaking of DraftKings, this is Week 2 of the site’s DK Sportsbook Pools contest, and for all the problems it ran into last week, there is overlay to be claimed (at least in theory) and the entries numbered fewer than 1,500 as of Friday morning.
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