The sports wagering weekend is already getting weird — and the weekend hasn’t even technically begun yet.
On Thursday night, the 7-point underdog Dallas Cowboys won outright against the New Orleans Saints, and making the win even more shocking, Dallas held the Saints to 10 points. New Orleans was averaging over 37 points per game coming in.
“Defense is dead,” we were told.
Apparently defense has a pulse, and the mighty Saints can be slowed down.
It was a useful reminder that there are no sure things in unscripted entertainment. And maybe it was a warning to watch out for land mines when engaging in sports betting this weekend.
Of course, even when the results are unpredictable, the books can be beaten. At New Jersey’s eight online sportsbooks, one key is taking advantage of edges they’ll give you in terms of bonuses, odds boosts, and money-back bets.
FanDuel cashes out
The “Cash Out” concept — the Deal Or No Deal of sports betting, allowing you to end your bet early at a reduced profit or loss — is nothing new. But it’s new to FanDuel Sportsbook, and FD is encouraging bettors to give it a try in the most appealing way possible: by handing out free money. FanDuel is offering $10 in site credit the first time you use the “Cash Out” feature.
Fine print: The $10 credit expires seven days after receipt.
FanDuel’s other weekend promos all have the word “insurance” in them:
- Halftime Insurance: If you bet an NFL team on the moneyline and they’re leading at halftime but lose the game, you get your bet back (up to $50).
- CFB Championship OT Insurance: This one is a little less likely to activate, but if you place a moneyline bet on a college football conference championship and the team you’re backing loses in overtime, you get your money back (up to $50).
- NBA Parlay Insurance: This one has been going on all month and expires tonight, but if you make an NBA parlay bet with four or more legs and hit all but one of the legs (each leg must have -200 odds or longer), you get a cash refund up to $25.
On a related note, FanDuel’s Friday Odds Boost is a parlay of the Lakers (vs. Dallas), Rockets (at San Antonio), 76ers (vs. Washington), and Grizzlies (at Brooklyn), all to win. Instead of the initially listed +700 payout, this one’s been pumped up to 10/1. (Max bet is $50.)
More basketball at BetStars
The most appealing promo of the weekend at BetStars NJ centers around one of the games in that FanDuel parlay, the Sixers’ meeting with the Wizards on Friday night. If you make a $50 pre-game bet on the Eastern Conference clash, you’ll get a free $50 to bet in-game.
There’s also an odds boost on the game, with a +120 payout for a successful parlay of Philly to win (they’re 7½-point favorites) and center Joel Embiid to score over 29.5 points. So far this season, Embiid has tallied 30 or more in 13 of 23 games.
BetStars also has an unusual promotion on Saturday night’s Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury heavyweight boxing match: You get a free bet (up to $20) if Fury wins by knockout or disqualification and your bet loses. It’s a bit of a longshot scenario; Fury is the underdog in the matchup of unbeaten big men, and he’s listed at +500 to win by KO or DQ.
Still, it’s a bit of insurance if you’re backing Wilder. “The Bronze Bomber” is down to -137 at BetStars after sitting close to -200 at most books a week or so ago, and Wilder by decision is a highly attractive +600.
Double TD delight at DK
Industry leader DraftKings Sportsbook is making a popular NFL player prop a little more fun this weekend with its “NFL TD Scorer Bonus.” If you bet on any individual player to find the end zone on Sunday or Monday, your bet pays as expected if he scores … and pays double winnings if he scores the first TD of the game.
DK also has overtime insurance for any NFL or college football game, with the same rules as FanDuel’s OT insurance: If your team loses in overtime, you get your money back in the form of a free bet (up to $50).
DraftKings also has football parlay insurance, covering any combination of NFL and NCAA games, where if you bet four or more legs (at -300 or longer) and all but one hit, you get a refund (up to $25).
One last piece of DraftKings Sportsbook news this weekend: Clearly, the big bosses at DK are reading NJ Online Gambling, and they’ve improved DK Sportsbook Pools per our recommendations.
This week’s contest has a $10 entry and a $50,000 guaranteed prize pool, and players no longer need to make perfect picks to win and there will be no more kicking half the prize pool to next week. Instead, 30% of the prize pool is split among however many entrants tie for the best score of the week, 27% goes to the next group, 23% to the third group, and 20% to the fourth.
On a 15-game Sunday-Monday slate like this, you previously would have needed to pick 13 winners to min-cash. Now 12 is guaranteed to land you in the money, and it’s quite likely that 10 or 11 right will be enough.
Game of the week
The marquee football matchup this weekend comes not from the NFL but from the college ranks, where the top team in the nation, Alabama, faces No. 4 Georgia on Saturday for the SEC Championship.
We always tell you that it pays to shop around, but in the case of this game, it only pays a little.
At every New Jersey online sportsbook we checked, the Bulldogs are the underdogs, by exactly 13½ points everywhere.
The score total is the same everywhere as well, at 63½, with one minor exception: Caesars Casino hung it at 64.
There’s not much variation on the moneyline either. Georgia is +390 at FanDuel, +400 at DraftKings, Play Sugarhouse, and BetStars, and +409 at Caesars. ‘Bama is -550 at BetStars, -530 at FD, DK, and Play Sugarhouse, and -520 at Caesars.
Don’t believe Georgia can pull it off? Well, Dallas was +380 on the moneyline against New Orleans on Thursday. Just sayin’.
Photo by Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com
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