Betting on Rutgers and other Garden State schools in New Jersey took another step forward this week when a constitutional amendment passed in committee.

The proposed adjustment, sponsored by state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic), now goes before the full legislature with the hope that it could be placed on the ballot in the fall of 2021.

The New Jersey constitution prohibits betting on the state’s college teams and, more importantly, on college events held in New Jersey. It’s been mostly a nuisance since sports betting was legalized outside of Nevada in 2018. It became problematic when the NCAA recently announced the men’s basketball East Regional finals were going to be held in Newark in 2025.

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Sarlo’s office did not immediately return a message for comment, but the senator did say in a release that, “This is an important opportunity we have to capitalize upon. We need to support and sustain this growing market that is fast becoming a significant part of our regional and state economies. March Madness is a high-profile event on the sports betting calendar, and we should be a key player.”

NJOnlineGambling.com reported that the state legislature will take up the measure within a few weeks.

The pandemic wiped out most of March Madness in 2020. But in 2019 there was plenty of confusion (and disappointment) at Jersey sports books when Seton Hall went 3-0 against the spread in the Big East tournament.

Atlantic City, which hosted the start of the MAAC tournament in March, also had to explain to tourists why they were prohibited from offering action even though the games were being held right down the boardwalk.

Sarlo’s original proposal was to allow for betting only on games within the state. He increased the scope of the measure, according to NJOnlineGambling, when senate president Steve Sweeney told him the NCAA would not offer opposition.

Three Eagles vs. Giants thoughts

  • Counting the postseason that followed the 2017 Super Bowl year, the Eagles are just 3-3 straight-up and against the spread following a bye during the Doug Pederson era. The “over” also is 3-3.
  • How much does a half-point cost? DraftKings odds on the Eagles-Giants is -3 points at -127 odds or -3.5 at -105. In other words, a winning $50 wager on the Eagles at -3 would pay $39.37. While a $50 wager on the Eagles -3.5 would fetch $47.62. In this case, the half-point is worth $8.25 on a $50 play.
  • The Giants have covered five of their last six. The exception was their 20-19 win over Washington when they were favored by 1.5 points. The Eagles are 3-5 against the spread.

This & That

  • Villanova opened at 14-1 at Westgate in Vegas to win the men’s college basketball national championship. Locally, those odds are closer to 9-1 and were as low as 7-1 at DraftKings in Jersey Thursday afternoon. Shop around.
  • DK reported that 55% of early money was on the Sixers (12-1) to win the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn (4-1) was next at 29%.
  • Tiger Woods winning the Masters would be a nightmare for sportsbooks. Woods was among the most popular players bet with BetMGM reporting taking a $5,000 wager when Tiger was 40-1. Their largest potential payout is $630,000 on Kevin Kisner, who shot a 1-under 71 in Thursday’s opening round.

And finally

New Jersey led the nation in sports-betting handle for September at $748.5 million, according to the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN). Nevada was second at $575 million, followed by Pennsylvania at $462.7 million. That’s an impressive number for the Keystone State, which had a handle of $194.5 million in September 2019. While there wasn’t as much college football this October, there was NBA (as well as baseball) playoffs.