Cleaning out the notebook from the first weekend of sports betting in Philadelphia, where fans and bettors celebrated the Eagles win ... well, all except for that one guy.
SugarHouse Casino in Fishtown says it took in more than 6,000 sports bets in its first weekend, which had a full slate of NFL games but just a few minor college bowl games.
They had heavy action on the Birds, with 22 percent of their tickets sold involving an Eagles-Rams wager. There was a $1,000 money-line bet on the Eagles to win outright (at 7-1 odds), which paid $7k; and a $5,000 straight bet on the Rams laying 13 points. That play never had a chance.
Evan Davis, VP and general counsel for SugarHouse, said 91 percent of the money-line tickets they saw on the Eagles-Rams were on the Eagles.
Betting on collegiate events involving New Jersey schools is prohibited in the Garden State’s sportsbooks, and the Division of Gaming Enforcement found two sportsbooks violating that part of the code.
The division fined the Golden Nugget $390 and Caesars $2,000 for taking football games that should not have been on their boards. Golden Nugget’s violations were for “various” games, while Caesars was flagged for taking bets on the Sept. 15 Rutgers-Kansas game. The visiting Scarlet Knights were hammered, 55-14.
Rutgers went 1-11 straight-up but was 7-5 against the spread.
There are eight men’s Division I hoops programs in New Jersey. Just two were above .500 against the spread entering Thursday. The list: Fairleigh Dickinson (4-4), Monmouth (2-8-1), New Jersey Institute of Technology (8-3-1), Princeton (3-5-1), Rider (2-7), Rutgers (6-4), St. Peter’s (3-8), and Seton Hall (5-6).
Take out NJIT, and the Jersey hoops schools are 25-42-2, according to VegasInsider.com. Maybe it’s a good thing betting on them is prohibited in New Jersey.
The Eagles are 4-3 straight-up at home and 2-5 against the spread. Houston is 6-7-1 overall ATS and 3-3-1 on the road. They’re 5-2-1 against the number since mid-October.
Six of their 14 games for both the Eagles and Houston have hit the over.
The Eagles are 2-point favorites, and the total is 45.5.
Look who’s 'D' favorite
Funny the things you stumble on while rolling through sports-betting futures. Saw the other day that former Sixer Robert Covington is the betting favorite for defensive player of the year on SugarHouse’s New Jersey app and at its retail site.
You have to be in New Jersey to bet it on the app ... and you have to be nuts to bet it now.
Covington, who was dealt to Minnesota in the Jimmy Butler deal, had an immediately impact. The Timberwolves won eight of the first 11 games he played following the Nov. 12 trade, including a blowout win over San Antonio, in which Covington was an astounding plus-44.
Covington opened at 70-1 to win defensive POY. He was at 20-1 after the Spurs game and has slipped to 5-2.
“This might come as a surprise to some people, but Philly fans know Covington finished [8th] in the defensive player of the year voting last year and has been an improving defender for years,” said Mattias Stetz, the chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive, which runs the SugarHouse’s online sports betting.
Covington also was first-team all-defense last season and was fourth in DPOY voting in 2016-17.
Last year’s winner, Utah’s Rudy Gobert, was at 3-1 on Thursday morning. Joel Embiid (6-1), Jimmy Butler (20-1), and Ben Simmons (40-1) also were at the top of the board.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (5-2) is favored to win league MVP. He’s followed by the Lakers' LeBron James (3-1), Golden State’s Steph Curry (5-1), and New Orleans' Anthony Davis (5-1). Embiid is 9-1, Simmons is 30-1, Butler 200-1.
SugarHouse’s mobile betting app is not yet running in Pennsylvania. General manager Cheryl Duhon said they hope to have it going by the first quarter of 2019.
Listed at 100-1: Avery Bradley (LAC), Jaylen Brown (Bos.), Dwight Howard (Wash.), DeAndre Jordam (Dal.), JaVale McGee (LAL), Andre Roberson (OKC), Jayson Tatum (Bos.), Klay Thompson (GS), Myles Turner (Ind.).
This and that
The sports book at Parx in Bensalem won’t open until after the first of the year. Just like SugarHouse, a two-day soft opening will be required before the state gaming board gives full approval, and a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said that won’t happen until January. A spokesperson for the Harrah’s property in Chester said they are hoping to open in mid-January.
Hollywood Casino near Harrisburg, the first in Pennsylvania to offer sports betting, had a $1.4 million handle in sports from Nov. 15-30, according to the Gaming Control Board. The adjusted gross revenue, following payouts, was about $509,000. Hollywood paid 34 percent of that to the state ($173k) and 2 percent to the local municipality ($10k).
And finally ...
Lots of skepticism and even outrage at the federal government’s attempt to get into the business of regulating sports betting.
For years, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act ruled the land and prohibited states outside of Nevada from enacting sports betting. Several states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, established their own regulations and call the feds' involvement nothing more than a money grab through additional taxation.
“We oppose any additional federal legislation," said Joe Asher, the chief executive officer of William Hill-US, the sportsbook that runs operations in Nevada, Central Pennsylvania, and two in Atlantic City. “There are already existing laws in place, and PASPA was a total failure.”
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D, N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) introduced a bill on Wednesday that calls on the Justice Department to establish regulations nationwide.
Asher told Philly.com prior to the legislation being formally introduced that he was not impressed.
“The states have proven to be successful regulators of gaming," he said, "and there’s no need to add on more federal bureaucracy.”