Betting Rumors

For the first time in over three months, NBA point spreads are back on the board at Las Vegas sportsbooks, but oddsmakers admit they’re not sure what to expect when the league attempts to resume its season amid the coronavirus pandemic. The line on the LA Clippers-Los Angeles Lakers game — the second half of an opening doubleheader July 30 — opened at pick ’em Saturday at Caesars Sportsbook. The New Orleans Pelicans are 1-point favorites over the Utah Jazz in the first game of the doubleheader.
The former Bulls and Lakers coach and Knicks president is riding out the pandemic at his home in Montana, and anyone who has ever encountered Jim Dolan would tell you that the chances of a reconciliation between the Knicks owner and Jeanie Buss’ former girlfriend appears to be an impossibility. But that has not stopped an offshore sportsbook from posting 150-1 odds on Jackson returning to coach the team that he led from 2014 to 2017.
“Gaming” is a key word here, buried among other promotional phrases. As Silver told Thompson (emphasis mine), “I think that part of that challenge will be met by this relationship with Microsoft, because the way to keep people of any age for watching longer is to create more engagement with them, to deliver to them more of the content that they want, and I think part of this relationship, it also goes to the enhancements around our telecast, whether that be on a separate screen or whether that be part of the telecast itself, in terms of deeper content about particular players they’re interested in, data around those players and in some cases, gaming content, and that can either be fantasy content or sports betting content.” The NBA has wanted in on sports betting, but, and I say this as someone who once had an NBA gambling column, pro basketball betting is a niche market.
According to one top-ranking league official, the NBA has explored concepts of concluding final games in Las Vegas, as the tournament would emulate famous overseas basketball cups like the Copa del Rey in Spain. In Las Vegas, the NBA already has built-in business relationships, and could recover some of the lost revenue via sponsorships and gambling dollars associated with a tournament, the executive said, adding a proposed sponsorship slogan for the one-and-done format. “The NBA Cup, where every game is a Game 7,” the individual said.
A Bergen County nurse just became thousands of dollars richer after filling out a perfect bracket for an NBA sponsored video game tournament, prompting the betting app he used to donate the same amount to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. Michael Catala, a Little Ferry resident, won $20,000 after correctly guessing every winner and loser of a televised virtual tournament for basketball video game NBA 2K20, which included stars like Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant and Atlanta Hawks’s Trae Young.
When a wave of bets were placed on 16th-seeded Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones to beat top-seeded Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, which he did 78-62 on Friday, it became clear that those placing bets knew something. “We initially made Durant the favorite to win the tournament but when …. the bets were completely one-sided toward Jones, it became obvious that someone knew the outcome of the game,” said odds manager Robert Cooper, whose company lost a sum in the low five figures on the opening round.
Los Angeles has not one, but two teams favored to win the NBA title in June. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers, and Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Clippers are the co-favorites to win the 2020 NBA title at +295, according to The L.A. teams are followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (+330), and then James Harden and the Rockets (+900).
The entire article was brief, straightforward and, yet, extremely bold. Silver was the first acting commissioner of a major U.S. sports league to come out in support of legalized sports betting. In 437 words, he pivoted the NBA’s long-held public opposition to sports betting and ignited a discussion about a taboo subject for all professional leagues. “I think it was ground-breaking,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said of Silver’s op-ed in an email to ESPN. “Leagues for decades were hypocritical about gaming, pretending it doesn’t exist. Adam ended that hypocrisy.”
Behind the scenes, though, the leagues were studying the issue, preparing for the day when more states would offer sports betting. Former NBA commissioner David Stern believes Silver’s op-ed had an enormous impact on the other leagues’ approaches to the issue and was very influential overall in the movement toward expanded legal sports betting. “It indicated that the horse was about to leave the barn and it would be smart to jump on your own horse and follow along,” Stern said. “And they did.” “It was critical,” added Cuban. “Prior, those in favor of gaming expected pro sports to fight back. With the hypocrisy gone, the legal steps could move forward.”
Leonsis was on the forefront of the league’s shift on betting and was one of the owners Silver consulted with on the op-ed. “My notion was what are we afraid of, when we know all this money is being spent offshore [with bookmakers] in an unregulated, untaxed and unmindful way?” Leonsis said in a phone interview Tuesday. Today, the professional leagues’ opposition to sports betting has vanished. Their focus now is on how to monetize the growing regulated industry through data and fees based on the amount wagered on the games.
As Vegas odds go, only three of the past 35 NBA seasons6 have featured a weaker preseason favorite than this year’s Clippers: 2007-08 (Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, +450), 2006-07 (Mavericks, +400) and 2004-05 (Spurs, +400). All three of those seasons happened to come in the four-year period between the end of the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant era and the beginning of the Pau Gasol-Bryant pairing in L.A.7 The Spurs won two titles in that span (and three in five years), but Vegas frequently underestimated them along the way, and San Antonio never owned the top of the odds board as other dynasties have.
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is favored to win his second straight NBA MVP award, while New Orleans Pelicans star rookie Zion Williamson is the favorite to be named NBA Rookie of the Year, according to Antetokounmpo won his first MVP after the 2018-19 season, beating out 2018 MVP James Harden and Paul George by averaging 27.2 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
The bill (A5463) would permit anyone who owns 10 percent or more of a professional sports team to accept bets on games within their league, as long as it doesn’t include the team they own. That means the Nugget — the only New Jersey casino or race track affected by the ban — would be allowed accept NBA bets, as long as they are not wagered on Rockets games.
None of that changes the overall picture — the Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the NBA Finals. The Warriors are -320 to win the NBA title, the Raptors +260 at the Ceasars Palace sportsbook. What that means for non-gamblers is you have to bet $320 to win $100 on the Warriors, while a $100 bet on the Raptors wins $260. The Warriors are also 1.5 point favorites to win Game 1 on the road without Durant and coming off a nine-day layoff where rust is to be expected.
Sportradar, an authorized data distributor for the NBA, sent a letter Thursday notifying sportsbook operators that the league was forcing it to “cease providing to you NBA Official Data for use in the United States unless and until you are an Authorized Gaming Operator of the NBA.” According to the letter, obtained by ESPN, Sportradar will shut down access of the feed at 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Game 1 of the Finals is Thursday.
1 year ago via ESPN
The NBA’s data feed is primarily used by sportsbooks to run their live betting options, updating odds that are offered on different outcomes throughout the game. Live or in-game betting is a growing market in the U.S. but still does not represent significant betting handle for sportsbooks in Las Vegas. The vast majority of money bet on in-game wagering options is on the point spread, money-line and over/under total points, bookmakers say.
1 year ago via ESPN
Last month, the NBA sent a memo to all its team owners detailing a series of new rules about owning sports betting companies and related businesses. In a nod toward gambling, referee transparency rules have been gradually implemented over the past decade, from announcing officiating crews in advance of games to the publishing of the last two minute reports. However, even as the NBA gets deeper into business with sportsbooks, the league has yet to take meaningful action when it comes to injury reporting.
1 year ago via ESPN
It became an issue again over the weekend when a rib injury to Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard that was kept secret might have contributed to his 5-of-18 shooting performance in a Game 3 home loss on Saturday in the Western Conference finals. Lillard suffered a separated rib on his left side after being landed on by Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney in Game 2 on Thursday. NBA rules require teams to announce whether a player is probable, questionable, doubtful or out by 5 p.m. the day before a game. Lillard’s injury was diagnosed Thursday night in Oakland, sources said, but it was not put on the injury report. It was reported by several media outlets after the game Saturday and confirmed by Lillard on Sunday.
1 year ago via ESPN
So, many of the league’s owners who see growth potential are partnering with or investing in gaming companies. In response, the league created a new “20% rule,” in which team owners can’t have more than a 20 percent ownership stake in a sportsbook or they would be forced to have their team’s games excluded from the board. Yet, there is still no change in injury reporting rules, ground zero for where high-interest games could be influenced. This is especially true in the NBA playoffs, in which a star player’s availability or health status could be a huge factor in how the game plays out. There’s significant gray area. Players are protected by federal privacy laws. Also, at this late stage of the season, many players are dealing with various injuries. Several players on each team could be put on the injury report with some malady, which could mask more significant injuries.
1 year ago via ESPN
Advocates say sports betting shouldn’t be limited to “in-person” wagers; otherwise the state will lose out to illegal gambling internet sites and other states, such as New Jersey, which rapidly have moved to expand sports gambling since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a ban in 2018. “Having a competitive mobile marketplace in New York could cause consumers to shift whatever they are doing now with illegal, offshore sites,” Dan Spillane, an NBA vice president, said at the Wednesday hearing.
The Illinois House Revenue and Finance Committee heard about various aspects of expanding gambling during an hourslong hearing Thursday, that included testimony from NBA Senior Vice President Dan Spillane. Afterward, he said the NBA supports legalizing sports betting in Illinois, but the association wants to make sure it protects the integrity of the game and protects the fans who would be placing bets.
Illinois major league teams – the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls – sent a joint letter to state Rep. Michael Zalewski. They said if wagering is legalized in Illinois it should be allowed via a mobile platform online. “Mobile betting allows fans inclined to wager to do so easily and from the comfort of their seat, whether in the venue or when watching a game on television,” the joint letter said. “Moreover, because fans can already place bets with offshore operators via mobile apps, authorizing mobile betting in sports betting legislation is essential to the broader effort to bring bettors from the unregulated to the regulated market.”