The Super Bowl betting frenzy and cerebral gambling glee have faded away.
It was a great party that, in the years past, signaled a wagering off-season.
But NJ sportsbook apps changed that. There’s plenty of action for bettors, who will find this a great time to dive into the winter-sports landscape.
College basketball: Picking up betting slack
Major New Jersey sportsbooks welcome the football crowd into the world of college basketball betting.
As if to entice bettors, college hoops comes off its finest weekend of the year.
There were 151 men’s college basketball games played Saturday, the most of the season. Twenty-two of the top 25 teams in the AP were in action. Nine of them lost and eight came against unranked teams.
For NJ sports betting fans, it’s like the season just started.
The past weekend was a preview of the unpredictable early rounds of March Madness and the college basketball phenomenon in microcosm.
The top five positions played solid while winning:
- San Diego State
- Florida State
Louisville and Dayton followed suit in the sixth and seventh positions.
And then came the surprises.
Villanova, ranked eighth, lost to Creighton 76-61, and Seton Hall, at No. 10, was surprised by Xavier 74-62.
Four teams between the 11-20 spot were beaten. They included:
- Michigan State
This is a good betting angle. Teams ranked in this area are more susceptible to being upset in college basketball compared to college football because they play more often, especially on the road.
Most nationally ranked teams have at least two losses and many have four or five. That shows a parity, especially in the 11-25 ranking spots, that can be a fertile area for underdogs on the spread, moneyline and parlay platforms.
Only San Diego State at 22-0, is unbeaten among national powerhouses.
Set your calendar; Gonzaga faces Loyola Marymount on Thursday and San Diego State faces Air Force on Saturday. Dayton plays Saint Louis on Saturday and West Virginia, bound to move up from NO. 12 by virtue of Villanova and Seton Hall losses, faces Iowa State on Wednesday.
NBA: Reading between the lines
As the league heads into the final third of its season, NBA bettors find opportunities between the numbers.
Thinking of leveraging some big bucks on moneyline parlays against certain teams?
The Atlanta Hawks are 5-21 straight up on the road this season. The Washington Wizards entered the week 6-20. String enough moneyline parlays together and the unfavorable odds even out and all you need is to avoid an upset in order to cash.
Some elite teams remain formidable against the spread. The Oklahoma City Thunder are 34-16 against the number, while the Boston Celtics are 29-17 against the spread and the Milwaukee Bucks are 26-22.
The creative challenge for the bettor is deciding whether a change in those outcomes are due. What if Oklahoma City failed to cover three straight times and you are riding that? The payout could be nice.
And there are teams that, based on the spread, provide a run for the money.
The New York Knicks are not good, again, this year, but had one of the league’s better marks at 26-24 against the spread through 50 games. The team always plays hard and is a threat to steal a moneyline win at home.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been as tricky for bettors to corral as a big stubborn catch for fishermen. For being a very good team, 31-19 over 50 games and 22-2 at home, both straight up, they also play badly on the road.
The Sixers were 9-17 against the spread and moneyline after the first weekend in February. That’s more dropoff than one would expect from one of the league’s good teams.
They are also tough to gauge on the over-under line. This is a collection of big men hoisting many three-point attempts. When they get hot, they help deliver the over. But they can also go flat, creating some games that end in the vicinity of 230 points and others that fall under 200.
The Detroit Pistons give up many points and have been a good over bet, at 32-19. Again, watch the numbers to make sure they don’t creep up too much when considering them on the over.
Major League Baseball: DraftKings sets the stage
The winter freeze won’t last long for major league baseball gamblers. The first spring training games are on Feb. 21 and the season opens in earnest on March 26.
February is a time to ponder and plunge, making some futures bets at good prices. Odds will diminish throughout the season.
DraftKings Sportsbook lists the New York Yankees, fortified by the acquisition of Gerrit Cole, as +350- to win it all and +165 to take the American League.
The always-primed Los Angeles Dodgers are a 5-1 World Series pick and +220 to be the National League’s top team. Houston drops to +240 in the American League and 6-1 as World Series champs after losing Cole, Dallas Keuchel and public opinion on the sign-stealing controversy.
The defending champion Washington Nationals are +650 to win the National League, 14-1 to take it all. The Atlanta Braves are 5-1 to secure the National League and 11-1 for the World Series.
Regular-season projected wins are always an interesting play.
DraftKings lists the Chicago White Sox with a huge jump over last year. The Sox are projected to win 83.5 games on the over-under after finishing last year with 72. Chicago finished within 1.5 games of its projected number last year and was denied one game because of a rainout that was not made up.
In many cases, 160 games of the 162 are needed to make a bet active.
If a team actually does succeed in making a major step from one year to the next, the first month of the season is usually a strong one.
Chicago picked up:
- Yasmani Grandal
- Juan Encarnacion
- Gio Gonzalez
- Nomar Mazara
Some look capable of providing immediate help. Some may be past their prime. In any case, perhaps a dozen wins more than last year is already baked into this forecast.
And that’s not all of the betting menu in February. There’s UFC 247 next weekend, showcasing pound-for-pound king Jon Jones. And there’s the Deontay Wilder-Tyson fury rematch Feb. 22.
Welcome to what’s no longer an off-season.