By Lou Monaco | | 5 mins
NJ & PA Sportsbooks Ready for Start of College Basketball
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The 2020-21 men’s college basketball season tips off Wednesday with an appetizing 122 games on the ever-changing schedule.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania sportsbooks are looking forward to another college hoops season after last season was halted because of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, the sport’s most coveted month.
In New Jersey, the state constitution prohibits sports wagering on any collegiate sport or athletic event held in New Jersey or in which a New Jersey college team participates. But recent legislation that passed a key state Senate committee would allow for such wagering. It still has a long way to go in the legislative process, but it’s off to a good start.
You can still bet on other college basketball games in New Jersey, just not ones involving local teams.
“Obviously a big slate of games tomorrow to kick off the season. It seems like the excitement level is certainly subdued compared to other years, just with the amount of uncertainty that exists right now in college sports,” said Thomas Gable, director of race and sportsbook at Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. “College football is toughing it out with plenty of cancellations each week but they seem intent to get the season in. I think college basketball will probably try the same approach and we will see plenty of COVID cancellations.
“We will be dealing with them the same way we deal with the college football cancellations. Obviously, the COVID news is something that everyone needs to stay on top of as it relates to games and spreads. But with less players on a college basketball team than on a football team, the chances of two-to-three positive cases on a team, leading to a cancellation, greatly increase. Trying to get COVID news on specific players at the smaller schools is going to be challenging for handicappers out there.”
Daily COVID Changes
Rush Street Interactive’s BetRivers and SugarHouse, both with New Jersey and Pennsylvania presences, are expecting daily scheduling changes because of COVID-19 nd is offering some clarification to games that are affected.
“RSI has worked actively throughout the COVID pandemic to communicate grading decisions as quickly and transparently as possible as they relate to game postponements/cancellations,” said Mattias Stetz, chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive. “In the majority of cases, college basketball included, if a game is not rescheduled in a certain period of time (dependent on the regulation) wagers are canceled and returned in full to bettors as dictated by our house rules.”
”For example, if an NCAAB game is postponed and re-scheduled for later in the season, the originally offered betting markets on that game would be removed from the board and its open wagers refunded. Once re-scheduled details are known, new betting markets would go on the board and players would have the opportunity to re-place their wagers.”
Both sites are offering a daily lineup of “House Specials” and robust Odds/Profit Boosts for bettors in both states starting with Wednesday’s action.
College Basketball Futures
FanDuel has posted futures markets on conference outright winners, outright winner for the National Championship and Team to Make the Final Four.
They will also off parlay insurance on a 5+ leg parlay on college hoops (one leg per game) and if one leg loses, you can get your money back up to $25.
Baylor, Gonzaga and Villanova are listed as favorites at +950 each to take home the title on FanDuel’s national champion outright market with Iowa (+1000), Virginia (+1100), Kentucky (+1200), Illinois (+1500), Duke (+1600) and Kansas (+1800) rounding out the top nine.
The top college hoops games this week in New Jersey and Pennsylvania by total bets on both sites include: 1-Gonzaga vs. Auburn, 2-Gonzaga vs. Kansas, 3-Old Dominion vs. Maryland, 4-Houston vs. Texas Tech, 5-Boston College vs. Villanova and 6-Drexel vs. Penn State (which was canceled Tuesday because of a positive COVID-19 test).
Tipico Live in NJ
Germany-based Tipico, which launched in New Jersey on Oct. 19, is looking forward to its first college basketball season in the Garden State.
“The upcoming NCAA men’s season will be different for bettors, but in a very good way. Locally, we expect volume to be high with Villanova ranked No. 3 to open the season,” said Brandon Friedman, U.S. regional sportsbook manager for Tipico. “Nationally with several elite high school players choosing the NBA G-League, combined with upper classmen who missed March Madness last year that decided to return to college, the stage is set for a return to the days of experienced college players running the show.”
“Overall, we predict high quality basketball and very exciting 2021 March Madness tournaments on both the men’s and women’s side.”
Bet365 Betting Options
Bet365 will offer all kinds of betting options for its New Jersey and Pennsylvania customers and will also offer women’s college basketball, starting Wednesday, with pre-game and in-play markets throughout the season.
“NCAA basketball is one of our most popular leagues for action and gets more popular as years go by,” said Aron Wattleworth, trader for bet365. “Sadly, we all lost out on the March Madness tournament earlier this year, which is one of the most exciting and popular championships in the sporting world, but we will be there with every game, in play, when it comes around again, starting Wednesday.
“I’ve been watching NCAA basketball since 1979, the Bird/Magic Final, and I can’t remember a time, bar earlier this year, that we had such a surreal situation going into a season. We have seen so far in numerous sports and leagues around the world the impact that COVID-19 is having. There’s so much more to deal with.”