Tag: Virtual

NFL Draft Betting Is White Hot As It Goes Virtual, Gems Could Still Abound

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The NFL Draft was supposed to have been held on a virtual island constructed within the fountain pool of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Instead, it will be held in an archipelago of virtual spaces around the United States, another bi-product of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting daily lives and daily distractions. Even America’s favorite sport and betting pastime.

This will be weird, as commissioner Roger Goodell curates the online proceedings from his basement in Bronxville, free (at least in person) of the jeers. After all, those congratulatory handshakes would require so much soap afterwards.

But in many ways, this draft will represent a return to normalcy, or, at least, new-normalcy with the prospect of actual games — for the NFL or any league — still a speculative exercise.

And that’s in part why the draft, which commences on Thursday, April 23, has mushroomed as a betting market in the absence of most any other live action, other than obscure European soccer or table tennis or esports.

The draft schedule is as follows: Round 1, April 23, 8 p.m. ET.; Rounds 2-3, April 24, 7 p.m. ET.; Rounds 4-7, April 25, 12 p.m. ET. It will air live on ESPN, ABC, NFL Network.

Excitement around NFL Draft betting

Typical draft intrigue combined with loads of free time for sharps and dabblers to apply to analysis could lead to some lucrative opportunities for bettors.

“No matter how many mock drafts you read, no matter how much you’re around what the general consensus is, there are always surprises. There’s always picks we didn’t see coming or a team that valued a player much higher than everyone else,” PointsBet Sports Content Manager Andrew Mannino told PlayUSA. “So, I think that in this time where people have more, sort of, space and mental time to devote to thinking this out, there are definitely some gems out there.

“And I think that when we see those usual surprises that we see in the early picks of round one, I think that there’ll definitely be some people who find some gems.”

Mining for them has been brisk on both coasts.

PointsBet has taken more than double the amount of NFL Draft bets as this time last season.

For sports-starved bettors, an NFL Draft like never before

That the now-virtual event represents one of the first tangential connections to a beloved American sport since the COVID-19 lockdown broadens the importance of those extra offerings, he said.

FanDuel and DraftKings representatives told ESPN that betting volume was markedly higher than last year, also, and Fox Bet traders told PlayUSA that they expect volume for the upcoming draft to be “four to five times” a normal year.

William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich said his company had planned on posting “five or six times” more draft proposition bets than usual – they’ve only been allowed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board since 2017 – because of expected interest in a Las Vegas-based ceremony.

“Betting is definitely way up,” he told PlayUSA. “I don’t know what the exact number is. Is it up three times, four times, eight times? But it’s going to be quite substantial.

“We were going to originally [post more bets] just because the draft was in Las Vegas and it was going to be 800,000 crazies here for three days and it was going to be off the hook. So, I knew that we had to get a bigger and better menu up for this year on that alone. But when all that fell through, just the sheer demand for it was there still there.”

PointsBet has launched 210 markets compared to 120 last season. That’s both to accommodate customer demand for something familiar, and because traders don’t have the other major sports to cover, Mannino said.

“As we get more experienced, as legalized sports betting in New Jersey continues to evolve, we’ve got more experience to look back on. There definitely would’ve been an uptick in our offerings, but we would’ve had a lot more on our plate in the meantime and we would have been spending a lot of time on college basketball, the NBA and NHL,” he said. “So, we certainly wouldn’t have as much attention to devote to it. I think the bettors have more time too.”

Tua Tagovailoa speculation a popular betting market

Not even poor broadband can prevent the Cincinnati Bengals from selecting former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow first-overall.

Maybe.

The national-title-winning, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback has been heavily critiqued, as expected, in the weeks preceding the proceedings, but also elicited praise from the likes of Hall of Famer Brett Favre. Bogdanovich considers Burrow such a lock at number one that his company isn’t offering any prop bets on the first-overall pick.

“It’s not really a viable booking proposition. It might be worth some publicity or something,” he said. “They’ve already declared it, that they’re going to take him, so no one’s going to lay it.”

Burrow is a staggering -100000 to be the first player taken at FanDuel, but a relative bargain at -10000 at PointsBet and DraftKings, which even has a market on where his supposed predecessor, Andy Dalton, will play next season.

Multiple outlets have markets on whether the last player selected, the so-called ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ will be an offensive or defensive player. Draftkings posted a potentially lucrative trifecta of sorts in asking the exact order of the first three running backs selected.

Multiple sportsbooks are offering matchplay bets asking which player will be taken first. Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa opened at -150 at William Hill to be drafted ahead of Washington counterpart Justin Herbert (+130) and has lost public favor despite recent public discourse regarding his history injury.

Meanwhile at DraftKings, in a prop pitting two of Tagovailoa’s former targets, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is heavily favored (-225) to be taken before teammate Henry Ruggs III (+225).

FanDuel has a market on first “Hog Molly” taken, with another Crimson Tide product, offensive lineman Jedrick Willis Jr., the clear favorite.

Ohio State defensive end ChaseYoung is the runaway favorite for first defensive player taken, standing at -3000 to go second at FanDuel and -10000 at PointsBet

Virtual draft has changed virtually everything

While Bogdanovich considers Burrow a lock at the top spot and Young a near-cinch to Washington at No. 2, the rest of the draft, he said, has become a fascinating case study in decision-making in a vacuum.

That includes team player personnel and bettors.

“Everything’s changed for all the people preparing for the draft. All you’re hearing is a lot of rumor and innuendo on social media and Twitter and people running with it,” he observed. “It’s really the most wide-open crapshoot of all time.

“The draft starts at [pick] three. At three you never know. For the longest time, everyone talked about Tua, somebody trading up and taking him in the three hole and now there’s talk of him dropping out of the top ten. So that goes to the wildness of this whole situation. I mean, it’s great theater.”

Bogdanovich likened the situation to two years ago when the first experiment of allowing betting on the Academy Awards in New Jersey was briefly halted after social media buzz suggested the winner of the Best Director category had leaked, swinging betting volume toward away from the favored eventual winner.

“Maybe some team started the rumors so they could get [Tagovailoa] at an earlier spot. You really don’t know,” Bogdanovich said. “I mean, obviously, we’ll tune in on Thursday and we’ll all find out.

“But like I said, it’s all speculation and if you’ve done any research at all in this mock draft, it’s so all over the place. It’s not even funny. I mean some people got [Utah State quarterback] Jordan Love going six and some going 28. It’s interesting and it’s good. Everyone’s getting a little taste of the NFL right now.”

Rumor-prompted market volatility has kept PointsBet traders busy, Mannino said, with Tagovailoa at the center in the New Jersey market, also.

“We’ve seen case after case where a rumor starts and then it’s reflected in the mock draft. And then there’s smoke and then bettors are coming for it,” he said. “It’s keeping us on our toes for sure and the odds are fluctuating all the time.

“At the end of March we had Tua as -650 to be the second quarterback drafted and Herbert at +500. Today they’re both at -115 and it’s a coin toss. We’ve seen rumors come out or you see a new mock draft and people chasing it, getting in on it. And as those rumors circulate, it certainly can be having an impact in the betting community.”

Vegas misses another party in a lost spring

A vacant Strip has been strange enough to process for Bogdanovich, a Las Vegas native. The lost opportunity for the city to host its own house-warming party for the NFL has left him equally disappointed. He’ll still be in his office, as usual, for the draft, but he would have ducked out if the bash had gone on as planned.

“It was going to be crazy,” he said. “People just absolutely love the NFL Draft and there’s not a better place in the world to hold an NFL Draft than in Las Vegas. So it would have been worth going down to see the scene.

“We have to shut betting off at a certain time anyway, so I probably would have driven down to The Strip and from a distance watched the wildness.”

It’s still going to be wild. And a little weird. But there are gems to be found.



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NASCAR Could Turn Virtual Monopoly In Betting Gains

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As managing director of gaming for NASCAR, Scott Warfield is charged with devising ways to draft the stock car racing series out of the “other” category and into greater relevance as a sports betting market.

Warfield never expected it to happen this way: a global pandemic shutting down actual sports — and racing emerging as the best-equipped to fill the void with virtual contests featuring actual competitors.

After one week of eNASCAR being offered as a bettable market in Nevada and West Virginia, the returns have been modest, but not in line with the television audience the series has commanded. The benefit from this moment, Warfield hopes, could come when sports begin again post-COVID-19.

“Life’s funny, right? You go from having to scratch and claw your way on a lot of this stuff, the underdog a little bit,” Warfield pondered, “not as well-established handle and in my opinion, not a ton of creativity and innovation around the sport from a sports betting point of view, where it’s just basically been race winner and champion.

“And my argument all along has been it’s a chicken and egg and if there’s more creativity and more bet types and more innovation on that front, that the sport lends itself nicely. But between the state by state rollout and the opening of having to open new books and new states and all the other leagues, finding your spot is a challenge in this early inning of what I believe is going to be a long, a long game.

““Is it going to drive crazy handle? Probably not. But I think it’s helped with our relationship-build if nothing else.”

Momentum for eNASCAR

While the handle for the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series race from Bristol Motor Speedway last week was sparse at William Hill in Nevada, director of trading Nick Bogdanovich called the performance for the first weekend “very successful.”

“We took around 500 bets on eNASCAR this weekend and we’re really happy with that number since some were from bettors who traditionally bet NASCAR,” he told PlayUSA. “Handle, of course, doesn’t compare to traditional NASCAR.”

Adding to the sense of legal-market momentum, on Wednesday, Sugarhouse announced that it planned to offer eNASCAR betting in New Jersey, signaling a change of regulation in that state. New Jersey had just once allowed wagering on eSports before.

In-race markets key to NASCAR plan

The game, Warfield said, should change in this moment, saying he “100 percent” believes this virtual realm represents a laboratory moment for operators to develop interesting betting markets when actual racing returns, perhaps as early as the end of May, according to a report in The Athletic.

Warfield particularly wants to see the expansion of in-race and driver-vs-driver markets. The Nevada Gaming Control Board does not currently allow in-race markets, but in-play has become the understood future of America’s nascent sports betting market.

“This is the product there hasn’t been enough of outside of the [Daytona] 500,” he said. Kyle Busch vs. Kevin Harvick … This is an engaged fanbase, but they’re smart and they want a product that is interesting. So yes, it can be a testing ground that would help us a year from now around the Cup series. That’s the win for me.”

Warfield said the series updated its rulebook last week to exclude competitors and series employees from wagering on eNASCAR as well as real competitions.

Penn National Gaming, NASCAR re-boot fantasy game

Last week, NASCAR also relaunched a series of new fantasy and prop betting markets for the eNASCAR iRacing.com Pro Invitational Series through Penn Interactive. The Penn National Gaming subsidiary had already launched a free-play mobile game called NASCAR Finish Line after announcing a multi-year partnership with the stock car series in February.

The eNASCAR Fine Line app will serve as the entitlement brand for the May 3 race from virtual Dover International Speedway. Personalities from Barstool Sports, which sold a 36-percent stake to PNG earlier this year, are expected to be integrated into the presentation but details have not been revealed.

Finish Line players can win a $5,000 jackpot “by accurately predicting the top two finishers and the highest finishers across six different groupings of four drivers,” according to a release.

“I think the thought on putting the NASCAR Finish Line as the race entitlement for the Dover race, given [Penn National Gaming’s] recent purchase into Barstool and our marketing partnership with Barstool is how could we lean into the Barstool relationship a little bit when just like everyone else, [founder] Dave [Portnoy] and the boys are thirsting for some sports betting, whether it’s free-to-play or daily fantasy,” Warfield said. “So, we took the concept to our friends at Penn, as they were in the process of rebuilding the app and got Dover involved in a lot of those details.

SugarHouse debuts enascar betting on April 19

New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement spokesperson Kerry Langan confirmed that the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series had been added to the list of legal betting markets in that state as of Monday. The 2019 League of Legends World Championship Finals was the only other permissible eSports event as of Wednesday.

“We are happy to be able to offer such an exciting and competitive entertainment event,” Rush Street Interactive chief operating officer Mattias Stetz said in a release. “It’s also fun to see how these talented drivers will compare in the virtual world of competitive racing.”

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Is Mobile Gambling the Future of Virtual Entertainment?

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The desire of mankind to bet on events or gamble in casinos dates back to the ancient past. First money was wagered at local bookmakers or brick and mortar casinos then with the invention of the Internet online casinos and internet sports betting outfits became increasingly popular.

In the recent years a new trend has emerged. Mobile gambling. It is no longer necessary to visit a shop or remain in front of the computer to place bets or play online casino games. Since almost everyone owns at least one cell phone these activities can be performed literally everywhere.

What are some advantages of mobile gambling?

It can be consumed in every place, all over the world, wherever your cell phone leads you, mobile online casino games or sports betting will be present. Given that reliable wireless internet access is locally available of course.

In the case of a live horse racing event or a football game live bets can be placed while staying at the scene watching the action. Mobile games may be played on buses, trains or at the airport while waiting for departure making one’s daily life a lot less boring.

One important point to mention is that hackers have not targeted mobile devices as vigilantly as their computer counterparts yet so that data entry of customers of mobile casinos and sports betting providers is still relatively safe. But that may change once the mobile internet becomes mainstream.

Which disadvantages of mobile entertainment should be mentioned?

Wireless internet access for cell phones, and notebooks, is still relatively expensive in certain countries. So playing on mobile phones could become quite costly. Although a new generation of cell phones, Smartphones like the iPhone, have emerged the actual action zone for mobile sports betting or casino games is somewhat restricted in comparison to a wide computer screen.

As a result mobile casinos and betting providers offer less features and games on their mobile websites. And permanently holding a phone while playing may be less comfortable than sitting in front of the personal computer at home.

Data transmission rates and speed for mobile devices are often lower compared to landline connection points because of the undetermined environment which is affected by all kinds of disturbing signals, in general called ‘noise’, that negatively influence the mobile game action.

At the moment, it is safe to assume that both forms of virtual gambling have their place, in coexistence, and one will probably not replace the other any time soon. While some casino players prefer quick mobile action whenever and wherever they want, others still use their desktop computers to play in the comfort of their own home without any outside distractions.

Some closing notes about mobile gambling

Research has shown that relatively few mobile phone users purchase goods and services via their cell phone so far, which means that providers of mobile casino games will have to determine whether it is economically reasonable to continue this service, and how long, once enough consumer data is available.

In general, online casinos and internet sportsbooks also feature mobile casinos and wireless betting facilities. And these online divisions continue to thrive exceptionally revenue-wise.

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