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Houston, We Have No Problem At All
Stroud a QB1 MVP riser, Allen a prop bet QB-once-upon-a-timer; ESPN BET launches; NC needs a sportsbook ambassador; Vegas F1
Photos: Associated Press; Brant James illustration
Remember when C.J. Stroud was basically libeled before the NFL Draft as being intellectually incapable of playing quarterback in the league?
Nah, me neither.
Remember when Josh Allen was a swashbuckling agent of chaos impervious to pressure, the scarcity of game clock, or the difficulty of the situation?
The NFL is a cruel, in-the-moment business where fortunes change quickly against hardened preconceived notions, like the Texans had a long slog toward potential respectability with Stroud, while Allen would lead the Bills to another deep playoff run.
One was a solid MVP pick. The other got a few sniffs for Offensive Rookie of the Year in futures betting.
The moment has changed for the QBs and their teams.
Entering Week 11, the Texans are 5-4 overall and 5-4 against the spread after just knocking off another underachieving team and celebrated QB (the Bengals and Joe Burrow). According to the New York Times prediction tool, they have a 51% chance to make the playoffs.
The Bills are 5-5 overall, but 3-7 against the spread, and have a 19% chance to even reach the postseason.
Three of those Bills covers came in the first month of the season. Every Houston win, meanwhile, has come as underdogs, including +295 against Jacksonville and +212 against the Bengals.
The Texans’ five-point spread on Arizona at home this week feels right.
But it’ll be interesting to see what bettors do with an opening seven-point Bills line against a good Jets defense that stifled Buffalo in a Week 1 win, a new offensive coordinator, and Allen having committed a turnover in six straight games (and leading the league with 14).
As for MVP props, the odds have spoken on Allen.
It’s a much different story with Stroud.
NFL MVP Insights
Josh Allen was +1400 last week, +2500 this week
C.J. Stroud was +10000 last week, +2000 this week
NFL MVP Betting since Sunday
Josh Allen: 1% of tickets, .1% of handle
C.J. Stroud: 64.6% of tickets; 69.1% of handle
Stroud was +7500 to win MVP prior to Week 10.
He was +25000 in Week 6.
On Sunday, Fanatics oddsmakers cut him from 50/1 to 30/1 due to his performance against the Bengals. Said Fanatics: “We saw two medium-sized bets to make this move.”
Allen was the MVP co-favorite on Oct. 1 at +550.
He was 14/1 going into Week 10, and after MNF moved to 30/1.
Stroud is the runaway favorite for Offensive Rookie of The Year (-2000)
He’s sixth-best odds to win MVP (+2000.)
Top 10 Play or Not After Tuesday Launch?
ESPN BET launched in 17 states on Tuesday, and it’s pretty hard to tell how it went from the dearth of information out of PENN Entertainment, which runs the platform. The company didn’t release any data on registrations or volume. And the public reaction, gleaned from the viper pit that is Reddit, was expectedly mixed depending on individual experience.
Anyone in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia give ESPN BET a try?
NC folks: What local sports star would most influence your future sportsbook choice?
Gaming Today presents the perfect triad of North Carolina sportsbook ambassador candidates.
F1 in Las Vegas
Everybody I know there at best hates it, at worst wants to make people pay for bringing it there. Hard.
Apparently, for locals, the honor of hosting wasn’t enough to offset the ridiculous start time, the prospect of watching Max Verstappen parade around the “flying pig” course having already clinched the title, the inconvenience, and astronomical ticket prices (which have subsequently tanked).
Verstappen doesn’t even like the thing, calling it “99% show.”
There is none, and that’s unusual. Hard Rock Bet is humming along, taking bets.
Weirdly, the minimum Hard Rock wager in Florida is $1, even though it’s as low as a dime on the app in other states. The company would not explain the disparity.
West Flagler Associates, the parimutuel outlet that had originally shut down the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s compact - and therefore mobile sports betting - with federal litigation until a reversal in June, has some homework coming due.
WFA promised to make its formal appeal to the US Supreme Court by Nov. 20.
A court-ordered shutdown of Florida sports betting again by the courts would be absolutely damaging to public perception of Hard Rock. Why risk it?
Many observers on the peninsula believe that Cigarette Racing 41 Nighthawk Black Series with 2250 horsepower from supercharged Mercury Racing V-8s has sailed.
… and enders
The re-launch of sports betting in Florida means that four of the 11 United States host cities for the 2026 World Cup have mobile sports betting. Those are: Foxboro, Mass., Miami, East Rutherford, N.J., and Philadelphia.
Seattle currently has only retail sports betting at tribal casinos.
Of the holdouts:
Atlanta: Georgia remains one of the more likely large states to legalize in the next few years.
Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston: Texas’s legislature only meets on odd years, so finally breaking through in time seems unlikely.
Los Angeles, San Francisco: California dreamin’.
By Brant James, Gaming Today Senior Writer (I’m in the trunk ☝🏼)