Legends of the Fall
Invincible Niners? So far. Invincible Braves? Exposed. Invincible Dodgers? Snake-bit. Rangers? You were supposed to have choked your season away! And ... Trick-or-betting in Florida?
October is the equinox of pro sports.
Some sports are sorting out championships. Some are sorting out who could eventually be champions.
So far, this one has given us some surprises.
Enter the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks.
After fading down the stretch and handing the American League West to Houston, the sixth-seeded Rangers swept the Rays in a best-of-three at Tropicana Field before brooming top-seeded Baltimore in three.
None of the games felt particularly close against the teams with the two best regular seasons in the AL.
A look at the favor the Rangers did for some sportsbooks:
At FanDuel, in World Series futures:
The Orioles accounted for 9% of bets and 9% of handle.
At Tipico, total percentage of handle placed on futures bets on Baltimore and Tampa Bay to win the World Series from September to October:
Tampa Bay: 9%
And at DraftKings (from Wednesday):
But what if the Rangers win the whole thing?
That’s not so bad, currently, at FanDuel, where Texas has drawn just 3% of handle and bets.
At Tipico, the Astros have the highest percentage of handle left on futures bets to win the World Series (7.4%) while Tipico has a +66% margin on World Series futures if the Rangers win.
The day after winning its fifth consecutive postseason game, Texas was fourth choice to win the World Series at most sportsbooks, in the ballpark of +325.
That’s certainly not the value proposition the Rangers offered a few weeks ago when they were falling out of the saddle. At that point, the Rangers were gettable as high as +855 to win the American League.
How do I know that?
Because this guy got ‘em at +855.
The sixth-seeded Diamondbacks have been impressive, too, as a wagering afterthought, first eliminating the No. 3 Brewers and then sweeping the second-slotted Dodgers.
In the NFL - you're familiar with it, I’m sure - San Francisco is building a resume as the best team by a mile right now. Quarterback Brock Purdy just keeps delivering, be it on parlays or fantasy scores. His personal demolition of the Cowboys’ highly-ranked defense in a 42-10 49ers win - their 15th consecutively in the regular season - will only stoke the hype.
He really said that? He really said that.
ESPN host Matt Barrie bemoans an apparent bet in lambasting Ohio State coach
I Googled Matt Barrie so you don’t have to, but he appears to be another one of those competent ESPN anchors who toils to find a niche or differentiate on the sprawling network and then is let go in one of its cruel semi-regular cost-cutting measures.
On the eponymous Barrie show on Sunday, a breezy morning reflection on the previous night’s college drama, where he salutes various fanbases with what looks like a Bloody Mary, the host had this to say about Ohio State’s result and head coach:
“Ryan Day ought to be ashamed of himself. They were up 17 late, kicked a meaningless field goal to go up 20. That spread was 19 1/2. For those of us that were on Maryland plus the points, that was a real backbreaker.”
Wow. It didn’t look or sound like an attack - just making some content! - but it reads poorly on a transcript. And even though talking heads increasingly mention point spreads and money lines on air, this stood out as a journalist lamenting money lost and using a platform to jab a coach for it.
It stood out more considering the ESPN Bet app is likely to launch in November as a rebranded Barstool Sports in partnership with PENN Entertainment. The World Wide Leader has vowed to keep the talent out of the gambling chatter for fear of compromised integrity.
If this was a slip or a whiffed attempt at edginess, OK, let’s not let this happen again. Scott Van Pelt does it way better. If it’s a loosening of the guidelines for what talent can moan about regarding bad bets, that’s going to be Jets-fan-Mike-Greenberg-level obnoxious.
Step right up
Picks, promos, points to ponder
From co-worker Travis Pulver at our new media partner, Sporting News: Who To Grab in NFL OPOY with Justin Jefferson Out
Florida sports betting update!
You might be making legal sports bets by Halloween ….. whether that’s this Halloween or the one in 2024 is now heavily dependent on the Supreme Court.
Yes, that one.
Translated from legalese, West Flagler Associates last week asked the United States Supreme Court to order the Seminole Tribe of Florida not to re-launch mobile sports betting because West Flagler plans to submit a petition to the high court seeking to shut it all down permanently.
On Thursday, that order was granted by Chief Justice John Roberts … temporarily.
The Department of the Interior (on the Seminoles’ side) must file a rebuttal with SCOTUS by Oct. 18.
Then the Court decides on making the stay permanent.
If it does, it seems likely SCOTUS will take up the case.
This drags out, maybe for another year.
Hard Rock has been waiting quietly for the gavels to bang so far. Would it go live if the permanent stay is denied by the Supreme Court, even with state legislation underway, too?
From the vault:
NFL slot machines
Has anyone played NFL Super Bowl Jackpots yet? It looks like Resorts World in Las Vegas might be the only place that has it so far. If so, was it cool?
Friends of The Playbook over at Hot Paper Lantern recently surveyed reporters about the prospects for the future success of two sportsbooks; one with a big database of emails, the other with a big reach into living rooms: Fanatics and ESPN Bet.
HPL found: 57% of reporters feel Fanatics’ e-commerce loyalty ecosystem is the stronger user tool compared to ESPN's user base (43% of reporters).
This begs a question to those who matter (you):
Attention Valley of the Sun: The DraftKings Sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale opens at 10 a.m. on Oct. 20. The ribbon-cutting is the day before, but if you were invited to that, you’d have known already.
The PGA TOUR describes the new shop thusly: “The 13,000-square-foot flagship sportsbook is a first-of-its-kind partnership between DraftKings and the PGA TOUR. The venue includes 40 betting kiosks, seven ticket windows, and 3,400 square feet of video walls showing non-stop sports coverage. The dining area provides an elevated experience serving American fare and features a large central bar that opens to a spacious patio outfitted with cabanas and firepits.”
Or you could bet from your couch on your phone
PlayUSA reported that the Pala Band of Mission Indians intends to launch an initiative in 2024 that would bring mobile sports betting to California. Leaders from other tribes sound skeptical, though. Here’s some background on a very complicated situation in California.