Boston Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy is optimistic that legalised sports betting in the USA is not only going to lead to monetary benefits for the league, but also greater fan engagement.
Major League Baseball became the latest major US professional sport to team up with MGM Resorts International on Tuesday, inking a deal to make the gambling giant its ‘official gaming partner’.
MAJOR League Baseball is angling for its own slice of the USA’s growing gambling pie, recently requesting 0.25% of casino profits bet on the sport.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies played a 16-inning gem on Tuesday night that highlighted one downside of casino-based sports betting.
When it comes to Major League Baseball right now, you have to like teams in the antepost divisional markets that are in first place and yet still considered underdogs. We show you where to find betting value.
Another day, another US sports betting bill, but West Virginia’s proposed legislation has riled up the major sporting leagues.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Major League Baseball (MLB) have slammed WV’s bills, which would legalise betting on sports in the state’s five casinos should the Supreme Court repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) 1992.
Although there are two floating around parliament, with one in the House of Delegates and the other in the Senate, the NBA and MLB argue the lack of an integrity fee doesn’t do enough to protect sports.
The idea for an integrity fee first came about when the state of Indiana included it in its bill, addressing the likelihood sports betting legalisation. Local media revealed that the NBA and MLB pressured the state to add a one percent tax on all bets, which would flow into sporting leagues.
NBA General Council, Dan Spillane, confirmed the reports in a written testimony addressed at the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, held in New York to discuss the potential of legalising sports betting in the state. Spillane revealed that the NBA was not opposed to sanctioning sportsbooks on a state-by-state basis, on the condition specific provisions are included, like the integrity fee.
Both the NBA and the MLB have taken issue with the lack of integrity fee included in the two WV bills, arguing the legislation falls short of their goal to protect their respective leagues.
“Any sports betting legislation must include clear, robust, enforceable protections to mitigate any possible risks to our game,” the MLB said in a statement.
“We appreciate the legislature’s work on the subject of legalized sports betting; however, we do not believe the bill currently under consideration will achieve the critical goals of protecting consumers and the integrity of our league,” the NBA added in a statement of its own.
The two leagues are calling upon the state’s legislature to review the bills and make necessary amendments to meet their contractual expectations. They added that they would be happy to work with lawmakers and the appropriate regulatory bodies, including the West Virginia Lottery, to “improve the current language”.
In other words, add in the integrity fee.
The American Gaming Association (AGA), a pioneer in lobbying the general public to get on board with sports betting due to the hundreds of billions of dollars wagered illegally, disapproves of the fee.
AGA President and CEO, Geoff Freeman, said that it’s happy the NBA has come on board with legalising sports betting in America but eliminating the illegal market and protecting consumers “does not include transferring money from bettors to multi-billion dollar sports leagues.”
The AGA argues that it’s not viable since a Nevada sportsbook only makes 3.5 to 5 percent in revenue, and a one percent integrity fee on all money wagered by Americans would amount to 20-29 percent of total revenue.
It also believes that the taxed money would detract from the amount taxable by state governments, which “fund vital community services.”
Those in favour of legalising sports betting in WV argue it would deliver revenue to the state, suggesting those first to do so will benefit the most.
More than 20 states are reportedly preparing for the US Supreme Court to lift a federal ban on sports betting this year. The remaining states would join the likes of Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana with these states amending laws before the enactment of PASPA.
THERE’S plenty of cricket and the Australian Open is on the way, but every punter knows the big action during the Australian summer is in the USA.
We want a bite of the best of the best and richest athletes in the world as they compete for supremacy on the sporting coliseums that hold the greatest American footballers, basketballers, baseballers and ice hockey players on Earth.
As the National Football League warms up for its playoffs, the National Basketball Association heads toward its half way point.
The National Hockey League heads into its second last month of the season and the 2016 Major League Baseball schedule has been released.
The New England Patriots, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Cubs and Washington Capitals are the favourites to be crowned champions with online bookie sportsbet.com.au.
“The Patriots, Warriors, Cubs and Capitals are favourites with Sportsbet to win their respective championships, but punters prefer the Packers, Warriors, Canadiens, and San Francisco Giants,” the bookie’s Ben Bulmer said.
Here’s a closer look at all the markets.
Patriots favoured by punters to win Super Bowl 50
The New England Patriots are the $5.50 to win Super Bowl 50, with Bulmer reporting that 20 per cent of Sportsbet punters are predicting they will go back to back.
But The Seattle Seahawks have attracted similar interest at $7, with the Green Bay Packers ($13) the best backed with, 25 per cent of the total money staked.
But it’s the brutal Carolina Panthers, who lead the pack at $4.50.
In a remarkable end to the regular season on the weekend, the Panthers, who have lost only one game all season, defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to seal the number one see in the NFC.
The drama, though, played out in the AFC, with the former favourites New England somehow losing to Miami – letting go of their home field advantage.
Payton Manning then returned for the Denver Broncos, helping them to a win over the San Diego Chargers and in the process leap frogging last year’s champions to take the number one seed.
Both teams shared the same record, but the Broncos beat the Patriots earlier this year and that gave them the nod.
The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens to finish the season just behindd the Pats and Broncos.
The New York Jets dipped out on a wild card spot with a meek performance against the Buffalo Bills, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are in and will go up agains the Bengals this weekend.
Wild Card Weekend
Sunday, January 10, 2016, AEDT:
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
Monday, January 11, 2016, AEDT:
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins
Sunday, January 17, 2016, AEDT:
Highest ranked AFC winner at New England Patriots
Monday, January 18, 2016, AEDT:
Highest ranked NFC winner at Arizona Cardinals
Lowest ranked NFC winner at Carolina Panthers
Lowest ranked AFC winner at Denver Broncos
Monday, January 25, 2016, AEDT:
Monday, February 8, 2016, AEDT:
Superbowl 50 market:
$4.50 Carolina Panthers
$5 Arizona Cardinals
$5.50 New England Patriots
$7 Denver Broncos
$7 Seattle Seahawks
$13 Cincinnati Bengals
$13 Green Bay Packers
$13 Pittsburgh Steelers
$15 Kansas City Chiefs
$21 Minnesota Vikings
$41 Washington Redskins
$51 Houston Texans
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Warriors best backed for NBA title
The punters are still on the dominant Golden State Warriors’ bandwagon, despite an injury to Stephen Curry that has troubled him over the past week.
Draymond Green has stepped up in his absence, banging out a couple of big triple doubles to help them continue their league leading 31-2 record.
Bulmer says punters like the Warriors, with 30 per cent of the money predicting they can repeat last year’s win, while 25 per cent of the money is on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are second favourite, to go one better.
The Warriors won an epic series against Lebron James and a bunch of no name vets after Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving went down with injury. Should they meet again in the finals, it could be a different story, provided those two stars can remain healthy and participate.
But they will have to contend with a side that features a man some say is the best shooter of all time already in Steph Curry, who is the remarkably short odds on favourite to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award for the second straight season.
The Cavs lead the East, but the spotlight, as always, has been no where to be seen in San Antonio, with new recruits LaMarcus Aldridge and David West slotting in seamlessly to that gorgeous equal opportunity motion offence that has led them to the second best record in the NBA at 29-6, and the $5 third favourite quote with sportsbet.com.au.
Outside the top three hopes, the Oklahoma City Thunder and their devastating duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been on a big tear and might be a little bit over the odds, although there is the concern that they are a two man band, with big guys like Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter failing to increase their production.
The Los Angeles Clippers have been without big man Blake Griffin for over a week, but it has not hurt their chances, with unheralded players like JJ Redick and the much maligned Austin Rivers stepping up in his absence to make sure they keep winning.
The hot and cold Chicago Bulls are next in the market at $21 and there is no other team under $31.
The Bulls could cause some damage with the likes of Jimmy Butler dropping 40 point halves and tying His Airness Michael Jordan for the most points ever by a Bull in a half.
But they will need to get it together with internal rumblings involving Butler and coach Fred Hoiberg threatening to derail things.
2016 NBA title market:
$2.50 Golden State Warriors
$3.75 Cleveland Cavaliers
$5 San Antonio Spurs
$10 Oklahoma City Thunder
$10 LA Clippers
$21 Chicago Bulls
$31 Atlanta Hawks
$31 Indiana Pacers
$36 Miami Heat
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Dallas the Stars of the show joining Caps as favourite for NHL’s Stanley Cup
In the NHL, the Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals are the joint $6 favourites for the Stanley Cup, but punters prefer the Capitals, with plenty of money coming in for the Montreal Canadiens at $12.
The Stars have the best record in hockey and have surprised with their plucky performances in leading the west.
The Stars ability to find multiple avenues to goal has been the key. The likes of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are guns, while last year’s big signing Jason Spezza – who was roundly criticised for his lack of performances last season – has begun to fire. He should end the season around the 30 goal mark, something that could also be achieved by new man Patrick Sharp.
The Caps are leading the East and will be a formidable opponent, should they make jt to the big dance.
Last year’s champions the Chicago Blackhawks have looked far from the team they were last season, but they are still a $14 chance with sportsbet.com.au.
We really like that uber talented St Louis Blues roster. If they put it all together, they could just about be the best team in the game and represent great value at $14.
2016 Stanley Cup winner market
$6 Washington Capitals
$6 Dallas Stars
$12 New York Rangers
$12 Montreal Canadiens
$12 New York Islanders
$12 LA Kings
$14 St Louis Blues
$14 Minnesota Wild
$14 Chicago Blackhawks
$20 Boston Bruins
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Nats, Cards and Cubs battle it out for MLB World Series favouritism
It’s early days, but the punters have been unable to split the Chicago Cubs, St Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals in the betting, with each of those sides rated an $11 chance to go all the way and win the World Series.
Bulmer says most of the money is coming in for the Cubs, but the $13 chance San Francisco Giants are the best backed side.
The champion Kansas City Royals aim to go back to back and are also rated a $13 chance as they begin their quest for two straight.
They downed the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets in a trio of tough series to claim just their second world title in franchise history.
They have lost Cueto and Zobrist and outfielder Alex Gordon is yet to sign on.
Perennial title fancies the Los Angeles Dodgers having lost Greinke to Arizona and have not had much luck in the free agency stakes, but are still a $13 chance.
Watch out for those Cubs though.
They might not have quite got there, but a sustained period of success looks possible, with the likes of Jon Lester, NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and rookies Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber giving them two playoff series wins, before they were defeated by the Mets at the penultimate hurdle.
In a bid to keep it going, the front office has spent some $276.5 million – US – to bring in gun free agents like Heyward, the aforementioned Zobrist, John Lackey and Trevor Cahill. The franchise hasn’t won a World Series title since 1908. They will be hoping Back to the Future was a year early.
2016 World Series baseball market:
$11 Washington Nationals
$11 St Louis Cardinals
$11 Chicago Cubs
$13 Boston Red Sox
$13 LA Dodgers
$13 San Francisco Giants
$13 Kansas City Royals
$14 Toronto Blue Jays
$15 Houston Astros
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
THERE was a landmark moment in Australian sport this last Sunday.
Our Aussie readers might have missed it, though, as it took place a million miles from home in Pittsburgh, PA.
San Francisco 49ers fans probably didn’t notice it, either, with their team in the midst of a mighty hiding from the Steelers.
But when the 49ers’ Jarryd Hayne fielded a punt from Jordan Berry, the Pittsburgh kicker, it marked the first time in NFL history that two Australians had combined for such a play.
And with all the frenzy surrounding the ‘Hayne Plane’, we couldn’t help but ponder the ever-growing list of code converts and dual athletes in world sport.
Here’s our top five, starting with the now-familiar theme of an Aussie boy setting sail across the Pacific…
5. Pat O’Dea – Australian rules to American football
One of the very first Australians to try their hand on the gridiron in the US, Patrick O’Dea still ranks among the most successful, influential and enigmatic cross-code footballers of all time.
Born in Kilmore in country Victoria, O’Dea was widely regarded as the VFA’s most impressive exponent of the drop kick during his time with Melbourne and Essendon in the early 1890s.
But the Xavier College graduate ended his promising Australian rules career suddenly in 1895 and wound up in the United States, where his brother was the rowing instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
O’Dea’s explosive kicking abilities were soon noticed – and the rest, as they say, is history.
The affectionately nicknamed ‘Kangaroo Kicker’ was UW’s star fullback from 1896 to 1899, dazzling the college football circuit with his prodigious long-range field goals in an era before specialist punters and forward passes came into vogue.
With professional football still in its infancy, O’Dea was one of the game’s brightest stars – so much so that he was awarded All-American honours in 1899.
He went on to coach both Notre Dame and the University of Missouri, finishing with a combined 19-7-2 record, before moving to California and disappearing from public view for several decades.
But his exploits were never forgotten, and O’Dea was inducted into the US College Football Hall of Fame on April 3, 1962 – just two days before his death, at the age of 90.
4. Antonio Gates – basketball to American football
During his time at Kent State, Antonio Gates was a big-game power forward who inspired the Golden Flash to MAC glory and the ‘Elite Eight’ of the 2002 NCAA Division 1 Basketball Tournament.
These days, he’s considered one of the greatest tight ends in National Football League history.
Upon graduating from college in 2003, Gates (who stands a measly six feet, four inches) was told by NBA scouts that he wasn’t big enough to make it in pro basketball.
So the Detroit native turned his attention to football – a sport he had not played since high school – and sought trials during the NFL off-season.
The story goes that as many as 19 franchises were interested in Gates, with the San Diego Chargers first in line to get a look at him.
But we will never know exactly how many teams wanted that undrafted free agent, because the Californians snapped him up immediately.
In the 12 years since, Gates has earned selection for eight consecutive Pro Bowls (2004-2011), five All-Pro teams (including three First-Team appearances), the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
He is also the Chargers’ all-time leader for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and a member of San Diego’s 50th Anniversary Team.
Were it not for the fact Gates is currently serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s drugs policy, his record would make him an absolute certainty for induction into the Hall of Fame.
Indeed, without the PED cloud that surrounds him now, he may have featured even higher on this list.
But whichever way you look at it, it’s been a heck of a career for a guy who was told he lacked the physique for professional sports.
3. Sonny Bill Williams – rugby league to rugby union (and vice versa)
While the likes of Dally Messenger and Brian Carney are well worth a shout, it’s impossible to write an article about code-jumpers without mentioning one of the art’s most prolific practitioners.
In most cases, there are two scenarios when a star player switches rugby codes: either it sticks, and they play out their days in their new format; or it doesn’t, and they return to their original discipline for good.
Sonny Bill Williams does not fall into either category.
Since quitting the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2008 to join French union side Toulon, the New Zealander has made the switch on two further occasions – and with no little success.
Having returned to rugby league in 2013 with the Sydney Roosters, SBW lasted two seasons before moving back to union with the Chiefs in 2014.
And the switchback paid off in spades, with Williams earning a spot on the All Blacks’ 30-man roster for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
What’s special about Sonny Bill’s flip-flopping is not its mere frequency, but how well he has adapted to the differences between the two codes on each occasion.
But perhaps that’s because he’s never changed too much about his own game, as many pundits credit Williams and his direct attacking style as major influences in the evolution of rugby union in recent years.
Good luck to Williams at the England World Cup!
2. Jim Stynes – Gaelic football to AFL
The story of the late, great Jim Stynes makes for one of the most beloved underdog tales in Australian sport.
The gangly Dubliner was among the first waves of the ‘Irish experiment’ – a radical international recruitment program developed by the Melbourne Football Club during the 1980s.
Stynes had been a promising Gaelic footballer, winning the 1984 All-Ireland Minor Championship with County Dublin before shipping off to Australia at the tender age of 18.
But the huge risk paid great dividends for all concerned.
Making his VFL debut as an awkward-looking ruckman in 1987, Stynes would go on to make 264 senior appearances and become one of the Demons’ all-time greatest players.
The Irishman’s groundbreaking role as an athletic, endurance-running tall was hugely influential, leading to rucks becoming more rounded on-ball players rather than simply tap-out specialists.
His success also paved the way for a number of high-profile Irish imports in the Australian Football League, including Sydney Swans premiership player Tadhg Kennelly and Brisbane Lions star Pearce Hanley.
Stynes’ career highlight came in 1991, when he became the first (and so far only) overseas-born player to win the coveted Brownlow medal – the highest individual honour in AFL football.
He also claimed the Leigh Matthews Trophy that year, earned All-Australian selection for the first time, and was named Melbourne’s best and fairest – a feat he would repeat in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
Stynes finished his career in 1998 after a hand injury ended his streak of 244 consecutive senior games – a VFL/AFL record – and has since been inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame and Melbourne’s Team of the Century.
He took up the club presidency at Melbourne in 2008 and remained a hugely popular figure after football, winning Victorian of the Year and Order of Australia honours for his outstanding youth work via the Reach Foundation.
Such was his status in his adopted home that Stynes, who died of brain cancer in 2011, was honoured with a state funeral.
1. Bo Jackson – American football and Major League Baseball
There’s a good reason ESPN named Bo Jackson as the greatest American sportsman of all time.
And that’s because he wasn’t just a code hopper; he was a genuine star in two pro sports at once.
Jackson excelled at both football and baseball during his time at Auburn University, where he enrolled despite recently being picked by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1982 MLB National Draft.
He also starred for the track and field team, winning the state decathlon title twice and setting school records in both the high jump and the triple jump.
But while many student-athletes have juggled multiple sports during their college days, few have ever gone on to do so with any great impact at professional level.
It initially appeared Bo would follow the mould and turn all his attention to baseball, after he refused to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – with whom he had bad blood – when they picked him at number one in the 1986 NFL Draft.
However, only a year after commencing his Major League career with the Kansas City Royal, Jackson took on dual-athlete status by signing with the Los Angeles Raiders as a running back.
Over the next four years, the young Alabamian became the biggest identity in American sports.
Jackson played both Major League Baseball and NFL with great distinction between 1987 and 1990, during which time he became the first person to earn both Pro Bowl selection and an All-Star cap – a feat which remains unmatched to this day.
But after a career-best season with the Raiders, Bo’s football exploits were halted for good in 1991 when he suffered a severe hip injury during a playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
He continued his baseball career with the Chicago White Sox, where he earned the 1993 AL Comeback Player of the Year award, before finishing his career in ’94 with a solitary season at the California Angels.
And yet, for all his achievements, Jackson’s legacy leaves a lingering sense of what might have been – for who knows what more he may have done in both football and baseball if it weren’t for the fake hip?