With the 2nd half of the NBA season underway and a draft class that will include Deandre Ayton, Michael Porter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III (+ Luca Doncic, Real Madrid), prospective lottery teams (there are 7 that are already 20+ games below .500) will soon turn their focus to the 2018 NBA Draft. Commissioner Adam Silver hasn’t figured out how to prevent teams from “tanking” (or talking about it, Mark Cuban was recently fined $600,000 for publicly admitting that “losing is our best option”), but Las Vegas odds-makers are already accounting for it; lowering the betting limits on games played between teams out of playoff contention and raising the possibility that future games could be pulled off the board. It’s important to remember that because gamblers are betting against a spread, a team’s desire to simply lose games is somewhat nullified.
Howie Long-Short: Legalized sports betting may be inevitable but, at least some analysts believe that States expecting a fiscal windfall should temper their expectations. Moody’s Investor Service notes that just 2% of Nevada’s gambling revenue comes from sports betting and that over the last 12 months, Nevada casinos have earned just $215.3 million on sports bets. Global Market Advisers, a casino consulting firm, points to the “low level of hold” (5%-7% of the amount bet is held as revenue), “low profit margins” and the “prohibitively high state tax rates (see: Pennsylvania) as reasons why the revenue potential is often overstated. Moody’s projects New Jersey will bring in $108 million in revenue (4% of the state’s gambling revenue), over the state’s first 12 months of taking sports bets.
Fan Marino: Tip: Professional handicapper Ron Boyles says to take a tanking team getting a “boatload of points” over a “playoff-bound team”. Why? Gamblers tend to overestimate a team’s incentive to lose, creating a situation where the underdog gets “more points than they normally should.”
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