NBA, NHL and MLB Parity Proving Profitable For Books

The House is jumping in Las Vegas… and that has nothing to do with the Electric Daisy Carnival. Over the past week, parity is proving to be more profitable than Jared Goff’s contact for oddsmakers. In the NBA and NHL, all second round playoff series’ have been competitive, and some are going the distance (a boon for Books.) Even cellar-dweller baseball teams are somehow showing more life than a Rolling Stones Allegiant concert set. With all that in mind, let’s quickly look back at the past week in sports and peek at what’s ahead on the STN Sports app and at the STN Sports Books…

NBA Playoffs
Oddsmakers just can’t win when it comes to the Minnesota Timberwolves/Denver Nuggets series. Entering the playoffs, STN Sports Books had serious liability on the Wolves but were in good shape with pretty much every other team. Denver, meanwhile, was the prohibitive favorite to come out of the Western Conference and entered its second round series as favorites of more than two-to-one. Still, a smattering of guests took the Wolves as a series underdog against the Nuggets. After Minnesota took two games in Denver, the Nuggets’ odds skyrocketed and even got to +500 to win the series. “That was a juicy price and the bettors jumped on it, both on their series price and the future book,” said Chuck Esposito, Station Casinos’ Race and Sports Book Director. “We saw the [Dallas] Stars lose two games at home to Vegas in the NHL and then bounce back and win two in a row in Vegas. I felt the Nuggets could do the same thing.” The Nuggets did that exact thing, and they’re now back as the favorite, having gotten home court advantage again. The Nuggets suddenly got hotter than a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model. Esposito lamented, “Unfortunately in that series we kind of have money at plus prices for both teams. It is what it is, but there are definitely some guests sitting in a much better spot right now for taking that shot on the Nuggets when they were down two games.”

NBA teams these days are going on more runs than Usain Bolt, and live wagering on the STN Sports App is becoming a way to stay ahead of the game. It seems almost nightly that an NBA team rushes out to a double-digit lead, only to see it evaporate like a raindrop in a Vegas summer. “If it’s the NBA, everybody makes a run. When you’ve got a favorite and they’re at home and they’re down, it’s an opportune time for people to really kind of hedge or reduce that bet with in-play wagering,” Esposito said. “The live wagering is probably one of the most popular and the fastest growing piece of our mobile business.”

NHL Playoffs
The NHL Playoffs have continued to be a windfall for the Sports Books — not so much the guests — because of so much parity. The New York Rangers, for instance, jumped out to a three game lead and were in more control than a 1986 Janet Jackson song. But, the Hurricanes stormed their way back in and made a series out of it. In the Western Conference, the Canucks-Oilers series has been back and forth like a Drake-Kendrick Lamar feud. “The parity has been great for us. It’s really been good for our side of the counter,” Esposito said, “but it’s a little bit different without having the Golden Knights in there. It definitely impacts the handle somewhat, but we’re still seeing handle on the other games and a lot of action.” To no surprise, the hockey handle now as compared to the pre-VGK days is knight and day. “There’s no question that there’s way more of an awareness with the NHL overall because of VGK, but when they’re in the playoffs it just adds to another element. Everything is kind of tied to them when they’re in it. There’s more handle and hype and a different atmosphere when they’re in it.”

PGA Major
The second major of the PGA tour begins this weeks, and it’s rife with storylines — some of them even having nothing to do with golf. Odds-on favorite Scottie Scheffler and his wife just welcomed their first child. Rory McIlroy is also among the favorites, but if you read TMZ you’ll find out that he’s suddenly more single than a $1 dollar bill right now. It’s not unfair to question whether these guys will be distracted. Looking into his crystal ball, Esposito believes that Brooks Koepka might be hoisting the trophy when all is said and done. “He won his last event on [the LIV tour] and he’s won three PGAs, so he’s not afraid of the moment,” Esposito said. As with all majors, the STN Sports App already has a bevy of prop bets. Among them, there are wagers tied to the possibility of Tiger Woods cupping a hole-in-one, the nationality of the winning golfer and whether there will be a playoff. The golf menu could give the new Lindo Michoacan a run for its money.

MLB Parity
Over the past several seasons, baseball has been a story of the haves and have nots, and the difference is always very apparent. Although things began that way in the opening weeks, MLB has leveled out. Teams thought to be bottom dwellers, such as the A’s and Nationals, continue to be bet against, but they’re actually holding their own and parlays are getting killed like a Jon Gruen-NFL lawsuit. The White Sox, mind you, are every bit as bad as advertised. It’s a mixed bag. “The way the season started, it was not good. There’s no question that it wasn’t a good thing for our side of the counter,” Esposito said. “As weird as it sounds, though, there’s parity in baseball, and we rarely see that anymore.”