Delaware Starts Offering Sports Betting

Tuesday afternoon, the very first State will become the very first state to provide single-game sports wagering outside Nevada.

The expansion provides gamblers an alternative to those NFL parlay cards and will allow for various bets on professional baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf, and more in the state’s three casinos – Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and Harrington Raceway & Casino.

The News Journal will be at Dover Downs and Delaware Park Tuesday, taking in the scene of what is a historical day for the state and for the country.

No longer is Las Vegas the home for sports wagering, and no longer are everyday or once-in-a-while sports bettors in Delaware and elsewhere only subject to the illegality of using a local “bookie” or betting online at an offshore sportsbook, like the popular Bovada online casino and sportsbook.

The times, they are changing. And betting at Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington means no longer filling out a parlay card with three or more teams and turning your money over with about a 7/1 chance of actually getting anything back.

New Jersey is putting the final pieces to the puzzle together and will soon launch sports betting and become the epicenter of sports gambling on the east coast. Legislation isn’t far behind in Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and elsewhere.

But, for now, all eyes will be on Delaware.

And speaking of these parlay cards? Forget about them.

Never placed a sports bet before? Need a little refresher? Want to know what Golden State -5 means for Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night or how to bet the Phillies on the road against the Cubs Tuesday night? We’ve got you covered.

Here’s how you can sound like an expert when you get to the betting window Tuesday and get your initial, legal straight bet in Delaware.
Important terms and phrases

Book: The sportsbook is an establishment that accepts wagering on sports. In Delaware, the three sportsbooks are Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway.

Point spread: The point spread – or betting “line” as it is sometimes called – is the value assigned by the bookmaker that reflects an expected outcome of a game. For example, early indications are that Golden State is favored by 5 points (-5) against Cleveland in Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night. This means that Golden State is “giving up” five points to Cleveland and must win by 6 to cover the point spread. If you bet Cleveland +5, you win if the Cavaliers lose by less than 5 points or win the game outright. Typically, bets on the point spread are usually offered at 11-to-10 odds, meaning – for the sake of round numbers – a $110 bet will win the bettor $100.

Over/under: The over/under (sometimes written o/u) of a game is the total points expected to be scored. Like the point spread, over/under bets are usually offered at 11-to-10 odds.

Push: Quite simply, a tie. For example: if you have Golden State -5 Wednesday night, and the Warriors beat the Cavs by 5, the game is a push. Both Warriors and Cavaliers bettors get their wagers back.

Taking the points: When someone “takes the points,” they’re typically talking about betting the underdog (like Cleveland +5).

Underdog: The team most likely to lose, based on the betting odds. Many refer to this as the “dog.”

Vigorish: There’s always the vig. The vigorish is the commission or “juice” the casino takes. In our previous example, betting $110 on Golden State returns the bettor $210 instead of $220.
Types of bets

Straight bet: This is the hallmark of what makes Tuesday so historic. A straight bet is an individual wager on a game or event that will be determined by a point spread, money line or over/under.

Parlay: Like many Delawareans are probably familiar with, a parlay is a single bet that strings together two or more wagers and offers better payouts, but every leg of the parlay must hit for the bettor to win.

Money line bet: Bettors also have the option of betting on a team to win the game without the use of the point spread, meaning the margin of victory does not matter. This option means betting a favorite to win requires betting much more money to get a desired return. For example, Golden State will be around -200 on the money line to win Game 3 Wednesday. Bettors would need to put down $200 to win $100. On the other end, betting an underdog to win usually comes with a good payout. The Cavaliers will be around +170 or more to win the game Wednesday. In that case, a bet of $100 wins the bettor $170.

Future: A future is a wager placed on an event such as which team will win next year’s Super Bowl (the Eagles are 8/1 to repeat) or Master’s golf tournament.

Teaser: Many Delawareans are already aware of a teaser, since the NFL parlay card system also allowed for teasers, a bet that adjusts point spreads in a player’s favor but lessens the potential payout.

We’ve covered above the typical ways to bet on an NBA game, but the Stanley Cup playoffs are nearing completion, and baseball season is in full swing. Here’s how you bet on those sports.
Betting on hockey

Betting on hockey consists usually of money line bets, puck line bets (hockey’s point spread) and over/under bets.

Monday night in Game 4 (Washington leads the series 2-1), the Washington Capitals are favored to beat Las Vegas. The Capitals are -130 on the money line and the Golden Knights are +110.

In most all hockey games, the puck line or point spread attached to the game is -1.5 goals. The odds of the favorite winning by more than one goal are then assigned to that line. For example, Washington is the 1.5 goal favorite Monday, but the odds of the Capitals covering the puck line is +215. So a $100 bet on the Capitals puck line Monday (they need to win by at least two) will win a bettor $215.

The over/under Monday night is 5.5 goals, a pretty standard value on most hockey games.
Betting on baseball

Betting on baseball is very similar to hockey. Each team is assigned a money line odd to win the game and baseball “run lines” (point spreads) are usually -1.5 for the favorite or +1.5 for the underdog, with odds assigned to those outcomes like explained above.

The full-scale launch of betting in Delaware comes at a slow time in sports, especially for bettors. Come fall, when the NFL and college football seasons are underway and pro and college hoops are gearing up, Delaware’s 3 sportsbooks should see plenty of traffic, especially if surrounding states continue to have holdups in launching.

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