The numbers are a little silly, really.
To wit, the deciding game of the NBA Finals this year drew 12.4 million viewers. Last year’s World Series averaged over 11 million viewers. NHL Stanley Cup? Try about 4.8 million viewers.
And how about last year’s NFL Hall of Fame Game, quite possibly the least important, least interesting, lowest stakes game on the entirety of the NFL schedule? Yeah, that did 7.3 million viewers.
So let’s forget the narrative that no one cares about this game Thursday night between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders. Clearly, people care.
Oh, you're not betting the hall of fame game? Couldn't be me.
— Cohea (@DaltonCohea5) August 3, 2022
But do they care because of their love of football, or do they care because of their love of mobile sportsbooks and daily fantasy sites? That is a discussion for another day, but for today, know this: If you read US Bets‘ look at this game back in April — oh yes, the sportsbooks had lines for this game up very early — and followed the advice laid out, you’d be sitting in the catbird seat today.
Under, over. Over, under
The over/under for the game was set at 33.5, and the brilliant mind behind the aforementioned breakdown noted five of the last six Hall of Fame games went under, and also noted that the Jaguars and Raiders play each other in the regular season, lending a little bit of credence to the idea that scaled-back playbooks will be even slimmer Thursday night.
Well, dig this: The over/under has dropped all the way down to 29.5 at FanDuel, with the over set at -114. That’s a tasty little middle there, don’t you think?
Other sites, such as PointsBet and Caesars, have the number at 30.5 at -105. Bottom line: Don’t expect a lot of offensive firepower.
“The total opened at 34 and is now down to 30.5,” said Jay Kornegay, the executive vice president of race and sportsbook operations at the Westgate SuperBook. “These [and the point spread] are really based on market moves rather than money wagered.”
In short, the traders also thought the over/under was too high.
Meanwhile, back in April, the Raiders were 1-point favorites at -115 on the moneyline, with the Jaguars as -105 underdogs. And when the lines first dropped a few weeks earlier, the Jaguars opened as favorites.
Perhaps due to the announcement that Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne would not be suiting up, the line has moved to Raiders -2.5, with WynnBET offering -110 on the Raiders and FOX Bet offering the Jags at even money. On the moneyline, the best bang for sports bettors’ buck is the Jags at +120 at BetMGM and the Raiders at -135 at DraftKings.
As far as public sentiment goes, it should come as no surprise based that Joe Q. loves them some Raiders Thursday evening.
Hall of Fame Game betting at @BetMGM:
76% tickets, 81% handle on Raiders (-2.5, opened at -1.5)
64% tickets, 76% handle on Raiders (-145, opened at -120)
65% tickets, 78% handle on Under (30.5, opened at 33.5)
— Andrew Doughty (@DoughtyBetMGM) August 4, 2022
“The public is strongly backing the Raiders to win outright, with 88 percent of the money and 76 percent of the tickets on them,” read an emailed report from the BetRivers trading desk. “It also is on Las Vegas to cover the spread at 69 (money) and 61 percent (tickets). Bettors are leaning toward the under, responsible for 79 percent of the handle and 68 percent of the wagers.”
Even at FanDuel — with the 29.5 number — the money is pouring in on the under, with 66% of the bets and 80% of the handle saying the game will be low-scoring. The same holds true at PointsBet, where 57% of the bets are on the under, which represents 84% of the handle, according to Wyatt Yearout, the company’s media analytics manager.
Huge DFS contests
Just in case you need further proof that this objectively ridiculous game carries weight among the gambling glitterati, know this: DraftKings’ biggest single-game showdown slate for the game is a $10 tournament with a $200,000 prize pool, open to up to 23,529 contestants. On the MLB side, the biggest tourney is a $15 one, open to 19,607 people, with a $250,000 prize pool.
We should get our first look at Snoop Connor Thursday during the Hall of Fame Game. Should be a viable DFS play and I imagine he starts for the Jaguars. #HallOfFameGame #DFS #DraftKings
Raiders vs Jaguars
— Austin Tilley (@TilleyAAA) August 1, 2022
Meaningless, shmeaningless. Are you ready for some football?