We are hours away from the start of the NFL season, and things are already FUBAR. Cooper Kupp might have nerve damage, and the Battle of Wounded Knee is taking place all over again, as a nation — well, a gambling nation — awaits word on whether Travis Kelce will suit up tonight, or, for that matter, this year.
Yeah. Two first round draft picks in your fantasy draft, already shelved. Eeesh.
Meanwhile, America’s sportsbooks carry on, bravely, with the Chiefs now a mere 4.5-point home favorite for tonight’s game. In short: Travis Kelce is worth at least two points. That has to be a record for a tight end.
As for us here at Sports Handle? We’ll be monitoring all the NFL betting news as it comes at us today. Buckle up.
1 p.m.: bet365 breaks bad
Curling, bet365, Jesse from Breaking Bad. Need we say more?
OK, fine, we’ll say a little more. A commercial from British betting behemoth bet365 serves as the kickoff of its “bet365 experience is Never Ordinary” campaign (lower case and capital letters theirs).
Expect more commercials as the NFL — and curling(?) — season marches on.
12 p.m.: BetMGM announces ‘evolutions’
BetMGM announced a suite of “evolutions” to its sports betting app Thursday afternoon, including a free-to-play survivor pool for the the NFL season.
Additionally, the sportsbook will be offering same game parlay+, in which bettors can connect same-game parlays into one “super parlay.”
“We developed our state-of-the-art sports betting platform to feature a variety of ways sports fans can engage,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt in a press release. “The next generation of the BetMGM app is a giant step forward in the sports betting experience, increasing the level of entertainment before, during and after games.”
In addition to the survivor pool — in which the winner will take home $100,000 — and the SGP+ feature, BetMGM also announced bettors can now use the app seamlessly if traveling across North America (except in Nevada, Puerto Rico, and Canada). One log-in, in other words.
Barry Sanders’ 8-bit doppelganger is also back, as BetMGM’s celebrity ambassador will be featured in a free-to-play game in which players can receive a parlay boost, odds boosts, bonus bets, and more.
Lastly, BetMGM will also be offering exclusive team partner hometown odds boosts. This will take the shape of 50% live odds boost tokens offered in the states of the following BetMGM NFL team partners: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, and Tennessee Titans.
10 a.m.: Dolan re-ups with ESPN
ESPN and sports betting analyst Erin Dolan have agreed to a multi-year contract renewal, ESPN announced Thursday.
Dolan will be Bristol-based and on air regularly on SportsCenter, Daily Wager, and more.
“Erin has been important to our growth in the sports betting space, and brings a betting lens to our ESPN programming that we know fans expect from us,” Scott Clark, vice president, fantasy & betting content, said in a press release. “It’s great to now have her in Bristol contributing daily to our growing sports betting content efforts.”
In addition to her ESPN appearances, Dolan will continue to create betting-specific content on her weekly YouTube show, The EKD Show, and she will also appear weekly on Sunday NFL Countdown.
“It’s been amazing to watch ESPN’s sports betting content grow into what it is today. When I was hired in 2021, we were just scratching the surface,” she said. “We’ve evolved quite a bit since then, and I can’t wait to be part of this next phase as we enter into football season.”
Of course, ESPN and PENN Entertainment announced last month they were teaming up to launch ESPN BET, a rebranded online sportsbook expected to debut sometime this autumn.
9 a.m.: Will Kelce play?
Speaking of Kelce, we’re less than 12 hours from kickoff and the waters are still muddied.
Ed Werder of ESPN tweeted what he has heard, and it’s … not all that helpful, saying the “outlook isn’t great” but that Kelce will “push to play.”
From what I’ve been told the outlook for #Chiefs TE Travis Kelce isn’t great for him playing tonight against the Lions but expectations are that he will push to play.
That will leave Andy Reid to decide, knowing Kelce is badly needed but recognizing long season ahead.
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) September 7, 2023
For what it’s worth, the lines haven’t budged on this “news” just yet.
Paging Adam Schefter … Adam Schefter, please report to Twitter.
8:30 a.m.: BetRivers reimagines props
BetRivers just launched an objectively great addition to its online sportsbook for would-be player prop bettors.
In short, there’s a whole area of the app now dedicated to player props, broken down by sport, and called Prop Central.
“With the popularity of props betting, we created Prop Central to give RSI’s bettors an easier way to navigate and wager on props,” Richard Schwartz, CEO at Rush Street Interactive, said in a press release. “Additionally, Prop Central will provide bettors with continuous pregame and live updates on wagering choices, which will make watching their favorite players and sports even more engaging for our bettors this season.”
Most sportsbooks list player props by game, but BetRivers thought it prudent to just have a whole section dedicated to the props. It’s a clean, easy-to-use interface. Props to BetRivers, pun very much intended.
Missed Tuesday’s live blog? Do not fear; just click here!