The eagle eye catches the edge.
That’s one theme emanating through West Virginia online betting circles as several sports ramp up.
The PGA features the Genesis Invitational from Thursday-Sunday.
NASCAR unfurls the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on Sunday, with big names hungry for victory after a bizarre Daytona 500 finish led to a big upset last week.
The UFC features another fight card Saturday, and although there are heavy favorites throughout the card, betting options exist.
And MLB futures betting odds became official this week, providing a first look at the deals bettors will see all season. Baseball begins anew April 1.
PGA Tour betting: The big names return
How to watch:
- Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. EST (Golf Channel)
- Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m. EST (Golf Channel) and 3-6 p.m. EST (CBS)
Many top names return for the Genesis Invitational, which starts Thursday. Books have embraced bettors’ demands and offer an extensive menu throughout the weekend, including individual matchups, hole-by-hole score and the adjusted leaderboard.
There is plenty of wagering available, even for gamblers who haven’t placed bets before the event starts.
The early Wednesday morning odds at WV DraftKings favored Dustin Johnson. By a lot.
The betting odds:
To Win Top 5 Top 10
Dustin Johnson +550 +120 -162
Jon Rahm +1200 +275 +110
Rory McIlroy +1250 +300 +138
Justin Thomas +1400 +300 +138
Xander Schauffele +1550 +300 +138
Bryson DeChambeau +1700 +350 +164
There are some big prices for big names. DeChambeau routed the field in winning the prestigious US Open last September. How close to that form is he? DeChambeau is one of the compelling storylines of this weekend.
“This is a great opportunity for the bettors,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told PlayWV. “All the big names are back. When you can have a Justin Thomas at 14-1, Xander Schauffele at 15-1 and a Bryson DeChambeau as high as 17-1, you know you have a very good field.
“And golf is great like that, when you are playing the win line. The leader after the first round rarely wins the tournament. There is plenty of time for the guy you bet on to make a move, and if he is good enough that week, he can win it for you.”
There’s another angle with a golfer like Jordan Spieth. He sat atop the leaderboard after round three of the Pebble Beach Pro Am last week, returning +500 across most of the major sportsbooks to bettors who had him.
What if he stays hot?
Spieth sits at +4000 to win, +750 for top 5, +350 for top 10 and +164 for top 20. There’s nothing wrong with +164 any time or any place. Given what Spieth did last week, +164 is a lot of bang for the buck for him to finish in the top 20.
NASCAR: Crank it up again
How to watch: Sunday, 3 p.m. EST (Fox)
A late-car pileup at the Daytona 500 last week produced a long-shot winner in Michael McDowell, who was +8000 at many books.
But on a week-by-week basis, the big names are usually heard from.
Some will have big prices for the O’Reilly Auto Parts event at Daytona.
For this week’s event, at DraftKings:
- Chase Elliott +225
- Martin Truex Jr. +400
- Ryan Blaney +1200
- Kyle Busch +1200
- Denny Hamlin +1200
Hamlin, Kevin Harvick at +1500, Joey Logano at +1600 and Brad Keselowski at +1800 represent exceptional value.
This race follows the Daytona 500, which had a freak ending last week. Reigning Cup Series champion Elliott finished second after contact between Keselowski and Logano ignited the final-lap wreck, sending Kyle Busch rocketing into the outside wall.
When NASCAR illuminated the caution lights, McDowell was in the lead over Elliott by a car length.
UFC at WV sportsbooks: Finding an angle
How to watch:
Note the earlier than usual times. The prelims start at 5 p.m. EST Saturday and the main card at 8 p.m. Betting odds listed are at DraftKings.
Curtis Blaydes is a prohibitive -400 at versus Derrick Lewis, +300 in the main event. The odds are lopsided despite Blaydes being ranked second in the heavyweight division and Lewis fourth.
Blaydes has been a machine, beating everyone in his path except Francis Ngannou, a Mike Tyson-like superstar considered a champion-in-waiting by the MMA community. Blaydes was stopped twice by Ngannou. Lewis also lost to Ngannou, but by decision.
In the co-main, bantamweight Ketlen Vieira is -278 against Yana Kunitskaya +215. Many women’s fights go the distance, but when Kunitskaya loses, she loses big. Kunitskaya has been stopped in her last four losses.
In the prelims, Chris Daukaus, voted the number 10 top newcomer in the UFC for 2020, boasts two recent first-round knockouts as he faces Aleksei Oleinik in what’s considered a step up.
Daukaus is -177, Oleinik +140.
Oleinik has lost three of five but holds down the No. 10 ranking among UFC heavyweights. He is 43. Is it time for Daukaus to enter the rankings? He would with a win here.
Daukaus has 10 wins, nine via KO/TKO. Early in the week, there was no method of victory prop up. That could be an angle. Check closer to fight time.
MLB futures: “Bettor up”
This is a good time to place some futures bets, evaluate spring training progress and evaluate teams.
The first significant futures numbers went up this week across major WV sportsbooks. They involve World Series, league pennants, divisions and individual accolades like MVP betting and Cy Young Award candidates.
Projected team win totals won’t be far behind, and they are a lot of fun.
At William Hill WV:
The defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers stayed pat during the offseason before landing a big acquisition in pitcher Trevor Bauer. The Dodgers will be extremely deep on the mound.
After opening atop the board at +450 on Oct. 28, the Dodgers are now down to +200.
“It’s very rare for a baseball team to be that low before the season,” said Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill US. “The thing about baseball is that things can crumble fast — one injury, one bad stretch, another team gets hot.
“The Dodgers have all the pieces, but the San Diego Padres have plenty of talent too. At +200, there’s no value in it; you might as well wait for the playoffs if you think they’re going to repeat. That way, you avoid catastrophic things happening in the regular season, and you’ll get around the same price anyway.”
The Yankees and Padres are tied for the second-lowest odds at +650.
The White Sox, which improved dramatically last year, are +750.
A pair of NL East rivals are next, with the Mets at +1200 and the Braves at +1400.
The Mets led the National League in hitting last year and shored up their pitching staff by signing Carlos Carrasco, one of baseball’s top hurlers over the last few seasons. They also signed Francisco Lindor, the shortstop who belted 32 homers two years ago.
The Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays are each +1800.
Many William Hill bettors think the 2021 champion will come out of the NL West. The Dodgers lead the way with 21% of the total dollars wagered, and the Padres rank second at 15%. For total number of tickets, Los Angeles and San Diego have each racked up 10%, the most of any team.
Yet two other clubs have drawn the biggest 2021 World Series futures wagers thus far at William Hill.
The AL teams getting the most attention on their World Series odds are the Yankees and White Sox. Chicago has captured 9% for both total number of tickets and total dollars wagered, whereas New York has seized 7% and 8% in the respective categories.