Betting talk: Bama's championship odds are the longest in the post-Saban era

Betting talk: Bama's championship odds are the longest in the post-Saban era

Every event that happens in sports has some additional context when viewed from a sports betting perspective. From season-changing injuries to record-setting moments and more, the sports news cycle will constantly and significantly impact the sports betting industry.

With contributions from David Purdum, Doug Greenberg, Ian Parker and others, our betting discussion file aims to give fans a look at the sports betting stories that are driving the conversation.

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June 20: Alabama's national championship odds are the longest since the Saban era

Doug Greenberg: Nick Saban's retirement from coaching is going to have a huge impact on Alabama and the world of college football. Sportsbooks are starting to gauge just how big that impact is.

On ESPN BET, the Crimson Tide are projected at 16-1 to win the 2025 national championship — their longest odds to win college football's top prize since 2008, Saban's second season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Alabama is tied with SEC rivals LSU and Ole Miss for the fifth-lowest odds, and trails Georgia (+325), Ohio State (+350), Texas (+750) and Oregon (+900).

Despite an expanded field for the College Football Playoff, Saban’s loss and the increased competition in his conference can be blamed for the increased odds: Alabama and LSU are the first two teams in the field with plus-odds to make the CFP at +115, and they trail eight other programs, including Michigan (-120), which lost coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL after the 2024 national championship.

Still, the public is favoring the Tide to some extent, even if the action is somewhat top-heavy. Alabama has attracted 4% of tickets and 3% of handle for winning the next national championship – ranking fourth and seventh, respectively. Georgia (30%/20%) and Ohio State (27%/33%) make up the overwhelming majority of the national championship future action at the moment.

Alabama's popularity and plus-odds of making the playoffs are attracting bettors, as they have garnered 6% of tickets on BetMGM, the fifth-most, though far behind Deion Sanders' Colorado. The Buffs have garnered 12.3% of bets.

June 19: McDavid is now the favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy

David Purdum: The Edmonton Oilers remain the underdog in the Stanley Cup Final, but their emerging superstar Connor McDavid is now the favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy at sportsbooks across the country.

Before Saturday's fourth game, when the Oilers were in danger of being swept by the Florida Panthers, McDavid was 18-1 to win the Conn Smythe on ESPN BET. On Wednesday, a day after leading Edmonton to its second consecutive win, McDavid was a -155 favorite for the award. McDavid has scored three goals with five assists in the past two games.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky emerged as the heavy favorite for the Conn Smythe as Florida won the first three games. Bobrovsky's odds had dropped to -500 on ESPN BET, but he has allowed nine goals in the last two games and is now at +500.

As of Wednesday, 47% of the money bet on ESPN BET's Conn Smythe odds was on McDavid, more than any other player. Florida, which leads the series 3-2, is a -350 favorite to win the series. The Oilers are small -125 favorites to win Game 6 in Edmonton on Friday.

June 18: Karajitsu gets betting approval in New Jersey

Doug Greenberg: Have you ever wanted to bet on the outcome of a fight in a car between two adults? Now you can.

Approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Karajitsu – a sport in which fighters engage in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match while seated inside a car (usually a sedan) – for sports betting, making it the first jurisdiction in the country to do so.

The founder of the Pro League Network, which serves as the sport's regulatory body, said he intentionally brought the sport before New Jersey's betting commission first, because it is one of the “most structured” sports and is seen as the “highest regulatory body”.

“We wanted to establish it there first, and we felt if we could meet all the expectations and requirements in New Jersey, that would give us a way to take off to other parts of the country,” PLN co-founder Bill Yukatonis told ESPN. PLN has built relationships with DraftKings, BetMGM and Bet365 to offer its sports in the United States.

Karjitsu isn’t the first obscure sport that PLN has passed through state betting regulators: The company also runs the World Putting League (mini golf) and Slapfight Championship (slap fighting), which have been approved for sports betting in several states. PLN is also starting to take its 3-on-3 basketball product, STR33T, to state commissions.

“We don’t take a case to the commission until we know we have the right rules in place and they have great integrity; we have sanctions in place; we have our athlete education, anti-betting and drug and alcohol policies in place,” said PLN co-founder Mike Salvaris. “All the basic things you need before taking a sport to the commission are in place.”

Yukatonis says that with such strict requirements for approval, PLN did not seek the approval of the Betting Commission for Karjitsu until it decided to do so only a year after it came into existence, when clips of the game garnered an impressive number of views on social media. He also believes that not all sports can be bet on.

“It takes a lot of work to get a sport ready for betting,” Salvaris said. “We've learned that because we've gone through it a number of times, sometimes the hard way, sometimes the easy way. But I think it's important to emphasize that this is not something that I think a lot of sports can do. And frankly, it makes sense for us to do this because we have the scale of many sports leagues. I think if you just have one sports league that's average in terms of popularity, I think it makes sense for you in terms of resources to do this, but it makes sense for us because this is our business that we're relying on.”

June 12: Florida bettor wins big in 15-leg MLB Long Shot parlay

A bettor at Hard Rock Bet in Florida picked all 15 winners from Tuesday's Major League Baseball slate in a $32 parlay that paid out more than $245,000. Three underdogs — the Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles — pulled off upsets, and the rest of the favorite teams playing that night won, including the Tampa Bay Rays coming back over the Chicago Cubs. The Rockies (+165), who beat the Minnesota Twins on the road, were the biggest underdogs to win.

The parlay had odds of +766386 and paid out $245,275.64.

According to Hard Rock Bet, the parlay's 15 steps and odds were as follows:

June 10: Bets placed on Panthers' Bobrovsky for Conn Smythe

GreenbergSergei Bobrovsky is already a finalist to win the third Vezina Trophy of his career, which, if he wins, would put him among the top players in NHL history. After a stunning shutout performance in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, he is now the favorite to win one of the league's most prestigious awards.

Immediately after Game 1 of the series, Bobrovsky reached +225 on ESPN BET to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Heavy action pushed him even lower to +210, where he remains as of Monday afternoon. He is the favorite ahead of teammate Aleksander Barkov and opponent Connor McDavid, both of whom are at +275.

According to ESPN Bet odds, Bobrovsky entered the Stanley Cup playoffs at 20-1 to win the award and reached 25-1 ahead of the Florida Panthers' Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the New York Rangers; DraftKings reports that he reached 28-1 on May 17. Entering the Stanley Cup Finals, the 35-year-old was at +400, tied with Barkov for second behind McDavid (+200), an odd betting line, as the Oilers are the underdogs for the series.

Bobrovsky has dominated throughout the postseason with a 2.08 GAA, but his performance on Saturday night was arguably his best to date. According to Stathletes, Bobrovsky's 2.90 goals saved in Game 1 was the best in any single game for any goalie. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the 35-year-old netminder also became the oldest goalie to record a shutout in the Stanley Cup Finals since Tim Thomas in 2011.

As such, the number of bettors on Bobrovsky has increased dramatically. On ESPN BET, Bobrovsky had 8.5% of all future Conn Smythe Trophy tickets before Game 1, which has now increased to 17.8%, trailing only McDavid at 27%. DraftKings says 63% of tickets and 84% of handle for the Conn Smythe Trophy since Saturday night are on Bobrovsky, putting him in a tie with McDavid (17%) to win the award.

Bobrovsky has the second-most bets at FanDuel and BetMGM, where he is considered the Bucs' biggest liability. BetMGM's top bet for Game 2 is Bobrovsky at 24.5 saves (-130), which is also a very popular bet at ESPN Bet.

The Oilers can potentially destroy Bobrovsky's Conn Smythe Trophy advantage and get back into the series simply by putting up high shots. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Edmonton didn't put a single shot on goal into the top of the net in Game 1, despite the fact that Bobrovsky has allowed a league-high 19 goals in that area this postseason.

June 4: 3-leg parlay needs Oilers to win Stanley Cup $584K

Greenberg: Shared by three-leg parlay @BR_Betting With odds of 584-1, it’s now down to the final stretch — the Edmonton Oilers winning the Stanley Cup.

According to a sportsbook spokesperson, the bet was placed by a BetMGM customer in Colorado in January, ahead of NFL Wild Card Weekend. The customer used a $1,000 bonus bet — a promotional credit that BetMGM gives to new customers — to make this parlay that included:

The Chiefs won the Super Bowl by beating the San Francisco 49ers in February and Real Madrid defeated Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final last Saturday, leaving only the Oilers with a chance to complete the parlay and giving bettors the opportunity to secure a wager if they so desire.

Edmonton is listed at +110 to win the Stanley Cup Final on ESPN BET.

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