Three years ago, FanDuel introduced an innovative concept with its “Spread the Love” promotion, a wager that provides bettors with a generous spread, usually on a local team in a newly launched market.
As more customers bet on the selected team, FanDuel will keep moving the line until the game is about to begin. For example, the line may move one point for every 500 bets placed (the numbers aren’t always the same from sport to sport and state to state). When the Denver Nuggets took on the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA’s 2020 Western Conference semifinals, the Nuggets closed as 117-point underdogs — in Colorado only — as Coloradans took advantage of the promo. On another occasion in Arizona, the Suns closed as 174.5-point dogs to the Lakers in an October promotion to celebrate the start of the 2021 NBA regular season.
A Spread the Love promotion last week featuring the Knicks dwarfed previous records for largest spread and total payouts. While the Pelicans defeated the Knicks 102-91 on Jan. 20, New York bettors won more than $5 million on FanDuel’s promotion, in addition to the return of their original bet. FanDuel calculated the amount wagered by customers on the promotion and determined the company paid out more than $10 million on Spread the Love bets.
Go ahead and count the cash, New Yorkers 💰
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) January 21, 2022
A record spread
By the 7:42 p.m. ET tip-off, the line for the promotion swelled to a new record of 222.5 points. The line nearly moved to 223.5 points, as more than 100 customers placed a wager in the waning seconds before the tip. Still, the line for last Thursday’s promotion eclipsed the previous record by more than 40 points. The line initially opened at Knicks -4.5.
The aforementioned Suns-Lakers bet, offered for Arizona customers only, held the previous record at Suns +174.5. FanDuel has run the promo in a handful of new markets since launching the idea in 2019. On five occasions, the line ballooned above 100 points.
- October 2021 — Suns +174.5 vs. Lakers
- October 2021 — Penn State (football) +167.5 vs. Iowa
- September 2021 — Arizona Cardinals +140.5 vs. Vikings
- February 2021 — Indiana University (basketball) +118 vs. Michigan State
- August 2020 — Nuggets +117 vs. Clippers
On another occasion, the line for Pennsylvania customers only closed at 76ers +59.5 over the Bucks in February 2020. In December, the Oklahoma City Thunder set an NBA record for the worst defeat in league history, when they lost to the Grizzlies by 73 in a 152-79 defeat.
Other New York developments at FanDuel
- FanDuel had heavy exposure on the Bills in Sunday’s epic NFL divisional round game. As a result, the Chiefs’ 42-36 overtime victory wound up hurting the public, FanDuel spokesman Kevin Hennessy told NY Online Gambling. On the in-game market, the Chiefs moved to -145 moments after the overtime coin toss. Consequently, FanDuel had little exposure there, Hennessy added. A handful of astute bettors capitalized on odds of 17/1 on the Chiefs with 13 seconds left in regulation, a couple of plays before Harrison Butker kicked the game-tying field goal.
- Across the nation, the Bills ranked among the most popular choices on FanDuel’s Super Bowl futures market, Hennessy explained. Specific to New York, FanDuel saw a good amount of interest in Bills futures tickets following the company’s Empire State launch on Jan. 8. One New York customer placed a $250,000 wager on the Bills to win the Super Bowl at +750. Moving forward, another FanDuel customer has a $6,000 wager on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the Super Bowl at 40/1.
- Over the first two weeks of mobile sports betting in New York, FanDuel generated online gross gaming revenue of $14.1 million (7% hold) on handle of $200.4 million. Caesars Sportsbook led the market with a GGR of $22.7 million on handle of $257.7 million, ranking first in both categories. FanDuel placed second, ahead of archrival DraftKings. “We are very pleased with the engagement in our product from New York state customers. While all markets are critical, it was especially important for FanDuel to do well within our home state. We will continue to deliver innovative products that are changing the way customers interact with sports content — most notably our exclusive Spread the Love promotion,” FanDuel said in a statement.
When FanDuel launched in New York on Jan. 8, the operator was one of four companies that went live on the first day of mobile sports betting in the state. Three others, BetRivers, DraftKings, and Caesars Sportsbook, went live on the same day. Since then, two other operators, BetMGM and PointsBet, have launched mobile sports betting operations in New York.
Photo: Brad Penner/USA TODAY