The Empire Slate: New Yorkers Should Be Able To Bet On Drafts, Awards

State legislators look to expand New York's bet menu to put futures in play
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“The Empire Slate” is a weekly look at betting angles and trends involving New York sports.

The Knicks didn’t trade up to land talented Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, who went to the Detroit Pistons at No. 5. In fact, they went the other direction, all but punting on the draft by trading their No. 11 pick, four future second-rounders, and Kemba Walker for three future first-round picks.

Like a lot of things around the Knicks these days, it didn’t seem to be all that popular with the fan base.

Of course, fans who attended Thursday’s NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn couldn’t bet on the event anyway, because New York is among six states with legal mobile sports betting that don’t allow wagering on drafts or awards. To put it another way, futures betting in New York is highly limited — and that could become a problem as the industry matures.

State law defines an eligible sports betting event as one in “which two or more persons participate in sports or athletic events and receive compensation in excess of actual expenses for their participation in such event.” Some local legislators, including Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. of Queens, are looking to change that by expanding New York sportsbooks’ menus to bring them more in line with neighboring states. It’s going to be awhile, however, as legislators don’t meet again until January.

It seems high time for New York to make it easier for customers looking for a little action on a fun area of sports, one that has seen an explosive growth in media coverage and interest and could yield more tax dollars for the state. If insider betting is an issue for New York bettors, isn’t it also an issue for New Jerseyans, who can place futures bets to their hearts’ content?

Yankees become the chalk

It finally happened.

After sticking with the Dodgers all offseason and through the first three months of the regular season, most sportsbooks made a move at the top of their World Series odds boards last week. The Yankees now are the favorites to win the World Series at DraftKings (+425), Caesars (+420), FanDuel (+400), and BetMGM (+425).

The Dodgers are still the favorite (+425) at WynnBET, where the Yankees are offered at +450.

According to the Action Network, the Yankees have been the most profitable team to bet on this season as well. To that end, bettor placing $100 on the Yankees’ moneyline every game this season would be up $1,344.

It’s a wise move by the sportsbooks to slip the Yanks into the top spot, given that they are the only team in the majors to have outscored opponents by more than 140 runs and also given the volume of action they’re probably seeing pour in from New York. But buying high isn’t normally a good idea in real estate or futures betting.

Scherzer rehab train slows down

After the Mets host the Houston Astros at Citi Field Wednesday afternoon, Max Scherzer is scheduled to make his second rehab outing for Double-A Binghamton at Hartford.

It’s quite possible that what happens in Binghamton will have a bigger impact on the Mets than what happens in Queens. The team has held the line through a series of pitching injuries and now is close to getting back Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, who have five Cy Young awards between them.

Scherzer, whose second rehab start was delayed by a day due to some soreness, could return in less than a week, while deGrom has thrown to hitters a couple of times now and could be back in a few short weeks. On the other hand, a major setback for either pitcher could be deflating for a team that has seen its 10.5-game lead at the start of the month cut to five.

The Mets’ World Series odds of +700 have stabilized at most mobile sportsbooks, including DraftKings. As for Pete Alonso’s MVP chances now that he leads the majors with 69 RBIs? Just like in the NBA, you can’t bet on that in New York.

Help is on the way

Kudos to New York legislators for seeking to improve the state’s addiction programs as legal, regulated gambling expands in the state.

Addabbo and other legislators have approved a bill that would create a 13-member Problem Gambling Advisory Council to help the governor and legislature deal with an uptick in the need for treatment. New York quickly has become the leader in nationwide sports gambling, with more than $8 billion in wagers placed since launch, and this addresses that rapid growth.

Eventually, the council figures to create new programs funded by the three new downstate casinos, which will have to pay $500 per slot machine or table game approved by the gaming commission. Remember, if you’re suffering from life problems caused by gambling, there is help available, including via the state’s problem-gaming helpline: 1-877-846-7369 or text: HOPENY (467369).

Photo: Brad Penner/USA Today

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