Written By Derek Helling on August 14, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

Portland’s path back to the Western Conference Finals begins Saturday. In a similar fashion, this weekend could be one of the hottest for basketball bettors in Oregon, with the Trail Blazers play-in game just a highlight of the action.

Portland faces the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday on ABC at 11:30 a.m. PT. There are other NBA seeding games tonight, and WNBA regular-season contests this weekend as well.

Sizing up the Trail Blazers play-in game, or games

Both Memphis and Portland have finished their eight seeding-round games, with the Trail Blazers posting the better winning percentage when the Trail Blazers’ balance of regular-season games played before the NBA suspended its season in March is figured in. Normally, that would give them an edge for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.

This season is anything but normal, however. The outstanding issue is that before the break, the Grizzlies had played one fewer game than Portland. So, to account for that, the two teams will play at least one head-to-head game.

Going into Saturday’s tip, there are a few scenarios. Because the Trail Blazers currently own the better winning percentage, they do have the upper hand. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Portland wins Saturday: The Trail Blazers are the eighth seed, Memphis’ season is over, and there won’t be another game between these two teams Sunday
  • Memphis wins Saturday and Portland wins Sunday: The Trail Blazers are the eighth seed and the Grizzlies’ season is over
  • Memphis wins Saturday and Sunday: The Grizzlies are the eighth seed and the Trail Blazers’ season is over

The Blazers come in as the healthier of the two teams, as the Grizzlies are without forward Jaren Jackson Jr. Speaking of injuries, Portland’s CJ McCollum has been playing despite a fractured back.

This game might come down to the matchup between the NBA restart’s leading scorer and an odds-on favorite for this year’s Rookie of the Year award. The Blazers’ Damian Lillard has been racking up the points on a nightly basis while the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant has proven himself capable of leading an NBA team.

Containing Morant and the rest of Memphis’ cast will be a primary concern for Portland on Saturday. Sportsbooks aren’t high on the Blazers’ defense, and for good reason.

Betting action on Saturday’s play-in game

Portland has been winning games during the seeding round simply by outscoring opponents, largely thanks to “Dame.” For example, the Blazers needed overtime to overcome the Grizzlies’ 135 points when these two teams met on July 31.

The question is, when will the load that Lillard has been carrying catch up to him? If it’s Saturday, that may lead to a Portland loss, but it may not affect the line on the point total in this game.

As of 10 a.m. PT on Friday, Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard doesn’t have markets live for Saturday’s game. Another sportsbook that will debut in OR soon, however, does.

BetMGM, which plans to open a retail sportsbook at Spirit Mountain Casino later this year, has its total for Saturday’s game set at 233.5 right now. The odds are even on both sides of the market at -110.

Scoreboard should have markets live for Saturday’s game closer to tip-off, so check in frequently if you want to bet the game. There’s no reason to wait if you want to get some skin in some basketball games now, however.

Scoreboard’s NBA, WNBA markets available now

All the NBA teams in action Friday are essentially locked into their positions for the postseason, so it’s uncertain how many will play their starters and even if they do, how long they will play. The condensed schedule puts a great emphasis on managing players’ minutes.

For that reason, bettors will need to watch teams’ social media accounts for starting lineups. Scoreboard has markets live for all four of Friday’s NBA games, including moneylines, spreads, totals, and numerous props.

That goes for Friday’s WNBA games as well. While the Los Angeles Sparks are idle, the Seattle Storm face the Dallas Wings. Seattle is a -1,050 favorite, as veteran point guard Sue Bird is set to return to the lineup.

Dallas will be without rookie forward Satou Sabally in the game because of an ankle injury. Wings rookie guard Ty Harris might miss the game due to a hand injury as well.

Bird’s return and Dallas’ short bench makes the over on Scoreboard’s market for the Storm’s point total in the game look attractive. Currently, the line sits at 85.5 with odds on the over sitting at -115.

There are better odds in other markets, however. For example, taking Seattle to win by 7-9 points currently offers a payout of +675.

The coming weekend should be entertaining for basketball fans in Oregon, especially if Portland can prevail on Saturday or Sunday. For those who bet successfully, that will just add to the fun.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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Written By Derek Helling on August 7, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

When the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, Aug. 9, there will be an opportunity to watch the game in a new way. The NBABet Stream option has arrived, and it exists thanks to another familiar brand in Oregon.

NBABet is an alternate broadcast mode for live NBA games that integrates betting analysis and live odds from BetMGM Sportsbook. Someday, bettors in Oregon may be able to wager on those markets quite easily.

How to access the NBABet streaming option for Sunday’s game

If you have access to NBA TV through your cable or satellite TV provider, you have access to the NBABet streaming service. Alternatively, NBA League Pass customers can access the mode as well.

The mode will be available for a total of nine NBA games, one of which is this Sunday’s 76ers-Trail Blazers tilt. That game will tip at 3:30 p.m. PST on NBA TV and League Pass.

The new service will feature exclusive camera angles and commentary. The meat of the unique elements is all about sports betting, however.

In addition to analysis of the game from a wagering perspective, the stream will feature overlaid graphics focused on live odds. BetMGM provides those lines for the broadcasts.

For example, the BetMGM online sportsbook usually offers markets on the total points scored in each quarter of NBA games. As the game progresses, the stream may feature graphics and analysis of the movement of those lines.

While Oregonians can’t access those markets right now, it won’t be that way forever. BetMGM is already working on bringing its sportsbook to Trail Blazer fans.

Not a matter of if, but when, BetMGM launches in Oregon

Gamblers in OR are familiar with Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde. What they may not know, however, is that the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde have already made a deal with BetMGM.

The tribe plans to open a BetMGM-themed retail sportsbook at the property later this year. The online component may prove a little more difficult, however.

Right now, the legality of online sports betting in Oregon essentially gives the Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard a monopoly. Spirit Mountain customers would be able to use the app to place wagers, but only within a geofenced location of the casino property.

To offer the same thing anywhere in the state, BetMGM would have to receive licensure from the OR Lottery. Additionally, the tribe needs to negotiate a compact with the state that allows for such proliferation of the sportsbook.

There’s no telling when that might happen. However, later this year, OR bettors will be able to place bets under the MGM brand at Spirit Mountain. That will make the NBABet content a truly immersive experience.

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Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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Written By Derek Helling on August 6, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

While June 2020 didn’t boast its usual complement of sporting events, Oregonians made do with what they had. June sports betting handle reflects that.

According to the Oregon Lottery, total wagers surpassed $7.9 million during the month, an increase of about 7.6% from May. The single biggest contributor? Table tennis.

Ping pong lifts Oregon June sports betting handle

There’s no doubt that table tennis was the sport of choice for Oregon bettors in June. Over $2.8 million, or about 35.4%, belonged to those events.

Soccer matches, like Bundesliga and the English Premier League, also played a significant role. Oregonians staked over $1.9 million in that category.

MMA bouts, like UFC events, accounted for another million dollars. Perhaps even more interesting, however, is the amount of live wagers the Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard app saw in June.

About $4.5 million, or nearly 57% of the total, was handle on in-game bets. That could be another sign of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting bettors.

One of the advantages of placing live bets instead of futures or pregame markets is that bettors don’t have to worry about the cancellation or postponements of games. Additionally, there’s no concern about athletes opting out of competitions or testing positive for the virus, which could greatly affect futures and pregame odds.

Regardless of bettors’ motivation, the jump from $7.3 million in handle in May is a welcome one for the OR Lottery. June’s handle translated to $777,903 in win for the lottery, a month-over-month jump of 23.2%.

That revenue bump is the best news for the lottery. It came at a crucial time. Other products simply haven’t fared as well as the pandemic rages.

OR lottery ticket sales plummet but sports betting could help out

So far in 2020, sales of lottery tickets have disappointed in the Beaver State. In April, for example, instant win and scratch-off games sales dropped 90% in a year-over-year comparison.

The cavalry has arrived, so to speak, however. For most of July, domestic soccer returned for OR bettors. Portland Thorns FC and the Portland Timbers were back on the pitch.

The Portland Trail Blazers got back on the court at the end of July as well.

Coupled with the start of the MLB regular season and the NHL playoffs, July’s numbers could very well represent the single largest month-over-month increase in handle yet.

It may not be fair for the state to expect wagering on domestic sporting events to heal all the wounds, however. Even if monthly revenue tops $1 million or perhaps even $2 million during the coming NFL season (provided the games takes place), that won’t cover a projected $2.7 billion budget deficit.

Still, the revenue is welcome and could mean the difference in saving a few state agencies and programs. If Scoreboard’s June payout percentage of over 90% of handle stays consistent, OR bettors could help themselves out as well over the coming months.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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Written By Derek Helling on July 31, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

The habits of gamblers can often be unpredictable.

While one segment of the industry that produces Oregon gambling revenue saw a dramatic drop in sales, another nearly quadrupled its year-over-year activity.

The Oregon Lottery was the former party, while the state’s most popular horse racing track was the latter. Just the fact that the lottery saw a huge downturn over the past few months is somewhat odd as well.

Bumper summer for Oregon horse racing

Grants Pass Downs in Grants Pass came out of the gate strong this summer. The four-week commercial meet, which ended July 8, brought $2,235,303 in wagers.

That’s nearly four times the handle from its noncommercial meet last summer. Most of the wagering action did not occur at the track, however.

Grants Pass shared that bettors placed 94% of the wagers either online or at off-track betting sites. Part of that split was intentional. The track is limiting its nonessential personnel capacity on race days to 250 people due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thus, it’s easy to explain part of the Oregon sports betting trends. Another possible explanation was the lack of other domestic sporting events.

Through those four weeks, the most high-profile domestic events were NASCAR and PGA competitions. The NWSL did start its tournament at the tail end of that month, but wagering on horse races is much more culturally entrenched.

More activity at the racetrack also probably played a role in the increase of betting activity. The average field in the races for this year’s meet was 7.94 horses, while last year’s sat at 5.34 horses.

For whatever combination of reasons, it was a stellar beginning of the summer at Grants Pass Downs. However, lottery retailers around the state can’t say the same.

Quite a different story for the lottery

The Oregon Lottery reported in April that sales were down 90% as compared to the same month last year. The pandemic likely had some role in this, as more Oregonians avoided unnecessary excursions.

However, that hasn’t been the case across the country.

As a matter of fact, the Tennessee Lottery had its best year ever in terms of sales. Like in Oregon, the only way to buy a lottery ticket in TN is at a brick-and-mortar retailer.

While there are likely many other factors that played into the situation, the effects of the decrease are apparent. The state has canceled or postponed 37 projects due to a lack of funds.

The Oregon Legislature had earmarked over $237 million for those projects. The projects included infrastructure works like water system overhauls and the creation of new housing.

If lottery sales continue to fall far short of expectations, more cuts could be necessary. A May estimate showed a $2.7 billion deficit for the state in its current budget, with more on the horizon.

Lottery sales rebounding could diminish the shortfall, as could more tax revenue from horse racing. So far, it seems the latter of those two gambling options has been a lot more popular among Oregonians.

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Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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Written By Derek Helling on July 24, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

Regarding casino gaming near Salem, there are differences of opinions.

The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians would like to see gaming offerings expand, while other tribes are content with the status quo. Both parties have a vested interest in the future.

The Siletz Tribe has asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for approval to build a new “intertribal gaming facility” just north of the Oregon capital. However, other casino operators in the area have expressed concern, including the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

Details on plans made by the Siletz tribe

The most controversial aspect isn’t that the tribe wants to build another casino in Oregon, but rather where it wants to operate it. Location is everything.

The site north of Salem will affect the community and the likeliness that the proposed project is approved. Furthermore, the proposed site isn’t even on the Siletz reservation.

For that reason, the proposal faces a few more hurdles.

Gambling facilities on reservations face approval from the BIA and the Department of the Interior, and are subject to compacts with state governments. Because they are on sovereign land, however, that’s the extent of the scrutiny.

Off-reservation casinos, however, face additional scrutiny because states treat them like any other business. That means inquiries on how a potential casino will affect the local community.

The tribe wants to build a casino, with all the trimmings, just off I-5.

The 140,000-square-foot casino will feature bars, an events center, a hotel, restaurants,  and over 2,000 gaming devices. The tribe expects to create 1,500 new full-time jobs and gather over $184 million in revenue over the first year.

If the concerns of others in the area are founded, however, that may be too optimistic.

Dissent in local community, specifically other tribes

So far, the local community is proceeding with caution. Local governments have expressed concern about the proposed casino’s impact on infrastructure, problem gambling and revenue.

Perhaps the greatest voice of dissent has come from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, however. That group feels the Siletz’s second Oregon casino may infringe on their territory.

The Grand Ronde Tribe operates Spirit Mountain Casino, just 35 miles away from the Siletz’s proposed site.

In 2017, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in southern Washington, opened the ilani Casino Resort just north of Vancouver. Justin Martin, a lobbyist for the tribe, said the Grand Ronde commissioned a study in 2017 that said that casino would result in Spirit Mountain losing nearly 67% of its revenue.

The location may end up being a significant hurdle for the Siletz.

In 1992, a previous attempt by the tribe to build a casino in the same area failed when then-Gov. Barbara Roberts denied the application. It’s uncertain whether current Gov. Kate Brown will do the same.

So far, no state officials have weighed in, and that may not occur until after the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Department of the Interior have their say. Even Salem’s city council and the Polk County Commission have been mum so far.

Federal approval may not be the most significant hurdle, however. The Siletz Tribe may have to do the most selling to the neighbors of its potential casino site.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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Written By Derek Helling on July 21, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

Sometime in the near future, Oregonians visiting tribal casinos in Washington state will have a new way to play. The process of rolling out Washington sports betting is one step closer to being finished.

Last week, the Washington State Gambling Commission unanimously voted to begin the process of creating regulations for the activity. Other stakeholders still have work to do, however.

Latest on the state of Washington sports betting

With the commission’s 3-0 vote, the onus for how quickly WA residents and visitors can start placing legal bets now lies elsewhere. Namely, with the tribal casinos and other federal and state officials.

Each tribal casino operator in the state must negotiate its own compact that includes wagering on sporting events. The Washington Legislature, Gov. Jay Inslee (or his successor if he is not re-elected) and the US Department of the Interior must all sign off on those compacts.

Although negotiations are underway, there is no timeline for that process.

Four WA tribes have already expressed interest in offering sports betting at their casinos by applying for licenses with the state’s gambling board. Those are:

  • Kalispel Tribe of Indians
  • Snoqualmie Tribe
  • Suquamish Tribe
  • Tulalip Tribes of Washington

The board will likely not issue any licenses until after the commission finalizes regulations. By the same token, the commission probably won’t finalize rules until the involved parties finish the compacts.

That all means it’s anyone’s guess as to when WA casinos will start taking bets. What we do know, however, is that they will have the only legal wagering product in the state when they do.

WA law only permits tribal casinos to offer sports betting within its borders. They can host online wagering, but it must be within the premises of the casinos. Mississippi is set up the same way.

Lawmakers will have to decide whether to allow casinos to contract with sportsbook operators to handle the sports betting management. That isn’t the only decision facing WA legislators right now, however.

The matter of a $6 million loan

Last year, the legislature loaned the commission a sum of $6 million to cover administrative costs associated with the gambling expansion. Now the commission is asking for forgiveness.

The commission argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has put some unexpected strain on its budget. For that reason, the commission would like the legislature to forgive the loan.

As an alternative to complete absolvement of the debt, the commission also suggests extending the term of the loan. Currently, the deadline for repayment with interest is June 30, 2021.

The commission asked for an extension of two or three years. The legislature will decide whether to grant either request soon. If it refuses both pleas, it’s uncertain where the commission will cut back to make the loan payment.

Regardless of the loan status, the commission is ready when the time comes. It’s just not sure when that will be right now.

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Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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Written By Grant Lucas on November 18, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

Just over a month ago, LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers to the franchise’s 17th NBA championship.

In just over a month, the 2020-21 season expects to get underway. Marking the midpoint of this unusual offseason, the NBA draft will be conducted virtually from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

Over the next few weeks, speculation will abound regarding which player will be selected first overall, which team “won the draft,” which organizations hold the best odds to win the league title, all leading into a pre-Christmas tipoff for the new NBA season.

Folks in Oregon will certainly chime in with their opinions, especially if pundits don’t include the Portland Trail Blazers as contenders.  But fans of the Blazers — as well as other local favorites such as the Lakers and Golden State Warriors — can also legally put money behind their beliefs via the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard betting app.

Starting with the NBA draft.

Who will go No. 1 in the NBA draft?

The Minnesota Timberwolves hold the first overall pick in this special fall edition of the league’s annual draft, followed by the Warriors and the Charlotte Hornets.

Time will tell if Minnesota keeps the pick or opts to trade it away. Regardless of which team goes on the clock first, it seems the choice of which player goes first is between only two players: Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball.

And Scoreboard agrees.

Player (College/Interational Team) Odds
Anthony Edwards (Georgia) -125
LaMelo Ball (Illawarra Hawks, Australia) +100
James Wiseman (Memphis) +650
Deni Avdija (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel) +10000
Obi Toppin (Dayton) +10000

What other NBA draft betting markets exist?

Draft position

Not so confident which player will be the first off the big board? Or perhaps just not liking the value?

No problem. Through Scoreboard, bettors can wager on the outcome of six players, essentially betting on the over/under of draft position.

For example, Edwards enters the draft as a contender to go first overall. His over/under via Scoreboard sits at 1.5. So, for those who think Edwards will get drafted first, they can bet on it at -125 odds. If he falls to second, that hits the over and pays +100.

Other draft position markets include and coinciding over/under totals and odds include:

  • LaMelo Ball, Illawarra Hawks (Australia): over/under 2.5 (+120/-140)
  • James Wiseman, Memphis: 2.5 (+170/-230)
  • Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel): 4.5 (-115/-115)
  • Obi Toppin, Dayton: 5.5 (+120/-150)
  • Onyeka Okongwu, USC: 6.5 (+120/-150)
  • Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State: 7.5 (+130/-160)
  • Killian Hayes. Ratiopharm (Germany): 7.5 (-200/+160)

Conference-, team- and international-specific totals

Traditionally, the ACC (namely Duke and North Carolina) and the SEC (specifically Kentucky) dominate draft day.

But there’s just no telling exactly how many players from each conference/team will go in the first round until everything is official.

That said, Scoreboard offers a way to cash in on such predictions. Bettors can wager on the total players taken in the opening round from four of the five power conferences.

Conference Over/Under (Odds)
ACC 5.5 (+500/-825)
Pac-12 5.5 (-105/-125)
SEC 5.5 (-110/-120)
Big 12 2.5 (+180/-235)
Big Ten 1.5 (+155/-195)

Trail Blazers without a first-round pick

Technically, Portland will select 16th overall. But the Trail Blazers will not keep that player.

In the days leading up to the draft, Portland worked toward finalizing a trade with the Houston Rockets to bring in Robert Covington in exchange for Trevor Ariza and two first-round picks.

The 16th pick is part of the deal, which cannot be completed until after Wednesday’s draft. So in essence, Portland will draft for Houston. The other first-round pick in the trade is a 2021 protected pick.

As it stands, the Trail Blazers own one draft pick in 2020: 46th overall.

Important dates for the 2020-21 NBA season

Just in time for Christmas, the 2020-21 NBA season expects to tip off Dec. 22.

The league’s board of governors unanimously approved an amendment to the collective bargaining agreement that allowed the NBA to schedule a 72-game regular season without the All-Star Game.

As negotiated with the National Basketball Players Association, the new season will get going three days before Christmas and conclude May 16. Similar to the format shown in the Orlando bubble, a play-in-tournament for teams seeded seventh through 10th will occur May 17-21. The first round of the playoffs will follow May 22.

While no All-Star Game will occur this season, there will be a break in the schedule between March 5 and March 10, essentially allowing the league to reschedule any games during this time should any be canceled as a result of COVID-19.

With new alternate uniforms at the ready, the Trail Blazers will certainly look to maintain a healthy roster throughout the shortened season and capitalize on it. The Blazers have reached the playoffs seven straight years (tied for the second-longest active streak) and will seek out the franchise’s second NBA title and first since 1977.

The Trail Blazers hold +2800 odds to win the 2021 NBA Finals — ranked 12th among the league’s 30 teams. The favorites to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy include:

Team Odds
Los Angeles Lakers +335
Los Angeles Clippers +550
Milwaukee Bucks +600
Brooklyn Nets +600
Golden State Warriors +700

Photo by 4718425 © Dreamstime.com
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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Written By Grant Lucas on November 10, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

This year is obviously unlike any other. And it certainly took its toll on the sporting world.

The Masters, for example, will not take place during its traditional time slot in April, with the blooming azaleas and magnolias welcoming us both into the spring and the first of professional golf’s four major championships.

Yet it doesn’t matter when it happens: The Masters is always something special.

Even with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the tournament to take place this weekend, outside its usual April scheduling for the first time since World War II, a tradition unlike any other is upon us.

And for the first time, the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard betting app will allow bettors in the Beaver State to get skin in on the game.

Scoreboard favorites to win the Masters

This unique iteration of the Masters features the tournament’s longest-reigning champion in nearly 60 years.

Nineteen months have passed since Tiger Woods put on his fifth green jacket, snapping his 12-year drought between major championships.

One more Masters win would pull Woods into a tie with Jack Nicklaus for most ever — and within just two major titles of the Golden Bear.

Realistically, though, the expectation is that a younger player slips on the green jacket this year. And likely a first-timer.

Golfer Odds
Bryson DeChambeau +750
Dustin Johnson +850
Jon Rahm +1000
Justin Thomas +1100
Rory McIlroy +1200
Xander Schauffele +1400
Brooks Koepka +1600

Quick glance at the favorites

No doubt excitement surrounds Bryson DeChambeau. Coming off his first major championship, the US Open, the Mad Scientist has shaken the golf world with his massive drives off the tee and analysis on the greens.

It should come as no surprise that DeChambeau enters Augusta National as the prohibitive favorite to win the Masters.

Nor should it be that the likes of Dustin Johnson (the most recent FedEx Cup champion) and Jon Rahm (seemingly always in contention over the past few months) are nipping at DeChambeau’s heels. After all, they have done so on the leaderboard since golf’s restart.

Even longer shots such as Justin Thomas (consistently a top-10 finisher over the past five years) and Rory McIlroy (a Masters win away from completing the career grand slam) appear as reasonable bets.

While he has come up short, McIlroy has performed well at Augusta. Since winning the third of four majors in 2014, McIlroy has placed in the top 10 four times in five starts at the Masters.

Placing a Masters wager after the first round?

Perhaps bettors would rather wait for the conclusion of the first round to place a wager.

Fair enough. Values obviously decrease, but a bit more confidence sets in with one round in the books.

Consider this, then: Since 2001, 15 of 19 winners were in the top 10 after the first round. Three of those outlying victories belong to Woods, while the fourth came courtesy of Phil Mickelson.

Seventeen winners were within five strokes after 18 holes, including 11 that were within three shots of the first-round leaders.

As for banking on the opening-round leader to win it all, history does not bode well. Only five players have booked wire-to-wire victories at the Masters:

  • Craig Wood (1941)
  • Arnold Palmer (1960)
  • Jack Nicklaus (1972)
  • Raymond Floyd (1976)
  • Jordan Spieth (2015)

That said, correctly predicting a wire-to-wire winner, prior to the tournament beginning, would pay +1200 via Scoreboard.

Betting on Masters hole-in-one

Sure, championships are great. The journey to a win is exhilarating. But perhaps the single-greatest story told at the 19th hole surrounds that lightning-in-a-bottle moment: the hole-in-one.

And for the Masters, the Scoreboard app offers a way for bettors to cash in on aces at Augusta.

Scenario Odds
Will there be a hole-in-one? Yes -225, No +165
Will there be at least two holes-in-one? Yes +125
Will a hole-in-one occur in Round 1? Yes +1000
Will a hole-in-one occur in Round 2? Yes +1000
Will a hole-in-one occur in Round 3? Yes +1400
Will a hole-in-one occur in Round 4? Yes +125

In the history of the Masters, 30 players have combined for 30 holes-in-one, from Ross Somerville acing the now-16th hole in the tournament’s debut in 1934 to both DeChambeau and Thomas accomplishing the same feat on the same hole in 2019.

That 16th hole has featured 22 holes-in-one over the years, including 14 since 2004.

Strangely, it seems such a rare occurrence has become more frequent of late. The last decade has seen 11 holes-in-one, including six since 2016.

As for when these aces occur, 13 of 16 hole-outs have come during the final round since 2004 — all on the exciting 16th hole.

Photo by AP / Charlie Riedel
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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Written By Derek Helling on September 28, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

Even though it’s illegal for US gambling companies to take bets on political elections, a new presidential pick’em game is completely legal and available to Oregonians.

FanDuel is accepting entries ahead of Tuesday night’s 2020 presidential debate between President Donald Trump and presidential nominee Joe Biden.

It’s not only completely free to play, it’s 100% legal.

Why it’s legal to play FanDuel’s Presidential Pick’em

Playing FanDuel’s Presidential Pick’em online game, you can win a share of $50,000 in real cash prizes. So, why is that legal when betting on the election is illegal?

It’s simply because you don’t have to pay to play. Because you aren’t wagering cash to participate in the game, it isn’t gambling technically.

FanDuel Presidential Pick’em Contest: It’s Not Election Betting But Close Enough 2

It’s no different than being a contestant on a game show or putting your name in a drawing for a cash prize at another business. If you’ve ever played daily fantasy sports (DFS) games on the FanDuel app or website, you’re ready to go.

If you’re a new FanDuel customer, you can register for free quickly. The first pick’em game for Tuesday night’s debate is live now.

How to get in on the game for Tuesday’s debate

The first presidential debate is at 6 p.m. PST on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Most major news networks will broadcast it or you can stream it live on YouTube.

FanDuel’s game for the debate contains a series of questions. You must fill out your entry card before the debate begins. Examples of the 10 questions include:

  1. What issue will the first topic address?
  2. Which candidate will be asked to respond first in the debate?
  3. What color tie will Trump wear?
  4. Will Trump refer to Biden as “Sleepy Joe?”
  5. Will Biden and/or the moderator mention Trump’s Twitter activity?
  6. How will the candidates greet each other?
  7. Will Biden mention “Scranton?”
  8. Which candidate will be the first to be cut off by the moderator because they are over time?
  9. Will Biden play a song on his phone during the debate?
  10. Will Trump mention “fake news?”

How much you could win playing Presidential Pick’em

For each correct response, FanDuel credits your entry with points. If you have the most points after the event, you will win part of $10,000 in cash. How many shares FanDuel awards depends on how many people finish with the top number of points.

The same contest will be available for the vice presidential debate between Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris on Oct. 7, and the other two presidential debates on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.

If you don’t finish on top any of those nights, there are still other opportunities to cash in.

FanDuel will keep a running total of your points across all four events. If you finish at the top of the overall leaderboard after all four debates, you can share in a separate $10,000 pot for that placement.

Finally, FanDuel will start a pool on Oct. 21 for the general election. The format of that game will be similar and FanDuel will release details on the questions closer.

These contests represent legal ways to win some cash for your play in Oregon. Get your picks in, tune into the debates and enjoy your prize if you finish at the top.

Derek Helling Avatar
Written by

Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

View all posts by Derek Helling

Written By Derek Helling on December 3, 2020Last Updated on October 26, 2021

As COVID-19 cases surge in Oregon, one tribal casino in the state has taken the most drastic step it can to mitigate transmission of the virus.

Chinook Winds Casino closed Tuesday to protect guests and staff and will remain shuttered for at least two weeks.

While other gambling properties in Oregon remain open with restrictions, it may not be long before others follow suit. If hospitalization rates continue to skyrocket around the state, there might be little other option.

How long is Chinook Winds Casino closed for?

According to a statement from the Lincoln City casino, the property looks to reopen after two weeks. The casino will pay its staff during the closure. Additionally, the property plans to use the time to deep clean and sanitize everything on site.

“The safety of our team members and guests is our top priority,” said Michael S. Fisher, general manager of Chinook Winds. “Team members will be paid through the tentative two-week closure. We look forward to announcing our reopening.”

The resort did not disclose whether any of its staff had tested positive. The casino also did not say whether any guests with positive testing results visited recently.

Over the final week of November, Lincoln County saw a 6.2% positivity rate. That’s the highest rate for the county since mid-August.

If that rate doesn’t fall, casino executives may opt to extend the closure. Numbers in other parts of the state aren’t much better, putting other casinos in jeopardy.

A look at the situations for other Oregon casinos

Oregon is home to seven other tribal casinos. Tribal casinos on sovereign lands operate with a great deal of autonomy, only bound by the terms of their gaming compacts.

Therefore, in most cases, how they restrict their business for public health reasons is largely up to the individual tribes. Indian Head Casino, which endured a long shutdown earlier this year, is an example of this.

Indian Head Casino

The casino is open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. It is currently not offering table games, and the dining establishments only offer carryout. The casino also requires guests to submit to temperature screenings and wear face masks on the property.

Indian Head sits in Jefferson County, which the Oregon Health Authority reports as having an alarming positivity rate of nearly 52% since Nov. 29.

Kla-Mo-Ya Casino

Despite the fact that Klamath County reports no positive tests over the last period, the Klamath Tribes have closed their property through at least Dec. 18. Right now, the tentative plan is to reopen Dec. 19.

From Nov. 22 to Nov.28, the county had a 72.8% positivity rate, the peak of a steadily rising trend spanning a month and prompting the tribe’s decision to close the property.

The Mill Casino & Hotel

This Coquille Indian Tribe property resides in Coos County, which saw its positivity rate rise from 3.4% in late October to 29.9% as of Nov. 28. Since then, the county hasn’t reported any positive results.

While the casino remains open 24 hours, several of its amenities are unavailable. Management has reduced hours for its dining options and requires guests to wear face masks while on the property.

Seven Feathers Casino Resort

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians limited the casino’s hours of operation, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 11 p.m. daily. Seven Feathers has closed off half of its slot machines and restricts table games to two positions per table.

The casino requires guests to wear face masks and has closed most amenities. Douglas County has not reported any positive cases since Nov. 29 but had four weeks of a sustained rise in positivity rates prior.

Spirit Mountain Casino

Spirit Mountain is in Polk County, yet another place in which no positive tests have emerged in the past few days after a month of increasing positivity rates.

From Sunday to Thursday, the casino is open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Spirit Mountain then operates 6 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Most of the amenities are not available right now. The property requires guests to wear face masks and has closed the poker room.

Three Rivers Casino

In Lane County, the recent spike may have crested at a 44% positivity rate during the last week of November. The casino is open from 7 a.m. to 4 a.m. on a daily basis.

Dining options expect to reopen Dec. 3. The casino requires all guests to wear face masks and has banned smoking on the property indefinitely.

Wildhorse Resort & Casino

This property is open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays but scales that back to 7 a.m. t0 4 a.m. from Monday to Thursday. The casino requires guests to wear face masks and the dining options on-site are open for carryout only.

Umatilla County has had one of the highest positivity rates in the state on a consistent basis throughout the pandemic. Since mid-June, the lowest in a week’s time was 11.8%.

Hopefully, the state has seen the worst of its coronavirus woes. For now, the Kla-Mo-Ya and Chinook Winds casino are closed. Others remain open but that could change at any time.

Photo by Dreamstime
Derek Helling Avatar
Written by

Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

View all posts by Derek Helling