Ohio sports bettors, the day you’ve been longing for is finally here. Sports betting is now live and legal in the state.
Now comes the biggest question: what should you bet on first?
Well, you’re lucky, because there are plenty of options when it comes to placing the perfect first bet at a brand-spanking new Ohio sportsbook, on a sports betting app, or at sports betting kiosk.
Here are some of the best options.
Betting on the Cleveland Browns vs. Washington Commanders
The only thing better than being gifted legal sports betting in Ohio, is being gifted a legal sports betting launch in Ohio on a NFL Sunday.
You have a full NFL schedule to choose from, including the Cleveland Browns heading to DC to take on the Washington Commanders.
The Browns can’t make the NFL Playoffs, but they can play spoiler for a Commanders team that is currently holding the final NFC Playoff spot. Cleveland enters the game as a slight underdog — +1.5 or +2, depending on the sportsbook — and oddsmakers are expecting a low-scoring game with the over/under total hovering around 40.
Maybe you don’t fully trust the Browns. Understandable. How about placing your first bet on Nick Chubb to score a touchdown? If you’re feeling real adventurous, you could try out a same-game parlay with Amari Cooper to score at anytime, DeShaun Watson’s rushing yards and the two teams to hit the over.
You’re going to find that NFL odds markets are practically endless, so you might as well explore them on Day 1.
Monday Night Football: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills
Perhaps the biggest game of Week 17 of the NFL season features Ohio’s other, more successful team, the Cincinnati Bengals. They take on the Buffalo Bills Monday night, with the Bills listed as less than a field goal road favorite.
Both teams have clinched a spot in the AFC Playoffs, but find themselves in a battle for the No. 1 seed. Buffalo currently holds that spot, but the Bengals are just a game behind.
Ohio sportsbooks expect Joe Burrow and Josh Allen to put up some points, as the over/under total is near 50.
You’ll have to wait an extra day to see the results of a bet on this game, of course, but it’s should make for an exciting second night of sports betting in Ohio.
Betting on New Year’s Day bowl games the day after New Year’s Day
If you’re waiting until Monday anyway, you have a handful of college football bowls to choose from.
None of the state’s teams will be playing on Jan. 2, but you have a pair of New Year’s Six bowls, the Citrus Bowl and something called the ReliaQuest Bowl to bet on.
The big one is at 5 p.m., when No. 11 Penn State plays No. 8 Utah in the Rose Bowl. Utah is favored by about a field goal, depending on the sportsbook.
That follows the Cotton Bowl Classic between No. 16 Tulane and No. 10 USC at 1 p.m. The Trojans are a very slight favorite over the Group of 5 representative.
Also kicking off at 1 p.m. is the Citrus Bowl between No. 17 LSU and Purdue. The Tigers are a two-touchdown favorite.
No. 22 Mississippi State plays Illinois at noon in the opening game of the day, with the Bulldogs listed as less than a field-goal favorite.
NBA betting: Cavs vs. Bulls
Maybe football isn’t your thing, and you’re more of an NBA fan.
If so, you get nearly a full slate of NBA games to bet on Monday. That includes the Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the Chicago Bulls at 7 p.m.
The Cavs have put together a solid start to the season, while the Bulls are floating between play-in tournament and Lottery team.
Player props will be available for you to delve into, including how many points Donovan Mitchell will score and how many rebounds Jarrett Allen will grab. It will give you a chance to check out NBA betting markets in what should be a fairly low-pressure matchup.
NHL betting: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Ottawa Senators
Those interested in betting on the NHL will have to wait until Tuesday, Jan. 3, to bet on the Blue Jackets. They’re on the road that day, taking on the Ottawa Senators.
It hasn’t been a great season for the Jackets, but if hockey is your sport, this game will allow you to get used to some of the quirks associated with betting on it.
You’re going to notice that, outside of extreme circumstances, all the spreads will be -1.5 for the favorite, and will carry varying odds.
Of course, you could simply bet on Johnny Gadreau to score a goal during the game, or record an assist. Or, any of the Senators to score against a Blue Jackets defense that is second-worst in the league.
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