Those of us who tend to use up all the bullets in our football betting arsenal with the Super Bowl might want to keep some in reserve.
Those of us who accustomed to diving into wagering hibernation after the confetti drop and the final handoff of the NFL season -- the Lombardi Trophy to the NFL's championship team -- might want to consider a quick nap instead.
Another gridiron gambling opportunity is just around the bend.
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The Alliance of American Football (AAF), the sport's newest start-up, will tee it up barely six days after the Super Bowl. What's more, it intends to be bettor-friendly, largely by providing plenty of data -- even real time during games -- to accommodate those inclined to plop down a few bucks on the outcomes.
"Gambling, fantasy and mobile gaming continue to grow," Charlie Ebersol, the league co-founder and CEO, told SportsLine, in explaining the emphasis of data delivery. "We believe the future of sports information flows through the league's ability to deliver it instantly and accurately."
The AAF has even struck a deal with MGM Resorts that involves sponsorship and, in turn, giving them proprietary data.
Other factors will enhance the chances of success from a betting perspective, industry observers agree.
There is a compact and uniform schedule of four weekend games -- two on Saturday night (Eastern), two on Sunday afternoons -- covering 10 weeks. After a TV doubleheader in Week One, a single game will be aired in subsequent weeks. Many players, fresh out of their final college seasons, will be recognizable to some.
"I think it'll draw fairly well," said Jay Rood, MGM Resorts VP of race and sports. "Some games might draw (wagering dollars) like a mid-major college game."
At offshore sportsbook BetDSI, odds consultant Jacob Crossman noted, "Since the AAF looks to be embracing betting and the league has a stable television deal, we are expecting to have more action than on previous spring leagues like the AFL, NFL Europe and the XFL. At the end of the day, it's football, and Americans love to bet on football more than any other sport."
With the proximity to the NFL season, "there will be spillover," predicted SportsLine expert Micah Roberts, former sportsbook director for Station Casinos. "You'll have [people] in withdrawal from NFL betting, not ready to jump into college hoops or the NBA yet."
WISEGUYS EYEING AAF
Any newly birthed sports entity poses challenges for sportsbooks -- specifically, oddsmakers who have little to go on to set lines.
Who knows how individual players will fare in a different setting? And what about the coaches? Will their schemes and philosophies lead to low or high scores?
As a result, the AAF could be especially appealing, at least early on, to the "sharps" -- professional bettors who sometimes wield an advantage in fringe sports or with infant leagues.
"My guess is, the sharps community will love getting involved in this," Rood said.
GOING BIG ON PROPS
If there is any doubt about the AAF's awareness of gambling, consider its break-through plan to compensate players in part on the amount of prop bets placed on them.
"Engagement bonuses, " as Ebersol describes them, "will reward players who actively participate in the success of the league on and off the field."
Crossman of BetDSI can barely contain his optimism.
"I love how proactive the AAF has been with wagering," he said. "It's a bit of fresh air considering the NFL's contempt for the betting world and its hypocrisy towards it over the last few decades.
"The NBA set a good benchmark for embracing sports betting, and it looks like the AAF is going to take it to an entirely new level. We hope this league has some longevity."