Just a few short weeks ago, it looked as though Florida was set to become the latest state to legalize sports betting. On May 19, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new gaming compact with the Seminole tribes to bring legal betting to the Sunshine state. However, the deal is stuck in limbo due to legal challenges. Essentially, sports betting is in legal purgatory as it awaits further federal approval from the Department of the Interior.
Luckily for Florida sports bettors, news broke on Wednesday that both DraftKings and FanDuel are spearheading an attempt to take sports betting away from the lawmakers and courts and into the hands of its citizens. The two major operators are leading an effort to make sports betting a ballot initiative for the 2022 election. In order to get on the ballot, the initiative will need to collect nearly 1 million signatures. Then it will need to get 60% of the vote in the 2022 election in order to pass and become law. According to multiple sources, the initiative has already been filed and is likely to be accepted by the Florida Secretary of State in the coming days.
Florida is home to roughly 21 million citizens, making it the third-largest state in the country. It is also home to countless pro and college sports teams, along with millions of rabid sports fans and bettors. If the Florida ballot initiative were to pass in 2022, it would become the biggest crown jewel yet in the widespread legalization of sports betting in America.
Now it's on to Thursday, where bettors have another loaded slate to choose from including 10 MLB games, 1 NBA playoff game and 1 NHL playoff game. For an updated breakdown of Thursday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 1 p.m. ET. I'll be joining The Lombardi Line with Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher at 1:30 p.m. ET to offer a market update. I'll also be joining Rush Hour with Danny Burke at 7 p.m. ET to discuss tonight's late action.
In the meantime, let's discuss where the money is flowing for tonight's NBA playoff game tonight.
9 p.m. ET: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Clippers
This is Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Suns lead the series 2-0. Phoenix won the opener 120-114, covering as 4-point home favorites. Then Phoenix won Game 2 on a buzzer beater, shocking the Clippers 104-103, although Los Angeles managed to cover as 4.5-point road dogs. Now the series shifts to Los Angeles. This Game 3 line opened at consensus pick'em. Early Tuesday afternoon the news broke that Chris Paul was upgraded to probable and is expected to return to the lineup after a two-game absence due to COVID protocols. We immediately saw respected money hammer the Suns with Paul returning, which forced oddsmakers to shift the Suns to a 1-point road favorite. The next move will be critical. If you see this line rise to -1.5 or higher, that will signal further Suns money across the market. If it drops back to a pick'em or flips back to Clippers, that will be a sign of pro money buying low on a desperate Clippers team in a virtual must-win game. Road favorites are 13-7 ATS (65%) this postseason. Short favorites -5 or less are 29-18 ATS (62%). The Clippers match a favorite wiseguy system on teams down 0-2 coming back home. Historically, it has been profitable to back these desperate teams in the first quarter and first half (Clippers are -0.5 for the first quarter and -1 for the first half). We've also seen some over money show up with Paul upgraded to probable. The total opened at 218.5 and has been bet up to 221. Kawhi Leonard (knee) remains out for this game. Leading 2-0, the Suns are -800 favorites to advance to the NBA Finals (89% implied probability). The Clippers are + 550 underdogs.
Updated NBA Title Odds
Suns + 110
Bucks + 145
Hawks + 750
Clippers + 1400
Remember to check the VSiN Betting Splits every day for money and ticket counts so you can tell who the public is betting on.