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Market Insights: Massachusetts moves toward legalized sports betting

For nearly two years, dating to the Supreme Court overturning PASPA (the federal ban on sports betting) in 2018, the state of Massachusetts has been studying the issue of legalized sports betting. Over the course of that time, Massachusetts has watched thousands of its residents leave the state and travel to neighboring Rhode Island and New Hampshire to place a legal bet. Across the country, there are now 20 states who have legalized betting overall, with several more in the pipeline in the coming years.

But late last week, Massachusetts bettors (like myself) finally got some good news.

On Friday, a bill to legalize sports betting in the Bay State advanced out of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. The bill would allow anyone over 21 to place a bet as long as they are physically located within state borders. Best of all, mobile and online betting would be included, as well as betting in-person at casinos. Mobile accounts for the vast majority of bets placed in legal states (more than 80% in come cases). Lawmakers hope to have legal betting in Massachusetts up and running in time for Week 1 of the NFL. Lawmakers expect $20 to $25 million in tax revenue for the state each year.

Massachusetts could end up being a massive legalized betting market. Between the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics it is home to one of the most die-hard sports fan bases in the country. Governor Charlie Baker has already voiced his support for legalization. Fingers crossed! 

Monday's action features a whopping 11 college basketball games, 7 NBA games and 2 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Meantime, let's discuss a pair of primetime Monday college basketball games receiving sharp action from respected pro bettors.

7 p.m. ET: NC State (18-11) at Duke (23-6, ranked 7th)

In a light Monday night of college hoops action, this ACC showdown is currently the most heavily bet game on the board. Duke is struggling mightily as of late, losing two straight and three of its last four. The Blue Devils fell to Virginia on Saturday 52-50 as 3.5-point favorites. Gambler's Fallacy says Duke is a great team and "due" for a big bounce back win and blowout. However, sharps are eyeing another buy-low opportunity to bet against the overvalued Dukies. This line opened with Duke listed as a 13-point home favorite. Sharps immediately got down on NC State + 13 which has since dropped the line down to 12.5. The Wolfpack have value as an unranked conference road dog against a ranked opponent. They also beat Duke 88-66 as 6.5-point dogs back on February 19. Ken Pom has Duke winning this game by 12 points (82-70). 

9 p.m. ET: Texas Tech (18-11, ranked 22nd) at Baylor (25-3, ranked 3rd)

Both of these Big 12 teams are hoping for a long run in the Big Dance, but have fallen on hard times as of late. Texas Tech is riding a two game losing skid, most recently falling to Texas straight up 68-58 as 11.5-point favorites. Meanwhile, after starting the season 24-1, Baylor has dropped two of their last three games. On Saturday, the Bears fell to TCU 75-72 as 9-point favorites. This line opened with Baylor listed as an 8-point home favorite. The public still believes in the formerly top-ranked Bears with two-thirds of bets laying the points. However, despite this lopsided support, we've seen the line drop slightly down to 7.5, signaling sharp reverse line movement on the Red Raiders + 8. Texas Tech is a conference road dog and a top contrarian play in a late-night heavily bet game. The Red Raiders are also a buy-low "bad" ATS team (13-16) against a sell-high "good" ATS team (Baylor 18-10). This is also a revenge spot for Texas Tech, which lost to Baylor 57-52 on Jan. 7. 

Remember: the betting market is fluid and changes as sharp action comes in. Be sure to monitor the latest odds via our FREE VSiN College Basketball Live Odds page.

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