It has been a big week for legalized sports betting in America.
Over the past few days, we've seen important developments in several key states. Earlier this week, Wyoming legalized sports betting, becoming the second state in 2021 to do so (after South Dakota) and the 26th state (plus DC) overall. With Wyoming going legal, it marks the first time ever that more than half the states in the country have legalized wagering.
We've also seen big developments in Maryland, where a new plan proposed by the state Senate would allow for an unlimited amount of online and retail licenses. If it passes, Maryland would become the first ever "unlimited" state, which is great for bettors as it would allow many different sportsbooks to enter the market from which to shop for the best line.
And finally, not to be outdone, the biggest shoe to drop came on Wednesday when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reached a deal with the state legislature to bring mobile betting to New York. Bettors have been waiting for years for mobile betting in the Empire state and now it has finally arrived. New York could quickly become a massive legal betting state, as it's home to the fourth-biggest population in the country with countless professional and college teams.
Now we turn our attention to Thursday, where we have nine MLB games, seven NBA games and 11 NHL games to choose from -- along with The Masters. 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 12:30 p.m. ET. I'll be joining The Lombardi Line with Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher at 1:45 p.m. ET to offer a market update.
In the meantime, let's discuss where the money is flowing for several MLB games today...
1:35 p.m. ET: Chicago Cubs (3-3) at Pittsburgh Pirates (1-5)
This NL Central matchup features a pair of teams looking to snap losing skids. The Cubs just dropped two straight to the Brewers at home. Meanwhile, the Pirates earned a win on Opening Day but have since lost five straight. In this series opener, Chicago sends out veteran Jake Arrieta (1-0, 1.50 ERA) while the Pirates counter with lefty Tyler Anderson (0-1, 5.40 ERA). This line opened with the Cubs listed as a -140 road favorite. The public is happy to back a popular favorite like Chicago and fade the lowly Pirates. However, we've seen wiseguys buy low in Pittsburgh in their home opener, dropping the Pirates from + 130 to + 125. Pittsburgh has value as a divisional dog with a high total. Keep an eye on the weather in this one. The wind is expected to blow in from center at 10-15 MPH. The total is 8.5 with the under juiced up to -115. The under is 5-1 in Cubs games this season, while the total is 3-3 in Pirates games.
4:10 p.m. ET: Seattle Mariners (3-3) at Minnesota Twins (4-2)
Both of these teams are coming off wins as the Mariners just upset the White Sox 8-4 as + 135 home dogs while the Twins took down the Tigers 3-2 as -175 road favorites. The Mariners send out lefty Marco Gonzales (0-0, 7.50 ERA) while the Twins give the ball to ace Jose Berrios (1-0, 0.00 ERA). This line opened with Minnesota listed as a hefty -175 home favorite. Pros aren't scared off the expensive price and have backed Minnesta, driving the Twins up to -185 or -190. The Twins have value as a non-division home favorite with a line move in their favor, plus a favorite with a low total. Minnesota is + 16 in run differential, while the Mariners are -6. The Mariners are hitting .193 as a team thus far, fifth-worst in MLB; the Twins (.259) rank 8th.
7:07 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Angels (4-2) vs Toronto Blue Jays (3-3)
This non-division matchup marks the first road game for the Angels and the first "home" game for the Jays. The game will be played in Dunedin, Florida as the Jays remain locked out of Canada due to COVID restrictions. The Angels will start Griffin Canning (0-0. 0.00 ERA) while the Jays counter with Ross Stripling (0-1, 8.10 ERA). This line opened with the Jays listed as a slight -110 home favorite and the Angels an even money (+ 100) dog. The Angels have a better record and the Jays just dropped two straight to the lowly Rangers. As a result, the public is all over Mike Trout and Co. in a virtual coin flip game. However, we've seen this line move slightly further toward the Jays (-110 to -115), signaling some respected money buying low on Toronto. The Blue Jays have leaned on their pitching thus far, ranking ninth in ERA at 3.27. The Angels are 21st at 4.83.