Saint Peterâ€™s Peacocks: An Unforgettable Cinderella Run in March Madness
The Saint Peterâ€™s Peacocks, a small Catholic school hailing from Jersey City and representing the MAAC conference, have etched their name in basketball history with a sensational run in the 2022 March Madness tournament. Against all odds, the #15 seed Peacocks managed to upset formidable opponents like #2 Kentucky, #7 Murray State, and #3 Purdue, becoming the first #15 seed to secure a spot in the Elite 8. However, there’s a catch for bettors residing in New Jersey â€“ they are prohibited from placing wagers on the Peacocks.
An Impressive March Madness Journey
During the 2021-22 NCAA basketball season, sports bettors in New Jersey faced a frustrating situation. They were unable to wager on games played by Seton Hall, Rutgers, and Saint Peterâ€™s, which didn’t seem like a major concern during the regular season. However, as soon as March Madness began and Saint Peterâ€™s emerged as Cinderella and giant killers, the inability to bet on them became a considerable issue.
According to ESPN’s David Purdum, Saint Peterâ€™s opened at an incredible 10,000 to 1 odds to win the March Madness championship at the Circa Sportsbook in Las Vegas. As the tournament progressed and they reached the Sweet 16, the Peacocks’ odds improved to +3000. With only eight teams remaining, Saint Peterâ€™s still stands as a long shot on the board, listed at +4000 odds to claim the championship.
Artificial State Barriers Drive the Underground Betting Market
New Jersey residents faced a restrictive rule that prohibited them from betting on local college teams like Saint Peterâ€™s. To place bets on the Peacocks, they had to cross the Hudson River to New York City or head to Pennsylvania. Alternatively, they could turn to neighborhood bookies or resort to placing bets with illegal offshore sportsbooks. This situation stems from state regulations aimed at protecting the integrity of collegiate athletics, but unfortunately, it only drives bettors towards the unregulated and shady corners of the betting industry.
“DraftKings believes that creating artificial barriers for customers, such as restricting markets on in-state college teams and college events hosted within state lines, deters bettors from moving to the legal market and ultimately minimizes revenue opportunities for states,” said DraftKings in a statement, highlighting the negative impact of such restrictions.
Historic Triumphs and Overcoming Big Odds
Ah, March Madness â€“ the time when first-round upsets become the norm. While it was surprising when Saint Peterâ€™s upset Kentucky in the first round, it wasn’t an entirely shocking outcome. Typically, underdogs and double-digit seeds that pull off first-round upsets have a decent chance of continuing their success in the second round and securing a spot in the Sweet 16. Staying true to this trend, Saint Peterâ€™s followed suit and achieved a remarkable victory against #7 Murray State.
With their unprecedented feat, the Peacocks became only the third #15 seed team in history to secure a spot in the Sweet 16. Despite the expert projections that their run would end after two incredible victories, as no #15 seed had ever won in the Sweet 16, Saint Peterâ€™s boldly confronted those odds and emerged victorious against #3 Purdue, sealing a 67-64 triumph.
Saint Peterâ€™s guard Doug Edert expressed the team’s excitement, stating, “We’re making history, and we look forward to making more history.”
On paper, Purdue appeared superior, especially with their size and rebounding ability. Oddsmakers set the line at +13, but Saint Peterâ€™s defied the odds once again. Emerging as underdogs in all their first three games, they not only covered the spread but secured outright victories as well. Their historic achievement as the first-ever #15 seed to advance to the Elite 8 presents an exciting opportunity to secure a trip to the Final Four, with only North Carolina standing in their way.
State Borders and the Dance Between New York and New Jersey
Ever since New Jersey legalized gambling, New Yorkers have made the journey across bridges and through tunnels to indulge in the excitement of gambling. However, once New York state legalized online betting, the tables turned. New Yorkers could now keep gambling revenue in their home state instead of it leaking out to neighboring states like New Jersey and Connecticut.
March Madness introduces a peculiar situation as both New York and New Jersey host college basketball teams. In the first round, New York bettors faced difficulty in finding the point spread on the Arkansas versus Colgate game due to Colgate’s presence as a New York-based team. However, New Yorkers had the luxury of wagering on Saint Peterâ€™s. DraftKings even offered an exclusive “odds boost” promotion, incentivizing New Jersey bettors to visit New York City or cross the state border to place their bets on the Peacocks.
Undoubtedly, as a Cinderella team emerges and advances in the tournament, bandwagon bettors flock to support them. This phenomenon, combined with America’s love for underdogs, leads to a surge in wagers on teams like Saint Peterâ€™s. Consequently, the Peacocks gained popularity among bettors across the country, from Las Vegas to New York City. Sadly, however, New Jersey residents interested in backing the Peacocks were left contemplating New Jersey transit schedules to make a quick trip into Manhattan.
Newark Airport: A Betting Curiosity
Delayed flights are never pleasant, and I recently experienced a grueling nine-hour flight delay thanks to United Airlines. With plenty of time on my hands, I decided to check out the DraftKings app on my phone. Two things caught my attention: there was an option to place bets on the Oscars, yet I couldn’t place a wager on Saint Peterâ€™s.
During my visit to New York City over the previous four days, I had placed bets on March Madness games with my brother. This has been a tradition for us for nearly two decades, starting with trips to Las Vegas to bet on games at sportsbooks on the Strip. Even when we lived in different states, we always planned to reunite for March Madness.
This year’s March Madness held extra significance as it marked the first time I had seen my brother since the pandemic began, making it our first March Madness together since 2019. Additionally, since I had traveled to New York City, it was also the first time we could legally bet on March Madness in New York state. We no longer needed to fly to Sin City to partake in the thrills of the annual college basketball tournament.
While we enjoyed the advantage of backing Saint Peterâ€™s in the first two rounds, our cousins from New Jersey faced the frustration of being unable to legally place their bets.
However, even in New York state, we faced restrictions when it came to betting on the 94th Academy Awards. It was a peculiar situation, and I was disappointed to find myself unable to bet on the Oscars while in the Big Apple. Therefore, it came as quite a surprise when I opened the DraftKings app at Newark Airport, located in New Jersey, and discovered a page dedicated to betting on the 2022 Oscars.
This incident once again highlighted how different states have different rules and regulations when it comes to gambling.
The Saint Peterâ€™s Peacocks’ remarkable Cinderella run in the 2022 March Madness tournament has captivated sports fans across the nation. Their underdog victories against tough opponents have made NCAA basketball history, but unfortunately, New Jersey residents have been barred from placing bets on their beloved Peacocks. This restriction, aimed at safeguarding the integrity of collegiate sports, has inadvertently driven bettors towards unregulated and illegal betting channels