The Washington Wizards and NBC Sports are testing the sports betting waters by offering in-game predictions contests.
West Virginia sports betting is likely to benefit from the eight-game “Predict the Game” test as part of the regional network where the contests are available.
Sports betting on TV
The first Predict the Game broadcast was on Jan. 11 when the Wizards hosted the Milwaukee Bucks.
The free-to-enter Predict the Game broadcast gives fans a chance to predict various outcomes through a series of questions that will appear on screen during the game.
The innovative telecast will be on NBC Sports Washington Plus, while a traditional broadcast will run on NBC Sports Washington.
The Predict the Game broadcast will include the questions, leaderboards, game stats and of course, the game. The winner of the contest and $500 appears during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.
Damon Phillips, general manager of NBC Sports Washington, talked about the exciting new offering to the Associated Press.
“From a fan perspective, I’m sure fans would want to be able to sit on their couch, press a button and place a bet. That’s the best fan experience that can happen. Will that happen? That’s something that has to be sorted out over time.”
The questions from the first game included:
- Will the Wizards be leading with five minutes left in the first quarter?
- Will the total score at halftime be odd or even?
- Thomas Bryant has reached double digits in seven of his last 10 games, will he tonight?
- Which team will be the first to get to 50?
- Which team will be first to score 75 points?
- Which team will be first to 25 rebounds?
- Which team will hit the next three-pointer?
- Will Tomas Satoransky score more than 20 points tonight?
- Will the score at the end of the third quarter be odd or even?
- Which team will be first to score 100 points?
Players must enter Predict the Game at nbcsportswashington.com/predict and can join the contest any time during the game.
WV sportsbooks the perfect place to watch the games
The new telecast is on NBC Sports’ supplemental channel, NBC Sports Washington Plus. However, not everyone will have access to the cable channel.
Not to worry, though, West Virginia is home to five sportsbooks that will likely carry the games:
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier
- Mardi Gras Casino and Resort
- Wheeling Island Hotel
Currently, players must submit predictions through the NBC Sports Washington website. Whether or not predictions can be entered through a WV mobile sports betting app in the future is unknown. If NBC sports expands on the concept, then a partnership with an online sportsbook is likely in the cards.
WV sports betting will benefit from more exposure
Because WV sports betting is in its infancy, the regional exposure to sports betting will undoubtedly help the nascent industry grow.
It helps that the owner of the Wizards, Ted Leonsis, is enthusiastic about the future of sports betting. Leonsis also owns the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
Leonsis’ son, Zach Leonsis, senior vice president for the ownership group, Monumental Sports and Entertainment talked about the potential of a television sports betting experience.
“If this performs well, we would seriously contemplate a larger rollout of similarly programmed events and potentially tie to an actual betting experience.”
It seems evident that the Washington Wizards in-game contests are just the beginning of NBC’s entry into sports betting. Of course, sports betting is only legal in a handful of states.
If the test goes well, and there is no reason to think it won’t, look for sports betting in prime time in the not-so-distant future.