The Saban Bowl has once again arrived.
The storied rivalry between LSU and Alabama gains a new chapter when the two SEC foes square off in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. This time next year, with online sports betting on the threshold of launching in Louisiana, there is little doubt that this matchup will draw plenty of wagering action in the Pelican State.
While online sportsbooks won’t go live until possibly January 2022, this will be the first college football weekend in Louisiana with legalized sports betting as the first commercial retail sportsbooks began accepting wagers earlier this week. And with LSU and Alabama ready to renew its rivalry, the timing was impeccable.
Certainly, bettors interested in putting down action on the game (or any game) this weekend can visit one of the four brick-and-mortar operations that have opened. But for those looking to get a glimpse of how online sports betting in Louisiana will look, we’ve got you covered.
Louisiana lawmakers green light college football betting
There’s little doubt that one of the biggest catalysts behind Louisiana sports betting will be football. Specifically, college football.
Sitting in the heart of SEC country, the Pelican State boasts a passionate fan base for LSU as well as other Football Bowl Subdivision programs in the state. Not to mention any alumni and rabid fans of other SEC schools in neighboring states.
Alabama, for example.
So it would make all the sense in the world for lawmakers and regulators to authorize legal betting on college sports.
If Louisiana betting apps were live today, all bettors in the state would need to do is download their preferred online sportsbook, sign up, deposit into their account and place a mobile wager.
For this weekend, that bet may likely be on LSU visiting No. 2 Alabama.
How LSU football betting will look in Louisiana
For our purposes, we’re going to look at arguably the most prominent sports betting brand in the state: Caesars Sportsbook.
With naming rights to the Superdome, owner of the state’s only land-based commercial casino and sponsoring partner of LSU athletics, Caesars Louisiana pre-launched its online sportsbook toward the end of October. While users can create their mobile accounts and take advantage of an early sign-up offer, they cannot placed an online wager through the app just yet. Rather, they must visit one of the four commercial retail sportsbooks that opened or the Betfred brick-and-mortar at Paragon Casino Resort.
That said, if Caesars’ app was fully operational now, bettors could open the platform and see that, well, Alabama is heavily favored.
First, users in Louisiana (and within one of the 55 parishes that authorized sports betting) will see the three main types of bets: moneyline, point spread and over/under.
Placing a wager on the moneyline means you are betting on that team to win the game straight up, regardless of how many points. A number with a minus sign next to it means that team is favored; plus sign indicates the underdog.
For example, in the LSU-Alabama showdown, the Tigers (4-4) head in with odds of +2000 on the moneyline, according to Caesars in Arizona (where it most recently launched), while the Crimson Tide hold a line of -10,000. Those numbers tell bettors how much they will profit if their wager wins.
So, if someone takes a flier on LSU to pull off the massive upset, they would wager $100 to win $2,000. Conversely, $100 on Alabama would net $1.
It is the point spread that more relates to the margin of victory. Similar to the moneyline, if bettors see a number with a minus sign next to it, that team is favored to win by that many points. In this instance, bettors would bet on if a team will “cover the spread.”
Caesars, for example, lists Alabama as a 28.5-point favorite. Users wagering on the point spread would then decide if they believe the Tide would in fact win by 29 or more points or if LSU could “keep it close” and lose by 28 or fewer points.
The third of the Big 3 types of common bets is the over/under, which concerns the overall score of the game. With this wager, it doesn’t matter which team wins. All that matters is how many points they put up.
Caesars oddsmakers put the combined score at 66.5 points. Bettors would decide if both LSU and Alabama would combine for 67 or more points or 66 or fewer.
College betting allowed in Louisiana, but no individual props
Similar to several other jurisdictions with legal sports betting, Louisiana has authorized wagering on college sports. And while customers can also bet on individual futures, such as who will win the Heisman Trophy, they cannot put money down on individual prop bets.
Bettors will likely see such markets on NFL games, like, “Will Jameis Winston pass for more than 250 yards?” These types of markets will not be available for college sports, though.
When it comes to college football games, Louisiana bettors will only be able to wager on team-specific events.
(Retail) sports betting up and running in Louisiana
As noted, retail sportsbooks have started taking bets in Louisiana. So it’s not as if bettors in the state are completely without wagering options ahead of LSU-Alabama.
If they desired, Louisianans could travel to one of those locations and place a wager on LSU (1-8 against the Crimson Tide over the past nine games) miraculously upsetting Alabama. In Tuscaloosa, no less. (Although, the Tigers did accomplish that feat two years ago. Albeit during LSU’s run to the national championship.)
Maybe bettors believe LSU will cover that humongous 28.5-point spread. (Eight of the last 10 games between the two programs have been decided by single digits.)
Yet while Louisianans have to visit retail sportsbooks to actually put money on the game, they can download one of several sports betting apps that have pre-launched in the Pelican State and create their accounts to claim early sign-up bonuses.
And this time next year, with online betting alive and well in Louisiana, this LSU-Alabama rivalry will have even more hype and attention around it.