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Sports betting roundup: Bettors get in on the action as NBA and NHL playoffs start

Sport

Sports betting roundup: Bettors get in on the action as NBA and NHL playoffs start
Sport

Sport

Sports betting roundup: Bettors get in on the action as NBA and NHL playoffs start

2024-04-23 00:33 Last Updated At:00:42

It’s officially playoff time in the NBA and NHL and bettors around the country jumped right into the action.

Both leagues began their postseasons last week, with the NBA play-in games starting Tuesday and the first round opening over the weekend. The NHL’s regular season ended Thursday, and the first round of the playoffs began Saturday.

The NBA Finals will start on June 6, while the Stanley Cup Final dates haven’t been set but will likely be the first week of June.

Home teams dominated in both leagues. In the NBA’s eight Game 1s, home teams went 7-1 against the spread, with all home teams winning. Oklahoma City was the only team not to cover. The Thunder were 8.5-point favorites and needed a late rally to beat New Orleans 94-92. The Bucks (over Pacers) and Clippers (over Mavericks) won as home underdogs.

In the NHL’s six Game 1s over the weekend, the home teams went undefeated. In each game, the home team received the most tickets and the most money for moneyline bets.

Sunday’s matchup between the Jets and Avalanche saw the over (5.5) hit only 15 minutes into the game, and the Jets went on to win 7-6.

The Clippers beat the Mavericks 109-97 in Game 1 on Sunday. With Kawhi Leonard out with an injury, the Clippers closed as 3.5-point underdogs at home. Bettors at BetMGM Sportsbook backed the Mavericks, accounting for 93% of the money with against-the-spread bets for the game.

Tyler Reddick won the NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, taking the lead for good on the final lap. He went into the race with +2500 odds to win and only accounted for 1.6% of the tickets and 1% of the money. On the final lap, Reddick was in third place out of Turn 4, but earned a slight 0.208-second win.

Ryan Garcia defeated Devin Haney by a majority decision on Saturday at the Barclays Center. He had three knockdowns during the fight. Garcia closed at +375 to win after opening at +333. Despite being the underdog, 87% of the bets and 51% of the money were on Garcia to win. Additionally, he was +6600 to win by majority decision.

The NFL Draft is Thursday through Saturday in Detroit, with plenty of storylines to follow, especially at the top of the draft with quarterbacks.

NFL Draft odds at BetMGM Sportsbook have moved quite a bit and will continue until the names are called Thursday night.

The Bears will almost certainly take Caleb Williams at No. 1 overall, and he is -10000 to be the first pick. But it gets interesting after that.

Odds to be the No. 2 overall pick (Commanders) have Jayden Daniels at -155 and Drake Maye +125, with J.J. McCarthy lurking at +1800. Then at No. 3 overall (Patriots), Maye is -130, Daniels +160 and McCarthy +300.

McCarthy has climbed the draft boards in a big way over the last few months. When markets opened, he was +20000 to be the No. 2 overall pick.

This column was provided to The Associated Press by BetMGM Sportsbook.

AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports

Boston Bruins' Morgan Geekie (39) checks Toronto Maple Leafs' Nicholas Robertson (89) during the third period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins' Morgan Geekie (39) checks Toronto Maple Leafs' Nicholas Robertson (89) during the third period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Vancouver Canucks' Tyler Myers, back right, checks Nashville Predators' Ryan O'Reilly during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Vancouver Canucks' Tyler Myers, back right, checks Nashville Predators' Ryan O'Reilly during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) goes up to shoot against Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, right, during the second half in Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) goes up to shoot against Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, right, during the second half in Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) looks to shoot at the basket as Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) and forward Jayson Tatum (0) defend in the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) looks to shoot at the basket as Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) and forward Jayson Tatum (0) defend in the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

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Fani Willis and judge presiding over Georgia Trump election case defeat challengers

2024-05-22 09:55 Last Updated At:10:00

ATLANTA (AP) — Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the Georgia prosecutor who brought a sprawling racketeering case against former President Donald Trump and others, has won the Democratic primary in her bid for reelection.

Willis defeated progressive attorney Christian Wise Smith in the primary election and is now set to face off against Republican Courtney Kramer in the fall. Willis told reporters after her victory that the voters sent a message that “people want a DA that is just, that treats everybody equally and that works hard, and they know that they have that in me.”

Meanwhile, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, the judge who was randomly assigned to preside over the election interference case, also fended off a challenger, winning a nonpartisan election to keep his seat.

The Trump election case and racketeering cases against well-known rappers have boosted Willis’ public profile. But on Tuesday night she touted her efforts to fight violent crime by being tough on gang members while also saying she worked to give second chances to first offenders and created programs to catch at-risk youth before they get caught up in the criminal justice system.

“The people said yes to justice. The people said yes to safety. The people said yes to integrity. The people said yes to Fani Willis," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said to applause Tuesday night at Willis' victory party.

With her name recognition, the advantages of incumbency and a hefty fundraising haul, Willis’ victory in the primary was not terribly surprising. As she moves on to the general election, the odds would seem to be in her favor as well. Fulton County includes most of the city of Atlanta and is heavily Democratic, about 73% of its voters having cast ballots for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

But Willis was taking nothing for granted after her primary win, telling supporters, “The campaign does not end tonight. It begins tonight.”

“My opponent is completely unqualified,” she said, later adding, “But while she is inexperienced and unqualified and does not represent the values of my county, don't get confused. She is a real threat because of who backs her and how they back her.”

Willis urged her supporters to continue to back her financially, noting that there was a store selling campaign merchandise onsite during her victory party.

Kramer, who has ties to some of Trump’s most prominent allies in Georgia and has drawn campaign contributions from both the county and state Republican parties, told reporters when she qualified to run that the Trump indictment prompted her to challenge Willis. In a post on the social media platform X earlier this month, she wrote, “The future of Fulton and safety in our community should not be controlled by self-interested politicians who use their office for political law fare. It’s time for a change.”

McAfee has been on the bench since last year when Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed him to fill an empty seat. He has since become one of the most high-profile judges in Georgia since he was randomly assigned last year to preside over the election interference case. With the added advantages of incumbency, strong bipartisan backing from heavy hitters and an impressive fundraising haul, he was the likely favorite to win.

Willis and Smith both worked in the Fulton County district attorney’s office under then-District Attorney Paul Howard. They both challenged their former boss in the Democratic primary in 2020. Willis and Howard advanced to a runoff that she won, and she ran unopposed in the November general election that year.

Kramer ran unopposed in the Republican primary Tuesday and has already been focusing her attention on attacking Willis. A lawyer who interned in the Trump White House, she has ties to some of the former president's prominent allies in Georgia.

Kramer and her backers will undoubtedly continue to focus on what even some of Willis' closest allies have seen as a major misstep — her romantic relationship with a special prosecutor she hired for the election case. Claims by defense attorneys in the case that the romance created a conflict of interest threatened to derail the prosecution.

McAfee ultimately ruled that it did not create a conflict of interest that should disqualify Willis, but he said she could only continue the case if the special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, stepped aside. Wade promptly left the case, but a defense appeal of McAfee's ruling is now pending before the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Wade was among those gathered at an event space in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood Tuesday evening to celebrate Willis' win.

Willis obtained an indictment in August against Trump and 18 others, accusing them of participating in an alleged illegal scheme to overturn Trump's narrow loss in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Four people have pleaded guilty after reaching deals with prosecutors. Trump and the 14 others who remain have pleaded not guilty.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis celebrates winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis celebrates winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens takes a photograph with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis before she speaks and after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens takes a photograph with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis before she speaks and after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis celebrates with supporters after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis celebrates with supporters after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

In this photo combination of file images, Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee presides in court, left, while Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, right, looks on during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case, March, 1, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photos/Alex Slitz)

In this photo combination of file images, Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee presides in court, left, while Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, right, looks on during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case, March, 1, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photos/Alex Slitz)

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