The unlikely NCAA Tournament hosted by Saint Peter’s has sportsbooks facing historic liabilities and puts New Jersey bookmakers in the unusual position of potentially having to pay out a losing team.
The 15th-seeded Peacocks could be found as long as 10,000-1 to win the men’s national basketball championship before the tournament began. They pulled off the upsets against Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue, became the only team to win two NCAA Tournament games as double-digit underdogs, and are the first 15 seeds to reach the Elite Eight.
Going into Sunday’s game against North Carolina, Saint Peter’s are 40-1 to win the national championship at BetMGM.
BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott says the Peacocks winning the championship would result in the biggest loss in a futures market – in any sport – in the company’s history. Scott declined to characterize the exact size of the liability, but the biggest ticket on a Peacocks national title at BetMGM is $4,000 at 200-1, which would pay $800,000 net. There are also hundreds of smaller Saint Peter’s bets at long odds.
The Peacocks are an 8.5 point underdog against the Tar Heels in the Eastern Regional Finals.
New Jersey sportsbooks are prohibited from offering betting on colleges located in the state. Saint Peter’s is in Jersey City. Still, state sportsbooks offered Eastern Region winning odds but did not include peacocks as an option. Therefore, even if Saint Peter’s upset North Carolina, New Jersey sportsbooks would pay out all the tickets on the Tar Heels as the “top finisher” in the East region. State sportsbooks are not allowed to offer a futures market without paying a winner.
On Sunday morning at the FanDuel sportsbook, 89% of the bets and 73% of the dollars wagered on the Saint Peter’s-North Carolina outright winner were on the Peacocks.