By: Shane Lambert

Vermont legalized sports betting in June 2023, however, the platforms for sports betting have not yet been launched. It’s an interesting situation in the state because fans that are looking for an in-state team to back just aren’t likely to find many betting lines. The University of Vermont’s men’s basketball team should have lines available but therein lays a bit of a problem: college sports have seen limitations placed on bettings in states that have already legalized sports betting.

Vermont sports betting: will it be like Colorado and Iowa?

As an illustration, Colorado passed a law legalizing sports betting. However, they imposed restrictions on player-prop betting specifically for collegiate games. Player props involve betting on individual players’ performance in a particular game. While this type of betting is widely available for various sports, Colorado decided to prohibit it for NCAA sports. Similarly, Iowa, which legalized sports betting in 2019, also implemented limitations on player prop betting.

One background issue with collegiate limitations is that college kids can be poor. You don’t want to invite corruption by having a college player sabotage his own stats.

Also, there are issues with non-professionals having access to valuable information. What happens when a student volunteer for a college football team learns that the quarterback is injured? What happens when a kid on the basketball team hobbles into class in front of his peers with an unreported injury? On this latter question, let’s consider what one college teacher had to say.

Jeff Edelstein, writing at SportsHandle, wrote on May 16th, 2023: “I teach at an NCAA D-1 school, and I’ve had basketball players in my class walk in all taped up and limping and moving slow. These players would undoubtedly be listed as ‘questionable’ if there were injury reporting….How much money is that kid limping into my 4:30 COM-105 class worth? Could be a ton.”

The player wouldn’t “undoubtedly” be listed as “questionable.” He might be listed as “Out” or “Doubtful” as well.

How well would this really work?

The value of such information could be overstated. If you see a college kid limping, then betting against his stats in the upcoming game doesn’t necessarily win you a thing. A lot of sportsbooks require that a player appear in a game for any player props to be action. Otherwise, the bets are refunded and you’ve wasted your time.

The scenario where knowledge of an injury translates into profits is slimmer than many might think. How it could work is if you are able to bet the UNDER, say for a player’s points total, with full knowledge that he’s limping around on gameday. The coach decides to play him (ie. the bet becomes valid) but the coach limits his minutes due to injury. Your bet now has a better chance of winning because of your observation.

However, if the athlete doesn’t play in the game, then you’ve wasted your time. As the old saying goes, time is money. Also, I guarantee you there will be a time when you overrate an injury’s impact. An ‘injured’ player that hits the OVER for points despite limping earlier on gameday could be a major bankroll drain. All that said, knowledge of an unreported injury is to the bettor’s advantage. Just don’t think it’s a dunk for a winning bet or you will get burned.

There are plenty of issues surrounding college sports, issues that I think have a lot to do with the fact that college athletes — and those around them — aren’t usually rich. For them, the risk might be worth it.

News for Vermont sports betting outlines still pending

In September, NCAA football will be in full swing, although the University of Vermont lacks its own team. College basketball will then take the spotlight in November. Unfortunately, the Vermont Catamounts face slim odds of 250 to 1 to win the NCAA title, according to Unibet. However, the complexion of the specific betting lines for their games is yet to be determined. Currently, sports betting is legal in Vermont, but the launch of such activities is still pending.