Thursday, West Virginia became the fifth U.S. state to allow sports wagering legally following the landmark Supreme Court decision last year. As has become tradition, the first official sports bet in state history was quickly verified and shared.

60-to-1 on West Virginia to win the 2019 National Championship game? That’s a bold bet, albeit it a very fitting one given the local interests.

Other bold ones came from New Jersey governor Phil Murphy, who made the first bet in that state’s history. He put $20 on Germany to win the World Cup (whoops) and $20 on the New Jersey Devils to win the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. At 40-1, that’s pretty bold.

Delaware’s governor also made the first bet there when it became legal, though he put $10 on the Phillies to win a game rather than putting some money on the Delaware Blue Hens to win the FCS title. Go hang out in Philly if you love them so much, governor. (Note – Turns out, you can’t bet on Univ. of Delaware sports in Delaware, so we’ll give him a pass).

In Mississippi where sports wagering became legal earlier this month, a group of VIPs all simultaneously made the first bets in state history. State Rep. Richard Bennett is on record placing a parlay bet on the Braves to beat the Marlins and the Cubs to beat the Pirates. Yawn. No bet for Ole Miss or Mississippi State to win the SEC? Cold.

The next three states on the docket to approve sports wagering appear to be Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New York. We got to thinking, what would be the ideal first bet in those states? First, we need to establish the expectations:

  1. It should involve an in-state team. Especially if the bettor is a politician, this is a no-brainer.
  2. It should be big stakes. Leave your $10 bets for a baseball game for the 2nd one. This one is for the history books. And imagine if it really happens?
  3. Put some real money down, guys. You’re rich politicians. You can afford to drop $50. Pretty sure you’ll raise ten times that by the time you leave the casino.


This is a tricky one because you don’t want to piss off one side of the state by putting all your eggs in one major market basket. So your best strategy is to parlay something from Pittsburgh and something from Philly, or at the very least make a bet for each of them. Betting on the Eagles to win the Super Bowl won’t yield you much so we think you go with the Sixers. Trust The Process and put down $50 on them to win the NBA Finals. Why the hell not? And while you’re at it, place $50 on the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the Super Bowl. If you really want to balance the state out, also throw some cash on Penn State to win the national championship. Extra points if that’s for college basketball.

Rhode Island

First thing’s first, no bets on Boston teams. They’ve got plenty of things, they don’t need to steal your thunder, especially since they’re already stealing your AAA baseball team. The most obvious choice is to throw down $50 on the Providence Friars. Winning the national title is a bold move, but maybe you just pick them to win the Big East. That feels like a big bet that’s also possible, right? Feel free to throw the Rhode Island Rams some love as well. No reason you can’t do the same bet for them.

New York

This is a tough one! Especially when you factor in that Governor Cuomo is almost certainly going to make sure he’s the one to make this bet in an election year. But it’s so easy to screw up. Place a bet for an NYC team and you remind the Upstate folks that they don’t matter as much. Place a bet for one college and you’re alienating so many other fanbases. Place a bet for one NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB team and you’ve pissed off the rival team.

Our solution? $100 on the Buffalo Bills to win the Super Bowl. Yes, it’s far removed from Manhattan but this alleviates all the unwanted criticism of putting a bet down on the Yankees or Knicks over the Mets and Nets. You can always say that the Giants and Jets don’t actually play in New York, making the Bills the actual in-state team to support. It’s a fun pick because let’s face it, it’s not happening…but what if the Bills make a crazy run? Throw Western New York a bone and it’ll pay dividends, unlike that bet.

[Danielle Boyd]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to