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Eagles, Wentz getting a lot of action at local sportsbooks

Bettors in New Jersey are placing their faith, and their money, on a local team to win the Super Bowl and produce the league’s most valuable player.

According to New Jersey’s two preeminent sportsbooks, FanDuel and DraftKings, the Philadelphia Eagles are getting the most futures bets to win Super Bowl 54, and the team’s quarterback, Carson Wentz, is getting the most action to take home the MVP award.

FanDuel has taken more bets on the Eagles at 14-1 odds to win the championship than the four teams — New England Patriots (7-1), Kansas City Chiefs (8-1), New Orleans Saints (9-1) and Los Angeles Rams (11-1) — that bookmakers favor more.

The New York Giants (80-1) and New York Jets (60-1) round out the top three most bet-on teams to win the Super Bowl at FanDuel’s local sportsbooks.

More than 17% of all bets placed on a team to win the Super Bowl have been on the Eagles at FanDuel’s retail and online sportsbooks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and the company’s brick-and-mortar location inside the Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols, New York.

The Chiefs (9.2%), Jets (6.3%), Patriots (6.1%) and Cleveland Browns (6%) round out the top five.

The data is based on the total number of bets placed, not the amount being wagered, said Kevin Hennessy, director of publicity for FanDuel.

Wentz moved up from 13-1 to 10-1 odds to win MVP at DraftKings’ sportsbook after the surprise retirement announcement by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, said Hal Tendler, manager of the DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. FanDuel has the Eagles quarterback listed at 14-1 odds. Both sportsbooks have Chiefs quarterback and last year’s MVP Patrick Mahomes as the favorite to win again this year.

With retail and online sportsbooks available in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Hennessy said the results are not all that surprising. FanDuel’s New Jersey sportsbook is located at the Meadowlands Racetrack in the shadow of MetLife Stadium where the Giants and Jets play home games. The Pennsylvania FanDuel sportsbook is at Valley Forge Casino Resort, which is about 20 miles outside of Philadelphia.

“People are betting on their hometown teams,” he said.

Tendler said the Eagles and Wentz are “sentimental” picks for the local crowd. DraftKings has the Eagles listed at 13-1 odds to win the Super Bowl, which is also behind the same four favorites on FanDuel’s board.

“We’re in the Philadelphia market, and I think most of the region here is Philadelphia Eagles fans and people support the local team,” Tendler said.

The Browns are also getting a lot of action among futures bettors at DraftKings, Tendler said.

In Las Vegas, the Chicago Bears are garnering the most action for Super Bowl winner, according to ESPN, followed by the Browns. The Eagles did not crack the top-10 most bet on teams to win the Super Bowl at Caesars Sportsbook in Vegas.

FanDuel and DraftKings have dominated the New Jersey sports betting market since June 2018 when the state legalized and regulated the gaming option. Combined, the two companies have accounted for nearly 80% of the $127.5 million in revenue generated statewide by sports betting in 2019.

On average, 80% of all sports wagers in New Jersey are done via a mobile app or online.

The end of summer: Boardwalk workers gearing up for Labor Day weekend

Summer’s last hurrah

{child_byline}COLT SHAW

Staff Writer


WILDWOOD — A bronzed Florida man who goes by “The California King” has been working on the Wildwood Boardwalk for about 47 years.

Hank Mancuso, 77, of Fort Lauderdale, comes up for 2½ months a year. Mancuso on Wednesday said he was looking forward to another summer winding down at the Boardwalk Mall Cafe, in between squeezing lemons for lemonade.

“It’s a relief because you work hard all summer, and you’re waiting for a little (time off) with the family,” said Mancuso, wearing a tank top and a head full of blond curls.

On the Boardwalk on Wednesday, shop workers described the final push of the summer as “the last hurrah,” “the big bang,” “the finishing lap,” and, finally, “ahhh,” a chance to catch their breath after a hectic summer of hawking shirts, slices of pizza, trinkets and temporary tattoos.

As gray clouds gathered over vacationers’ heads outside, one worker described the week before Labor Day as a kind of calm before the storm.

“This is the week people start school so it’s kind of like the run-up,” said Peter Heavey, 34, of Wildwood, an assistant manager at the Original Fudge Kitchen. “Right now, it’s kind of quiet and then all of a sudden it’s just gonna pick up on Thursday up into Monday.”

At the shop at Roberts Avenue and the Boardwalk, shelves were stacked with trays of fudge. The back of the store and the basement were full too, Heavey said. Business will be booming this weekend.

“We wait for Labor Day weekend because it’s the end of the summer for a lot of us,” he said. “It’s been a busy summer, and towards the end there, we’re ready for it to kinda be (over).”

A little ways down the Boardwalk is Sunrise, a clothing store that makes the flashy screen printed T-shirts synonymous with the Jersey Shore. But with the school year starting, many at the shore are anticipating the colder months that lay ahead, said Kevin Suissa, 28, a manager at Sunrise.

Sweatshirts are the big seller at this time of year.

“We’ve got customers coming in from PA, from New York, from North Jersey. All they want to get is like hoodies ... for the kids, for the winter,” he said. “Which makes a lot of sense.”

He’s ready for the final rush to be over.

“We’ve still got business afterwards, but Labor Day is really like ‘ahhh,’” Suissa said. “You can really relax after that.”

Plenty of workers seemed to agree.

“We start the season looking forward to Labor Day,” said Mena Abouelgheet, 27, assistant manager at Karma, which sells henna tattoos, piercings and bongs, among other things.

For those who oversee operations on Boardwalks along the Jersey Shore, there isn’t much of a break. Anthony Catanoso, owner of Steel Pier amusements in Atlantic City, said Labor Day weekend is usually the second busiest weekend for them after the Fourth of July. But the rides are open on weekends until October, and the Ferris wheel is open until January.

“It doesn’t stop, because once we start gearing down we start preparing for next year,” Catanoso said. “We don’t really get a break.”

Similarly, at Boardwalk Mall Cafe, they often offer half-price discounts on Labor Day weekend. And when the crowds depart, the staff will start to stock and plan for next summer, and ready themselves for the slate of popular festivals in town throughout the fall, where they will be selling food, Mancuso said.

Those who staff pizzerias, rides, games and souvenir shops do have a break to look forward to. Just down the boards, Vicky Penn, 60, of Wildwood Crest, sat on the counter at her water gun game booth at Lou’s Games. With a rainbow of plush toys all around her, Penn said she was looking forward to Labor Day.

After about 15 years on the job, she knows the boards this weekend will be the territory of large groups of teenagers — not families — as the school year gets underway. How much business they can expect will depend on a few factors.

“It goes by the weather,” Penn said. “If the weather’s not good, they won’t come.”



Number of people killed by drivers running red lights hits 10-year high across U.S.

DETROIT — The number of people killed by drivers running red lights has hit a 10-year high, and AAA is urging drivers and pedestrians to use caution at traffic signals.

In 2017, the latest figures available, 939 people were killed by vehicles blowing through red lights, according to a AAA study of government crash data.

It’s the highest death toll since 2008 and 28% higher than in 2012. AAA says two people are killed every day in the U.S. by drivers who don’t stop for the signals.

“Drivers who decide to run a red light when they could have stopped safely are making a reckless choice that puts other road users in danger,” said David Yang, executive director of AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, on Thursday.

AAA isn’t sure why the numbers are on the rise or why they have increased at a far higher rate than overall U.S. roadway deaths. Since 2012 the overall number of highway fatalities rose 10%, far short of the 28% increase in red-light running deaths.

There are more people driving more miles since the most recent recession, but that doesn’t explain why red-light deaths are increasing at a faster rate, said Brian Tefft, senior researcher for the AAA Foundation. He said he suspects distracted driving played a role, as did traffic lights that weren’t timed optimally, perhaps with a yellow caution cycle that’s too short.

“I wish we had a better answer than we do,” he said, adding the answer was beyond the scope of the information in the study of fatal crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In its analysis, AAA also found 28% of crash deaths at intersections with signals happened because a driver ran a red light.

The automobile club recommends that governments increase use of red light cameras directly supervised by authorities in order to boost enforcement where needed and not to raise revenue.

It also said drivers should prepare to stop as they are entering an intersection and tap their brakes while approaching a light to warn other drivers of a possible stop. AAA also recommends waiting a second after a light changes to green before proceeding, and checking to make sure crossing traffic has stopped.

For pedestrians and cyclists, AAA recommends taking a few seconds to make sure traffic has stopped before crossing a street. It also says to be visible, make eye contact with drivers and stay alert by not wearing headphones while walking or riding.

Farmers' Almanac calls for 'Polar coaster' winter. Will it happen?

The Farmers’ Almanac, in publication since 1818, made a very early call of a “frosty, wet & white” winter ahead.

“We expect yet another wild ride this winter, ... with extreme temperature swings and some hefty snowfalls,” said Pete Geiger, editor of the publication since 1994. However, it does note “a wintry mix of rain, sleet — especially along the coast.”

jmartucci-pressofac / Farmers' Almanac  

The 2019-2020 Farmers' Almanac predicts a "frosty, wet & white" winter in the mid-Atlantic, but how true is that? 

The Farmers’ Almanac provides plenty of information on fishing, gardening and astronomy. Geiger said the almanac has always been about those helpful tips to navigate you through the year.

However, meteorologists are still weeks away from releasing their final winter outlook.

“I don’t know what ‘frosty, wet & white’ means. Of course it’s going to be somewhat right,” said Jim Sullivan, lead long-range meteorologist for WeatherWorks, a weather consulting company based in Hackettstown, who has spent “hundreds of hours” working on the 2019-20 winter forecast.

Last year, the Farmers’ Almanac predicted winter to be “chilly, wintry mix” in the area.

It was anything but.

Weather will have variations from week to week.

The region is guaranteed to see storms each winter.

However, temperature gradients highly dictate how much snow will fall in the region.

“(The Farmers’ Almanac) isn’t always the best way to get weather information because of the complexity,” said Adam Rainear, visiting assistant professor in/of media and culture at West Chester University.

The Farmers’ Almanac is vague on its forecasting process. According to its website, it uses “a specific and reliable set of rules that were developed back in 1818.” There have been only seven people responsible for the forecast in its history, Geiger said. A “Caleb Weatherbee” has created the forecast since the 1980s.

Winter forecasts by most private and public meteorological agencies come out in October.

Sullivan said long-range forecasters are generally in the second of a three-step winter forecasting process in August. The first step began in June and July.

“We’ve identified some large-scale processes in the tropics,” said Sullivan of the first step of the process.

The biggest piece of the equation is the state of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. During June and July, ENSO went from an El Nino state to a neutral phase. Without a strong pull in either direction, long-range forecasters look for other factors to determine a wintry outcome.

“The northeast Pacific waters are very warm, so that can pump a ridge (of high pressure) into Alaska. Now we’re finding out where we’ll go from here,” said Sullivan.

jmartucci-pressofac / National Aeronautic and Space Administration  

This map shows the degrees above (warm colors) and below (cool colors) average the water is. Very warm waters near Alaska promote a ridge of high pressure near the area, with the jet stream going northward into the region. This corresponds with a southward turn in the jet stream in the Central or Eastern United States. 

Global Water Temperature Anomaly

The jet stream, the river of air that separates warm air to the south and cold air to the north, should, in general, move north into Alaska and then dive down into the Central or Eastern United States. If the jet stream stays south of New Jersey, it will be subject to frequent arctic invasions of cold air and some storms.

As the summer sun fades and cooler weather arrives, the final pieces of the winter forecast puzzle come in September and October.

“That’s when we can hone in. We’ll track those players, and we try to get as specific as we can.” said Sullivan.

Regardless of what those players say about whether South Jersey will be wintry, wet or warm, it means nothing without explaining the information to the general population.

“Winter weather is extremely hard to explain to the public. There is a much stronger focus on communication of societal impacts than ever before,” said Rainear.

Part of that includes going in depth. A few words like “frosty” does not mean every day in the winter will be cold.

“People get fixated on extremes. If we have a warm spell over Christmas, people are going to make comments like ‘where’s winter?’” Rainear said.