Jon Rothstein isn’t shy about giving his thoughts on the NCAA Tournament.
Now, the CBS college basketball insider is expanding his platform, partnering with FanDuel Sportsbook on a multi-year collaboration.
Rothstein becomes the latest sports media figure to join up with FanDuel, which continues to be Michigan’s most-wagered sportsbook.
FanDuel Sportsbook adds another to All-Star roster
Rothstein is added to an impressive list of sports betting talent and influencers at FanDuel. That group already includes Pat McAfee, Jordan Spieth, Kenny Smith, Colin Cowherd, Charles Barkley, and more.
“I’m just thrilled to be in a situation I’m in with FanDuel,” Rothstein said. “I’m in a scenario now where I can partner with FanDuel. They wanted some of the content that I created independently and it’s a great marriage. I’ve been searching for a medium where I could kind of blend all of my dimensions from a digital perspective, and this is definitely that partnership. So, I look forward to continuing to progress with FanDuel onward and upward.”
Rothstein will appear as a frequent contributor on FanDuel’s digital shows and programming while also contributing articles to FanDuel publications and collaborating with FanDuel on custom offerings and promotions.
“Jon is an emerging talent with a passionate following, and we’re looking forward to working with him as we bring together sports betting and college basketball,” said Mike Raffensperger, CMO, FanDuel Group. “We’ll work together to customize the betting and basketball experience, taking things to the next level for college hoops fans.”
FanDuel has used its celebrity talent to counter other sportsbooks in the state that have relied more on promo offers. FD leads Michigan in all-time online handle ($1.25 billion) and revenue ($125.3 million) despite being a distant third in promos ($47.8 million).
Rothstein not impressed with Big Ten
One of the big stories from last weekend’s NCAA Tournament action was the flat showing by the Big Ten Conference.
Despite nine bids into March Madness, most of any conference, just Purdue and Michigan survived into this weekend’s Sweet 16.
It was a similar setting in 2021, with Michigan being the lone conference team to reach the second weekend despite the B1G getting another nine bids.
“Disappointing,” Rothstein said of the Big Ten. “Eighteen bids in the last two NCAA tournaments and just three trips to the Sweet 16? Sooner or later you have to answer that because look, the facts are the facts: it’s been 22 years since the Big Ten won a national championship. I don’t care how many teams you put in the NCAA Tournament, sooner or later, you have to start winning.”
Thursday night, Michigan finds itself as a notable underdog against Villanova in a South Regional semifinal. Despite being an 11 seed, Rothstein feels this Wolverine team is playing more like the team that was a preseason title contender.
“The team that we saw in the last month of the season was good enough to do this. I felt in the first game against Colorado State, the two guys that obviously were there for them during the run last year to the Elite Eight, (Eli) Brooks and (Hunter) Dickinson were absolutely sensational. And I thought it was a great team win against Tennessee. So I’m not surprised at the result,” he said. “I thought Michigan was a team that could break open this bracket. They’re not a traditional Cinderella in terms of the name that they have. They are a Cinderella team in terms of what UCLA was last year.”
What to look for this weekend
The 2022 NCAA Tournament has been pretty wild thus far, with plenty of upsets taking place.
Of the remaining field, Rothstein has been most pleasantly surprised by a pair of ACC underdogs.
“I think that North Carolina‘s ability to have its quartet reach its apex is a big development. I mean, North Carolina, and I felt this when they won at Duke, has a core four of (Caleb) Love, (R.J.) Davis, (Brady) Manek, and (Armando) Bacot that can match up with any core four in college basketball. You’re seeing right now how capable that core is,” Rothstein said. “I think another thing that surprised me is just how good Miami‘s guards have been in the NCAA Tournament. Miami has 32 assists to seven turnovers through its two games. That’s one of the benefits of playing that type of small-ball lineup.”
When it comes to what Rothstein expects during the regional finals weekend, it’s more of what we saw last week.
“I expect anarchy and I’m going to keep going to this example. Look at the four No. 1 seeds right now in the NCAA Tournament,” he said. “Arizona was in a situation where it was like the bottom of the ninth, two outs and two strikes and it was able to win a game against TCU. Kansas survived against a Creighton team that didn’t have two starters. Baylor lost to Carolina and Gonzaga got a real scare from Memphis before making a comeback. So, I’m expecting more competitive games and a lot of unpredictability.”