Each Monday, our “What’s On Tap,” series will preview the week ahead in the world of sports betting. Come here for a summary of upcoming financial happenings, legislative and regulatory meetings, industry conferences, top games scheduled for the week, and much more. Also, check out our weekly review Get A Grip and Wide World of Gambling at US Bets for a look back at last week’s relevant news.
Monday, October 19
Public hearings in Cornhusker State
Voters in Nebraska can learn more about a set of gaming-related initiatives that will appear on the November ballot at two separate hearings scheduled for Monday afternoon in North Platte. The first, scheduled for 1:30 p.m., will address an initiative, Measure 428, that seeks to limit the rates charged for payday loans at 36% annually. Two hours later, a separate hearing will cover three initiatives, including Measure 429, a constitutional amendment that seeks to allow casino gambling at licensed thoroughbred racetracks statewide. If passed, the referendums could lead to the legalization of sports betting at the state’s six racetracks.
Proponents of the measure argue that the initiatives could help jumpstart the Nebraska thoroughbred industry while generating more than $45 million in annual property tax relief. However, the faction has received stiff opposition from an anti-gambling group led by former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne and Governor Pete Ricketts. Osborne, a former Nebraska congressman, has long opposed pro-gambling efforts in the state. In 2004, Osborne penned a column in the Omaha World-Herald, opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that sought to allow casino gambling in the state, citing the “social costs,” of the activity.
Every dollar in casino gambling revenue would lead to three or four dollars in social costs, former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne warned, and "once you start it, you're never going to undo it."
— Lincoln Journal Star (@JournalStarNews) October 6, 2020
Osborne spent three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives through 2007, representing Nebraska 3rd Congressional District.
“The only thing we can rely on is the intelligence and perspective of individual Nebraskans to educate themselves,” Osborne said, per the Omaha World-Herald.
Mahomes, Allen, and Murray highlight another Monday doubleheader
For the third time in six weeks, the NFL will broadcast multiple games on the Monday schedule, the latter two due to COVID-19 concerns. The league originally scheduled Monday’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills for Oct. 15 on Thursday Night Football. Last week’s Bills-Titans game, however, was moved to Oct. 13, following an outbreak throughout the Titans’ practice facility. The Week 6 postponement gave the Bills several extra days to prepare for the Chiefs.
The matchup at 5:00 pm ET precedes Monday night’s game between the Cowboys and Cardinals in Arlington, Texas. The Chiefs are currently a 5.5-point road favorite at Buffalo.
The primetime game on ESPN at 8:15 pm ET has lost some of its luster since Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the Giants in Week 5. With veteran Andy Dalton under center in place of Prescott, the Cowboys are just a 1-point favorite.
Tuesday, October 20
World Series starts: Dodgers slight favorites over Rays to win title
— MLB (@MLB) October 19, 2020
The Dodgers and Rays will face off Tuesday in Game 1 of the World Series, after both teams survived seven-game series to win their respective pennants. The Rays avoided a massive collapse on Saturday night with a 4-2 win over the Astros in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS). Houston rallied with three straight victories after falling behind three games to none in the series.
On Tuesday night, the Rays will face the Dodgers, a 4-3 winner over the Braves on Sunday thanks to a go-ahead solo shot by Cody Bellinger in the seventh inning. After falling behind 3-1 in the NLCS, the Dodgers completed an improbable rally with Sunday’s Game 7 victory. The Dodgers won three straight elimination games for the first time in the postseason since 1981.
On Sunday night, BetMGM tabbed the Dodgers as -150 favorites to defeat the Rays (+125).
At the start of the season, the Dodgers were installed by Caesars as 7/2 World Series co-favorites with the Yankees. The Rays, meanwhile had odds of 18/1 to win the World Series, fifth-best among all teams in the league.
Thursday, October 22
Integrity concerns highlight digital sports betting conference
Betting On Sports Europe, a two-day digital conference begins Wednesday, but the lineup on Day 2 is far more intriguing. The slate begins with a keynote presentation from FIFA Head of Integrity Ennio Bovolenta on protecting the sport from dangerous outside influences from a gambling standpoint. Shortly after, Oliver Lamb, head sportsbook controller at Kambi, will appear on a panel on derivative prop markets in sports betting. The panel will discuss whether sportsbooks should consider low limits on micro bets such as “total match corner kicks,” or if operators should even take action on lower-division leagues. Last July, a Swedish sportsbook suspended action on Division 2 Södra Svealand football amid match-fixing allegations.
Finally, David Lampitt, a managing director at Sportradar, will address integrity concerns in tennis in the wake of the Tennis Integrity Unit’s (TIU) comprehensive review on betting-related improprieties in the sport. Nearly three years after four tennis organizations — the ATP, the WTA, the ITF, and the Grand Slam Board — appointed the TIU to examine the negative influence of betting in professional tennis, the TIU’s Independent Review Panel issued a 113-page final report in December 2018.
Among other findings, the panel determined that the nature of the sport leads itself lends itself to “manipulation for betting purposes.” But in 2019, the TIU, the sport’s anti-corruption body, received 138 reports of suspicious match activity, its lowest amount over a five-year span. The Paris’ prosecutor’s office is currently investigating allegations of potential match-fixing at a women’s doubles match on Sept. 30 at the French Open.
Final U.S. presidential debate
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) October 2, 2020
The odds on President Donald Trump winning re-election took a dive instantly earlier this month, minutes after Trump’s announcement that he tested positive for COVID-19. Although Trump has returned to the campaign trail, following two consecutive days of negative tests, he still trails considerably on the election betting markets heading into Thursday’s final presidential debate in Nashville.
At Smarkets, Trump had a 37.3% probability to win a second term, as of Oct. 18., up from an all-time low of 29.4% six days earlier. Biden’s probability on Smarkets, a UK-based betting exchange, hovered near 62%, down from a peak of 70.9% last week. Biden is also a decisive favorite on the Betfair Exchange with odds of 1.62 (or +162 in American odds), compared with Trump’s odds of 2.58.
Trump was also viewed as a massive longshot to win the presidency in 2016 before his victory over former Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. Trump defeated Clinton by a 304-227 margin in electoral votes. Biden is projected to finish in the range of 330-359 electoral votes at Betfair, while Trump is expected to finish within a range of 180-209.
Number of the Week: NFC East Champions — Giants 9/1, BetMGM
The Giants eked out a 20-19 victory over Washington on Sunday for their first win of the season. Despite the slow start, the Giants will trail the Cowboys by just one game for the NFC East lead if Dallas loses to Arizona on Monday night.
Prior to the one-point victory, the Giants had odds of 30/1 at BetMGM to win the NFC East divisional crown. New York opened as six-point underdogs at BetMGM for Thursday night’s matchup against the Eagles. Philadelphia dropped to 1-4-1 after a 30-28 defeat to Baltimore in Week 6.
Have a good week, everyone.