Each Monday, our “What’s on Tap” series previews 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” for a look back at last week’s notable news.
Monday, January 10
Fans allowed to bet from their courtside seats at MSG
New York went live with online sports wagering on Saturday when four sportsbook operators — BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel — rolled out mobile sportsbook apps in the Empire State. But Monday night’s game between the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs marks the first time bettors can wager from their seats inside Madison Square Garden.
On the first day of mobile sports betting in New York, transaction volumes statewide were staggering. Over a 12-hour period through 9 p.m. ET, New York geolocation transaction volumes surpassed 5.75 million, according to Vancouver-based GeoComply, a leading geolocation security firm. The figures are “historically unprecedented,” said Lindsay Slader, managing director of gaming at GeoComply. New York transaction volume on Saturday outpaced Pennsylvania, the next closest state, by a rate of approximately 2.5x.
At FanDuel, Saturday’s Suns-Heat matchup ranked in the top five of New York bets by handle (for all sports), according to a FanDuel spokesman. Handle for the game in Phoenix topped that of the Knicks-Celtics matchup on Saturday evening, FanDuel indicated. Both the Knicks and Spurs enter Monday’s game with records below .500. The Knicks were 6-point favorites at FanDuel as of Monday morning.
Record handle expected for Bama-Georgia national championship
Ahead of Monday’s night College Football Playoff national championship, Georgia coach Kirby Smart likened Alabama quarterback Bryce Young to famed magician Harry Houdini for his ability to elude defenders. Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, torched the Bulldogs defense for 421 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 41-24 SEC Championship win. At PointsBet, there are odds of -115 on Young to eclipse 306.5 passing yards in Monday’s rematch.
Betting interest in the national championship is expected to be high. SuperBook is preparing to handle a record amount for a college football national championship. As a result, SuperBook juiced the spread to -104 on both sides, with Georgia holding steady as a 2.5-point favorite. Georgia crushed Michigan 34-11 in the CFP semifinals, while top-ranked Alabama defeated Cincinnati 27-6.
Westgate SuperBook (@SuperBookSports) has gone to 8-cent splits on the spread and 10 cents on the money line for Alabama-Georgia. Sportsbook director @vegasmurray said it will stay that way till kickoff. Expecting biggest handle for a CFB game ever, he said. pic.twitter.com/MlwWkVvCXb
— Jim Barnes (@JimBarnesLV) January 8, 2022
Tuesday, January 11
New York Gaming Commission hearing on decoupling in horse racing
Last October, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed a measure that would have prohibited the New York Gaming Commission from requiring the coupling of entries in horse races, when a horse is ridden or trained by the spouse of another jockey in the same race. The issue gained attention in 2021 when jockeys Trevor McCarthy and Katie Davis stopped racing in New York together due to the coupling rule. The two jockeys married in December 2020.
Under New York law, married couples such as the aforementioned jockeys must be included in the same entry if the jockeys enter the same race. Davis argued the law hampered her ability to earn a viable living at New York thoroughbred racetracks.
“Coupling of entries does not prevent related parties from participating in a race; rather, coupling of entries merely aggregates those related parties into a single betting interest in the race,” Hochul said at the time.
Hochul directed the commission to “review the continued need for mandatory coupling and the circumstances under which such a requirement might be relaxed.” At Tuesday’s hearing, the commission will consider whether coupling among married jockeys should be regulated for wagering purposes. The commission may also consider other alternatives for wagering opportunities if rules are crafted that allow for decoupling among married jockeys.
Saturday, January 15
AFC East rivals square off in primetime
The Buffalo Bills clinched the AFC East on Sunday with a convincing win over the New York Jets, while the New England Patriots ended the season with a loss to the Dolphins in Miami. After splitting in the regular season, the Bills and Pats will meet again Saturday night. The Bills opened as 4.5-point favorites at Caesars Sportsbook; the total is 43.5 points.
The NFL opens wild card weekend earlier Saturday in Cincinnati, where the Cincinnati Bengals will face the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders are coming off a thrilling 35-32 victory over the Chargers on an overtime field goal by Daniel Carlson. Cincinnati opened as a 6.5-point favorite; the total is 49 points. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow enters the playoffs as arguably the hottest signal caller in the league. Over his last two starts, Burrow has passed for 971 yards combined, along with eight touchdowns. Burrow ended the regular season with a 108.3 QB rating, good for second in the league behind Aaron Rodgers.
Joe Burrow idolized Drew Brees growing up.
Now Brees will call Burrow's first playoff game in the NFL. https://t.co/INZQOlyRLs
— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) January 10, 2022
Super Bowl futures on division winners at Barstool Sportsbook:
- Packers: +350
- Chiefs: +425
- Bucs: +750
- Bills: +800
- Titans: +850
- Rams: +1000
- Cowboys: +1300
- Bengals: +1800
Sunday, January 16
Cowboys-Niners matchup highlights wild card tripleheader
Trailing 17-0 on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers staged a furious rally to defeat their NFC West rivals in overtime. The win set up a playoff matchup for San Francisco against the Dallas Cowboys, one that is shaping up to be among the most entertaining of wild card weekend. Dallas opened as a 2.5-point favorite at BetMGM. The last time the teams met in the playoffs was the 1994 NFC Championship, won by San Francisco 38-28.
Also on Sunday, the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Buccaneers face the Philadelphia Eagles in Tampa. The Bucs limp into the playoffs depleted at wide receiver with the season-ending loss of Chris Godwin (knee) and the release of Antonio Brown. Tampa opened as an 8.5-point favorite over the Eagles.
Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Chiefs in Kansas City. In Week 16, the Chiefs raced out to a 30-0 lead en route to a lopsided 36-10 victory over Pittsburgh. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to retire at season’s end. The Chiefs are 12.5-point favorites; the total is 46.5 points.