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.
Tuesday, January 5
Bama receiver Smith still overwhelming favorite to win Heisman
Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith likely sealed his Heisman Trophy bid on New Year’s Day with a scintillating three-touchdown performance in a College Football Playoff semifinals win over Notre Dame. At FanDuel, Smith’s Heisman’s odds surged to -500, up from -240 before the matchup. Smith, the Associated Press Player of the Year, leads the nation with 20 receiving touchdowns. If Smith is named the nation’s top player on Tuesday evening, he will become the first wide receiver to win the Heisman in more than two decades. Former Michigan star Charles Woodson played two ways as a receiver and cornerback in 1997 when he captured the Heisman. Prior to that, Michigan wideout Desmond Howard won the Heisman six years earlier. Smith’s teammate Mac Jones is the second choice at +470, followed by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+900), and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (+5000).
GIVE DEVONTA SMITH THE HEISMAN
— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 1, 2021
Wednesday, January 6
Monthly Tennessee Sports Wagering Advisory Council meeting in Nashville
Stakeholders in Tennessee could gain more insight on developments regarding the nascent online sports betting market in the Volunteer State at the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation’s (TELC) Sports Wagering Advisory Council’s January meeting. The lottery reported a sports betting handle of $131.4 million in November, resulting in tax revenue of about $2.4 million for the state. At present, there are four mobile sportsbook operators in Tennessee — DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and TN Action247. The lottery does not release a breakdown of the monthly handle and revenue by operator.
Thursday, January 7
Limited field for first PGA Tour event of 2021
Defending champion Justin Thomas heads a deep field in Maui at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Tour’s first event of the calendar year. The tournament will feature eight golfers from the current Official World Golf Rankings Top 10 including: Masters champion Dustin Johnson, U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, and Thomas. Each year, the tournament is typically limited to tournament winners from the previous calendar year. For 2021, however, tournament organizers modified the eligibility criteria due to COVID-19. Invitations were also extended to golfers ranked in the Top 30 of the FedEx Cup standings. Johnson (+188) is favored at DraftKings to finish the season at the top of the PGA Tour money list. He is followed by DeChambeau (+335), Rahm (+700), Thomas (+1000), and Xander Schauffele (+1200).
Friday, January 8
Lame duck session in Illinois legislature
Although the Illinois legislature is scheduled to hold a brief five-day session through Jan. 12, it is unclear whether legislators will hold a debate on online casino wagering. While Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a gaming expansion bill, SB 690, into law in June 2019, the Illinois Gaming Board has yet to determine how the legislation will apply to online casino offerings. The addition of iCasino games could bolster the mobile sports betting industry in the Prairie State. The IGB reported a sports betting handle of $434.6 million for October, with more than 94% of the wagers placed online.
Saturday, January 9
Red-hot Bills host a playoff game for first time in 25 years
The Bills clinched the AFC’s No. 2 seed on Sunday with a resounding 56-26 victory over the Dolphins. With wins in six straight games, Buffalo enters the playoffs as arguably the hottest team in the league. On Saturday, Buffalo will host a Colts team coached by former Bills quarterback Frank Reich. During the 1992-93 AFC Wild-Card round, Reich orchestrated one of the most famous comebacks in NFL history in rallying the Bills from a 35-3 deficit against the Oilers. The Bills opened at FanDuel as 6.5-point favorites. Later Saturday, another wild-card game pits two NFC West rivals when the Rams travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks. The Seahawks opened as three-point favorites at PointsBet. The teams split in the regular season. After clinching the NFC East on Sunday night, Washington will face Tampa Bay in the nightcap. Tampa enters as 6.5-point favorites in Tom Brady’s first playoff game in a Bucs’ uniform.
Sunday, January 10
Super Bowl contenders square off as Titans take on Ravens
Sunday’s wild-card action starts with a pair of Super Bowl contenders when the Titans host the Ravens in Nashville. The game is a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional Round match, won by Tennessee 28-12. During a current five-game winning streak, the Ravens have an average winning margin of 19.4 points per game. The Titans counter with an explosive offense ranked in the Top 5 in points and total yards per game. Running back Derrick Henry rushed for 250 yards in Sunday’s win over Houston to become the eighth player in NFL history to surpass the 2,000 yard mark in a single season. The Ravens opened as 1.5-point favorites at FanDuel. In the second game of the triple header, the Saints will take on the Bears in New Orleans. The Saints opened as 9.5-point favorites amid uncertainty on Alvin Kamara’s status. Kamara reportedly tested positive a second time for COVID-19 and was placed on the Saints’ Reserve/COVID-19 list on Jan. 1. Two AFC North rivals will meet in the nightcap when Pittsburgh takes on Cleveland. The Steelers opened as 3.5-point favorites at PointsBet.
Among NFL RBs, Alvin Kamara is:
1st in Touchdowns – 21
1st in Receiving Yards – 756
1st in Receptions – 83
2nd in Total First Downs – 93
3rd in All-Purpose Yards – 1,732@A_kamara6 ⚡️ #Saints pic.twitter.com/ZvVns5sUDG
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 28, 2020