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, February 21
Report: Key MLB labor meeting on Presidents Day
Last week, Major League Baseball announced the cancellation of spring training through at least March 5 as a highly contentious lockout by owners nears its fourth month. MLB and the MLB Players Association are scheduled to hold labor negotiations multiple times this week, as early as Monday, ESPN reported.
The further the lockout drags into next month, the lower the likelihood that Opening Day will begin on time, although MLB may opt for a shorter preseason to open the regular season as scheduled on March 31. A compressed spring training, however, may hamper several teams that still need to fill roster holes via free agency. A host of prominent free agents led by Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, and Freddie Freeman still remain unsigned.
At DraftKings, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the +700 favorite to win the World Series, followed by the New York Yankees (+900), Houston Astros (+900), New York Mets (+1000), and Toronto Blue Jays (+1100). Once the lockout ends, any team that makes a splash over the final weeks of free agency could catapult to near the top of the list.
Tuesday, February 22
First round of USFL Draft brings intrigue
Less than two weeks after Super Bowl LVI, the USFL will hold the first round of its two-day inaugural draft on Tuesday. Interestingly enough, the league is not publicizing a list of the players available for selection. So, while the Houston Gamblers could select Johnny Manziel to reunite the former Texas A&M quarterback with coach Kevin Sumlin, it is unclear if Manziel will even consider a stint in the USFL.
At the moment, no major U.S. sportsbooks have lines on the upcoming USFL season, which begins in April. For hardened football bettors, the USFL will provide another opportunity to wager on the sport before more traditional options return in late summer. Besides Manziel, other names floated for this week’s draft include DeShone Kizer, Cardale Jones, Brett Hundley, and Paxton Lynch. The Michigan Panthers own the first pick on Tuesday night.
Caesars Entertainment expected to report improved bottom line
When Caesars Entertainment reports 2021 fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday after the bell, analysts will receive further indication of the company’s early sportsbook performance in new states to launch. Last month, Caesars opened as the definitive market leader in New York before eventually ceding the mantle to FanDuel.
Still, Caesars’ sportsbook handled more than $107 million in New York for the week ended Feb. 13, with a large chunk of the handle coming on the Super Bowl. Since its debut on Jan. 8, Caesars has handled more than $809 million in online sports wagers in the Empire State, translating into gross gaming revenue of $70.5 million.
A strong performance from an earnings perspective may reflect Caesars’ continued expansion throughout the U.S. sports betting ecosystem. Caesars is expected to report earnings per share of $-0.82, according to Zack’s Investment Research consensus estimates, compared to $-1.70 in the year-ago quarter.
Wednesday, February 23
Manchester United-Atletico Madrid clash in Champions League
Cristiano Ronaldo has long been a thorn in the side of Atletico Madrid, one of Europe’s top clubs over the last decade. When Juventus trailed Atletico 2-0 heading into the second leg of a 2019 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tilt, Ronaldo completed a hat trick for the stunning 3-2 aggregate win. Now, back with Manchester United, Ronaldo will take on Atletico in the first leg of a Round 16 matchup in Madrid. Atletico is a +135 favorite at BetMGM over Manchester United (+220), with odds of +220 on a draw.
Also on Wednesday, Benfica is a -120 favorite over Ajax in Lisbon. There are two other Champions League matchups this week. Chelsea is a heavy -300 favorite over Lille on Tuesday, while Juventus will face Villarreal (+145) Tuesday evening. Juventus has odds of +185 to pull off the road win, with odds of +240 on a tie.
📊| Cristiano Ronaldo’s first 100 games for Manchester United:
João Félix’s first 100 games for Atlético Madrid:
But yes, let the media tell you that Atlético Madrid ruined Félix’s career. 👍 pic.twitter.com/TNVOR2nfwz
— Atletico Universe (@atletiuniverse) February 19, 2022
Thursday, February 24
Suns forge on without injured CP3
The Phoenix Suns entered NBA All-Star Weekend with a league-best 48-10 record, holding a sizable lead of 6.5 games on the Golden State Warriors, the next closest team in the Western Conference standings. But the Suns will be tested in the coming weeks after 12-time All-Star guard Chris Paul suffered an avulsion fracture in his right thumb, according to ESPN.
The Suns return from the All-Star break on Thursday against Oklahoma City. Paul is expected to miss about six to eight weeks, a time frame that would sideline him for nearly the remainder of the regular season. As of Sunday evening, the Suns remained the co-favorites to win the NBA championship with the Warriors, at +410. FanDuel lists the two Western Conference powers ahead of the Nets (+600), Bucks (+650), Sixers (+750), and Heat (+1000). The Bucks defeated the Suns in six games in last year’s NBA Finals.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 21, 2022
Saturday, February 26
Mishriff defends title at prestigious Saudi Cup
Last February, Mishriff overtook early leader Charlatan in a thrilling stretch run to win the $20 million Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horse race. Mishriff returns on Saturday to defend his title against a talented field that includes U.S. thoroughbreds Midnight Bourbon, Mandaloun, Art Collector, and Country Grammer. With seven wins in 14 career starts, Mishriff has amassed earnings in excess of $15.1 million.
Mishriff seeks to defend his title in the G1 Saudi Cup!
Join us for live coverage of the World's richest horse race on TVG.
Saturday Feb. 26 at 12:40PM ET pic.twitter.com/FjXVwnQyos
— TVG (@TVG) February 21, 2022