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, April 4
Kansas favored over UNC in men’s hoops national title game
North Carolina sent Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski into retirement on Saturday night with a thrilling 81-77 victory in the Final Four. Now, with one more victory North Carolina will become the first No. 8 seed to win the national title since Villanova in 1985. Monday’s national championship game has the Tar Heels facing Kansas, an 81-65 winner over Villanova in Saturday’s first semifinal.
The game within the game on Monday will feature powerful North Carolina center Armando Bacot against Kansas counterpart David McCormack. Bacot has pulled down 84 rebounds in five NCAA Tournament games, including 43 over UNC’s last two contests. McCormack, meanwhile, torched Villanova for 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor. Kansas opened as a 4.5-point favorite at Caesars Sportsbook.
The longest odds anyone got on North Carolina at our book was 100/1.#MarchMadness #GamblingTwitter pic.twitter.com/Lhpr9lBDR3
— MaximBet (@MaximBetUSA) April 3, 2022
North Carolina guard Caleb Love paced the Tar Heels on Saturday with a game-high 28 points. Following the win, Love spoke on the importance of handling Kansas’ vaunted fast-break offense. That offense is part of why the total in Monday’s national championship is a healthy 152 points. The total has fallen under 152 in all five of the Jayhawks’ games in the tournament, while it has eclipsed 152 in three of North Carolina’s five games during March Madness.
Ontario launches iGaming market
Ahead of MLB Opening Day, Ontario opened its private market for online sports betting and iGaming on Monday morning in a highly anticipated launch. FanDuel, PointsBet, and theScore were the first operators to go live, followed by BetMGM, BetRivers, Betway, and CoolBet. The opening of the private market in Ontario could result in a handle of C$10 billion in 2022, resulting in tax revenue of around C$150 million, according to various estimates.
Canada decriminalized single-event sports betting last June with the historic passage of bill C-218 in the Senate. With a deep, talented lineup, the Toronto Blue Jays are one of the favorites to capture this year’s World Series. For more on the launch of Ontario’s private market, check out Sports Handle’s live blog here.
As of Sunday, nearly 20 operators had been granted iGaming licenses with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Beyond the operators that went live on Monday morning, the list includes:
Wednesday, April 6
Missouri sports betting bills move to the Senate
Last month, HB 2502, a sports betting bill in the Missouri House of Representatives, passed through the chamber by an overwhelming margin of 115-33. On Wednesday, the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee will debate two of the House consent bills at a hearing in Jefferson City.
The legalization of sports betting in Missouri faces somewhat of an uphill climb. Another bill from Sen. Denny Hoskins calls for a 21% tax on sports betting revenue. Leaders in both chambers have until the end of the 2022 Senate session on May 13 to iron out differences in the disparate bills. According to Missouri Senate Rule 45, the last day to place House consent bills on the Senate calendar in this year’s session is April 15.
Also this week, legislatures in Georgia and Minnesota could have updates on pending sports betting bills.
Thursday, April 7
Rahm, JT emerge as favorites at The Masters
Last week, Tiger Woods surprised the golf world by taking part in a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club with his son Charlie and top pro Justin Thomas. Woods has not played in a competitive round since he shattered his ankle and suffered two leg fractures in a February 2021 car accident. On Sunday, Woods listed himself as a “game-time decision” for Thursday’s opening round of The Masters.
I will be heading up to Augusta today to continue my preparation and practice. It will be a game-time decision on whether I compete. Congratulations to 16-year-old Anna Davis on an amazing win at the @anwagolf and good luck to all the kids in the @DriveChipPutt.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 3, 2022
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama opened with odds of 40/1 at SuperBook Sports. But last week, the odds on Matsuyama jumped to 60/1 after he withdrew from the second round of the Valero Texas Open with a neck injury. U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm is favored at the SuperBook at 12/1, followed by Thomas at 14/1. From there, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler, and Cameron Smith are the co-third choice at 16/1, ahead of Viktor Hovland, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Jordan Spieth, all at 18/1.
Vaunted Mets pitching staff opens MLB season hobbled by injury
With the signing of Max Scherzer in the offseason, the New York Mets arguably formed the most potent stable of starting pitchers in MLB. But the Mets took a hit last week when the team announced that Jacob deGrom will open the season on the MLB’s injury list with a stress reaction on his shoulder. While deGrom will be reevaluated in four weeks, Scherzer is questionable for Thursday’s opener against the Nationals with hamstring tightness. The Mets, one of the top favorites to win the World Series at DraftKings, dropped to 11/1 on the news.
The Dodgers remain the favorites to win the World Series at odds of +475, while the Yankees and Blue Jays are the top American League choices to win the Fall Classic, both at +900. The defending World Series champion Braves have odds of +1000 to repeat, and the Astros are also at +1000, followed by the White Sox (+1200), Brewers (+1600), Rays (+1700), and Padres (+1800).
Saturday, April 9
Potential Messier-Forbidden Kingdom clash in Santa Anita Derby
Messier could cement his status as the favorite for the Kentucky Derby with a victory in the Santa Anita Derby. Messier, a 3-year-old son of Empire Maker, has not raced since February, when he romped to a 15-length win in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. On Saturday, Messier could be challenged for the lead by Forbidden Kingdom, who was also forwardly placed in capturing last month’s San Felipe Stakes.
As of Monday, Messier remained a 5-1 co-favorite in the Kentucky Derby futures pool at Circa Sports. Circa also listed Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter at 5-1, with Forbidden Kingdom as the third choice at 10-1. Messier defeated Forbidden Kingdom by 3½ lengths in last November’s Bob Hope Stakes. However, Messier has recently been transferred to the barn of Tim Yakteen, following Churchill Downs’ suspension of trainer Bob Baffert.