Each week, 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 24
Fallout from Lions’ gambling suspensions continues
Last week, the NFL suspended five players for gambling-related infractions, including four Detroit Lions. Two Lions players, Quintez Cephus and C.J. Moore, allegedly bet on NFL games, while two others, Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill, reportedly placed wagers on college football from the team facility. The Lions responded by waiving Cephus and Moore.
The suspensions raise questions surrounding whether league rules on betting inside a team facility are too stringent in certain areas. Williams, for instance, cannot bet on college games from the team’s practice facility, an NFL stadium, or on a team bus, plane, or other vehicle. However, had Williams placed a bet at a restaurant down the street from Ford Field, he would not have faced suspension. Lions head coach Dan Campbell will likely field a litany of questions on the incident leading up to this week’s NFL Draft.
“These players exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules. We have made the decision to part ways with Quintez and C.J. immediately." — Lions EVP + GM Brad Holmes
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) April 21, 2023
Bucks, Grizz look to even their NBA playoff series
With Giannis Antetokounmpo out on Saturday, the Milwaukee Bucks fell behind by 15 in the second quarter en route to a 121-99 loss to the Miami Heat. After opening the NBA playoffs as the favorites to win the title, the Bucks now trail the Heat 2-1 in the opening-round series. Though Antetokounmpo is officially listed as questionable for Monday’s Game 4, the Bucks remained a 6-point favorite at Caesars Sportsbook on Monday morning.
Memphis is also dealing with injuries, as Ja Morant played through a sprained wrist in Saturday’s loss to the Lakers. The Lakers raced out to a 35-9 first-quarter lead and never looked back in that Game 3 victory. The Grizzlies can even the series with a win on Monday night in Los Angeles. The Lakers are 4.5-point favorites at Caesars; the total is 221 points.
PENN Entertainment rebrands loyalty program
PENN Entertainment unveiled a new loyalty program on Monday in an effort to streamline a variety of brands under one program. The company is rebranding its “mychoice”-branded program into a new brand called “PENN Play.” The initiative appears to have sports betting implications, given that a host of operators nationwide are increasingly leveraging loyalty programs for cross-selling opportunities. PENN Entertainment customers will be able to redeem rewards with Barstool Sportsbook & Casino beginning this summer, the company said in a statement.
Tuesday, April 25
Three NBA teams eye spots in Round 2
After dropping the opener to the Clippers on April 16, the Suns might have anticipated a dogfight in the Western Conference series. But the tenor of the series changed dramatically when Kawhi Leonard missed the third and fourth games with a knee injury. Now up 3-1 in the series, the Suns can knock out the Clippers on Tuesday night.
Two others, the Celtics and Nuggets, can close out their respective series on Tuesday with home victories. The Celtics are 12-point favorites over the Hawks at BetRivers, while the Nuggets are favored by nine over the Timberwolves. Minnesota stayed alive on Sunday night with an overtime win against Denver.
At DraftKings, the Suns have odds of +155 to win the Western Conference and odds of +400 to capture the NBA title. The Suns are the third choice on the NBA title futures market behind the Celtics and the Bucks, who are priced at +240 and +360, respectively.
Wednesday, April 26
Bruins look to close out Panthers
Clinging to a 3-2 lead in the third period of Sunday’s opening-round NHL playoff series, the Bruins scored three more times to defeat the Panthers 6-2. With the victory, the Bruins took a 3-1 lead in the series to push the Panthers to the brink of elimination. The Bruins can advance to the second round with a win Wednesday over the Panthers in Boston.
Boston scored 10 goals in two games over the weekend. The Bruins enter Monday with odds of +220 at BetMGM to win the Stanley Cup. Boston is the only team on the futures market with odds below +600.
The Bruins take care of business in Florida and take a 3-1 series lead.
Boston -155 ML ✅
OVER 6.5 ✅
— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) April 23, 2023
Through the opening week of the Stanley Cup playoffs, parity has been the dominant theme. All 16 teams in the postseason notched at least one win during the opening week. As of Monday, nine teams had odds of 20/1 or shorter at BetMGM to capture the Cup.
Colorado, the defending Stanley Cup champion, may also advance to the second round on Wednesday. The Avs, who lead the Kraken 2-1, will face Seattle in Monday’s Game 4 before returning to Denver for Wednesday’s Game 5.
Thursday, April 27
Flutter shareholders vote on U.S. listing
When Flutter holds its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, the company will hold a closely watched vote on its plans to pursue a dual stock listing in the U.S. According to Flutter, a U.S. listing will allow the company to further capitalize on the “long-term capital market benefits” resulting from the growth of sports betting in the U.S.
FanDuel received an implied valuation of around $20 billion last November following a ruling in New York arbitration court. Under the ruling, Fox Corp. retained the right to purchase an 18.6% equity option in FanDuel for $3.72 billion, with a 5% annual escalator. The arbitration tribunal determined that the option’s price is based on FanDuel’s fair market value of $20 billion as of December 2020. Flutter closed on Monday in London at £15,790 pence, producing a market capitalization of $27.9 billion. To pass, the resolution at Thursday’s meeting in Dublin requires approval from 75% of the votes cast by shareholders.
Top QB prospects dictate opening round at NFL Draft
Last month, the Carolina Panthers gave up a king’s ransom to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Barring a complete shocker on Thursday night, the Panthers will open the draft by selecting a quarterback. Carolina heavily scouted both Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud in the months leading to the draft, and there are strong indications that the Panthers will take Young.
With tickets continuing to pour in on Young, there are odds of -2000 at FanDuel that the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner will go No. 1 overall. Young had odds of -400 at this time last week. In total, up to five quarterbacks could go in the top 10 on Thursday night.
Although Young and Stroud appeared to separate themselves from the pack since the end of the college football season, Stroud’s stock may be falling. Over the weekend, Kentucky quarterback Will Levis emerged as the favorite at multiple books to be taken with the No. 2 pick. As of Monday, Levis (-140) remained the top betting choice at FanDuel to be selected at No. 2 overall.
Will Levis odds for get drafted No. 2 overall have jumped from +1000 to +130, according to multiple sportsbooks👀https://t.co/1yGBWo7Ioh pic.twitter.com/QcTW7JttX8
— On3 (@On3sports) April 23, 2023
Two years ago, quarterbacks were selected with each of the first three picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. It marked the third time in NFL history that a draft opened with such a run on quarterbacks.
Never has a draft begun with each of the first four teams selecting a quarterback, but there is a possibility it could occur on Thursday night if the Cardinals trade out of the No. 3 spot. The Colts covet a quarterback at No. 4 after parting ways with Matt Ryan. At FanDuel, the top three betting choices to go No. 4 overall are quarterbacks: Levis, Stroud, and Anthony Richardson of Florida. Richardson is the third choice at +300, behind Levis and Stroud at +100 and +250, respectively.