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.
Monday, April 26
Rice conference on big data analytics in sports gambling
Now in its ninth year, the Eubank Conference on Real World Markets at Rice University will focus on a wide array of topics at Monday’s event, including the increased impact of data-driven strategies in sports and the tax ramifications of legalizing sports betting. One panel, featuring Hua Gong, an assistant professor of sport analytics at Rice, will analyze the presumption of referee bias in NBA games during the COVID-19 pandemic. Another presentation, entitled “The Coming Tsunami of Corruption in U.S. Sports,” will include a lecture from Declan Hill, an associate professor at the University of New Haven. Hill, a noted critic of the sports gambling industry and a match-fixing expert, is the author of The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime.
Knicks tie second-longest win streak in last 25 years
With a 120-103 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, the New York Knicks won their ninth consecutive game tying a franchise mark for the second-longest winning streak in the last quarter century. If the Knicks can win their next five contests, the team will surpass a 13-game win streak from the 2012-13 season — the last time the franchise made the NBA Playoffs. On Monday night, the Knicks will face a tall task in extending the streak when the Phoenix Suns visit Madison Square Garden. The Suns, who enter Monday’s slate with the best record in the Pacific Division, will be on the tail end of a back-to-back. Phoenix lost to the Brooklyn Nets 128-119 on Sunday in a possible NBA Finals preview. The Knicks, who have surged to the No. 4 seed in the East, have covered in 12 straight games.
A client placed a $500 bet on the Knicks (250/1) to win the NBA Title…👀
$500 to win $125,000
Who thinks they have a chance? pic.twitter.com/ZIXCTjsshF
— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) April 19, 2021
Wednesday, April 28
Man City favored in Champions League semis
Following a 1-0 win over Tottenham in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, Manchester City won its first of three possible major trophies this spring. Man City can win a rare treble by capturing an elusive title in the UEFA Champions League along with a crown in the English Premier League. On Wednesday night, Man City (+115) is favored to defeat Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals. Paris Saint-Germain, last year’s Champions League runner-up, has odds of +210 at DraftKings to win the opening leg. The second leg is scheduled for May 4 in Manchester. With five matches remaining, Man City currently leads Manchester United by 10 points for the Premier League title. In the other semifinal, Chelsea will take on Real Madrid Tuesday.
Thursday, April 29
NFL Draft: Intrigue surrounds Niners’ No. 3 pick
Barring a major shock, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is expected to be taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the top pick on Thursday at the 2021 NFL Draft. In fact, one bettor at BetMGM put $50,000 on Lawrence to be selected by the Jags (-1250). The odds have now jumped to -10000 at numerous books. Following the trade of Sam Darnold to Carolina, the New York Jets are also projected to select a quarterback at No. 2. Consequently, the tenor of the Draft will be determined by the San Francisco 49ers’ selection with the third overall pick. The Niners, the 2019 NFC champions, surrendered a king’s ransom — three first-round picks and a 2022 compensatory third-round pick — to move up nine spots to No. 3. While Niners General Manager John Lynch has committed to Jimmy Garoppolo for now, San Francisco is widely expected to take a quarterback with the pick. At BetRivers, the public has backed Justin Fields on the prop, with approximately 92% of the handle on the Ohio State quarterback. Other possibilities at the pick include: Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, and BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.
Draft specials at various sportsbooks
First five picks to be all quarterbacks, BetMGM — +900
Total Big 10 players drafted in Round 1? Over 6.5 (-105); Under 6.5 (-125), PointsBet
Player to be selected first? DeVonta Smith (+116) vs. Jaylen Waddle (-148), FanDuel
At least 15 SEC players to be taken in Round 1, BetMGM — +300
Draft position of last quarterback selected in Round 1? Over 15.5 (-180); Under 15.5 (+160)
Position of Mr. Irrelevant: Offense (-110), Defense (+100), Special Teams (+110), DraftKings
Round of First Special Teams player drafted, DraftKings
- Round 3 (+800)
- Round 4 (+300)
- Round 5 (+125)
- Round 6 (+175)
The longest a draft has taken to select a defensive player is seven picks (1999).
Odd to be the first defensive player drafted, per @DKSportsbook:
🔹 Patrick Surtain -125
🔹 Micah Parsons +300
🔹 Kwity Paye +400
🔹 Jaycee Horn +700https://t.co/p8F2xsFX3W
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 21, 2021
Friday, April 30
Maine sports betting hearing
Maine’s Joint Veterans And Legal Affairs Committee on Friday will debate four sports betting-related bills as leaders in The Pine Tree State resume attempts to legalize online sports wagering. One bill up for debate Friday, LD 1352, has drawn comparison with legislation that was vetoed by Gov. Janet Mills in 2020. The current incarnation is authored by Sen. Louis Luchini (D – District 7). In 2019, Luchini wrote LD 553, a bill that would have allowed a diverse set of participants, including federally recognized tribes, to apply for sports betting licenses. The Committee On Veterans and Legal Affairs will also hear three other bills on sports betting at Friday’s hearing. Under LD 1404, a bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Baldacci (D – District 9), 14% of a mobile sports betting operator’s adjusted gross sports wagering receipts will be allocated to Maine’s Department of Education to cover essential programs and services for K-12 students. Two other bills address issues of oversight, taxes, and regulation.
Saturday, May 1
A Kentucky Derby without Lasix
For the first time on record, Churchill Downs has banned the use of race-day Lasix for 3-year old horses entered in the Kentucky Derby. Lasix, also known as Furosemide, is popular among trainers for preventing respiratory bleeding in thoroughbred horses. But the medication is also a diuretic that has garnered controversy as a possible masking agent for a litany of performance-enhancement drugs. Although the majority of Kentucky Derby prep races also banned Lasix on the day of the race, some horses still use it in training. Essential Quality, the unbeaten champion of the 2020 Breeders Cup Juvenile, will likely enter the gates as the decisive favorite. A 3-year old son of Tapit, Essential Quality is coming off a gritty performance in the Blue Grass Stakes when he rallied down the stretch to defeat Highly Motivated by a neck. Heading into Saturday’s first jewel of the Triple Crown, one stat bears watching. In 23 of the last 31 editions of the Kentucky Derby, the winner has run the final furlong (an eighth of a mile) of their last Derby prep in under 13 seconds and the final three furlongs in under 38 seconds. Four prominent horses meet the criteria this year: Essential Quality, Highly Motivated, Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie, and Florida Derby winner Known Agenda.
Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality galloping in the snow-draped background of @ChurchillDowns. #KyDerby pic.twitter.com/jTvBnTafDK
— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 21, 2021