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, May 15
Kraken-Stars square off in Game 7
Three spots in the NHL conference finals are set, with the final one to be determined Monday in Dallas. The Kraken raced out to a 4-1 lead in Saturday’s Game 6 en route to a 6-3 victory over the Stars. Dallas is a -210 moneyline favorite at Caesars Sportsbook; the total is six goals.
Seattle has scored 19 goals combined in its three wins in the series, compared with only seven in three defeats. Stars center Roope Hintz is tied for second in the NHL with 18 playoff points but went without one in Game 6. A win by the Kraken would set up a matchup against the Golden Knights featuring two teams that did not exist before 2016.
*screams in game seven* pic.twitter.com/aVvdZW5TX8
— x – Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) May 15, 2023
Tuesday, May 16
Lakers-Nuggets open Western Conference finals
After dismissing the Suns in six games last week, the Nuggets emerged as favorites to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. On Tuesday, Denver will face the red-hot Lakers in Game 1 of the conference finals.
The matchup is one few predicted when the NBA playoffs opened last month. The Lakers, seeded seventh in the West, had odds as high as 33/1 in February to win the NBA championship. The Lakers sailed through the first two rounds of the playoffs, however, eliminating both Memphis and Golden State in six games. At BetMGM, the Nuggets have odds of -155 to outlast the Lakers (+125), with the odds moving slightly in Denver’s favor over the last 24 hours.
Odds to win NBA Western Conference at @BetMGM
▪️ Nuggets -145
▪️ Lakers +120
Highest Ticket%: Nuggets 26.2%
Highest Handle%: Nuggets 24.3%
Biggest Liability: Nuggets
— John Ewing (@johnewing) May 15, 2023
Massachusetts vote on Fanatics application
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has a vote scheduled on the approval of Fanatics Betting and Gaming’s certificate of operation. Already operating on a limited basis in two states, Fanatics plans to expand into Massachusetts and Maryland by June, Fanatics Sportsbook CEO Matt King said last week.
The MGC’s vote will take place two days after Fanatics announced a binding agreement to acquire PointsBet’s U.S. assets for about $150 million. The announcement late Sunday capped a week rife with intense speculation about an impending deal. PointsBet withdrew its Massachusetts online sports betting application in February.
Teams pray for Wembanyama lottery ticket
Prior to the Nuggets-Lakers tip, the NBA will hold its 2023 Draft Lottery. Not since LeBron James entered the league in 2003 has a prospect garnered as much hype as French forward Victor Wembanyama. A 7-foot-5 teenager with perimeter skills that have drawn comparisons with Kevin Durant’s, Wembanyama has odds of -20000 at FanDuel to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick on June 22.
The Detroit Pistons, who finished a league-worst 17-65, have odds of +550 to land the No. 1 pick Tuesday night, the same as the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. Besides Wembanyama, the draft will feature Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller among other top prospects.
The pressure of being the first player chosen in the NBA draft can crush even high school phenoms, big-name college players and international stars. The teams vying for the top pick in Tuesday’s draft lottery have to consider that, too. https://t.co/uinLibL6NR
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) May 15, 2023
Wednesday, May 17
Celtics begin conference title defense
Jayson Tatum erupted for 51 points Sunday as the Celtics thrashed the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. With the effort, the Celtics swingman set an NBA record for most points in a Game 7 performance. Tatum, a first-team all-NBA performer, added 13 rebounds and five assists, becoming only the fifth player in NBA history with at least 50-10-5 in a playoff game.
Tatum and the Celtics open the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday against the Miami Heat in Boston. The Celtics are massive -550 favorites at FanDuel to defeat the eighth-seeded Heat (+390) in the series. Boston is favored by 7.5-points in the opener; the total is 210 points.
Tatum is also the favorite at FanDuel to win NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, ahead of Nikola Jokic and Jaylen Brown, at +280 and +600, respectively. Nuggets guard Jamal Murray offers potential value at +3400.
Friday, May 19
Drake Group webinar on college sports betting
Founded in 1999, The Drake Group is a think tank focused on protecting academic integrity from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports. The organization will host a webinar on sports betting Friday at a time when the college sports landscape has been rocked by investigations facing three universities.
Alabama fired head baseball coach Brad Bohannon recently following suspicious wagering activity in the team’s loss to No. 1 LSU. Bohannon reportedly communicated with a bettor who placed a series of wagers on LSU from a legal sportsbook in Ohio. Then, the University of Iowa and Iowa State separately announced that more than 40 active student-athletes from the two schools were under investigation for sports betting infractions.
The webinar on Friday will feature appearances from Declan Hill, author of The Fix: Organized Crime and Soccer and The Insider’s Guide to Match-Fixing in Football, and Toledo athletic director Bryan Blair. In 2015, two former Toledo basketball players were sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to charges related to match fixing. Years earlier, six Toledo football and basketball players were charged for their roles in various match-fixing schemes.
Saturday, May 20
Derby champ Mage headlines field in the Preakness
Kentucky Derby champion Mage looks to become the first horse since Justify in 2018 to complete the Derby-Preakness double. Five years ago, Justify became only the 13th horse ever to win the Triple Crown. Mage joined Justify as the only Kentucky Derby winners since 1882 to win the Run for Roses without having competed as a 2-year-old.
The potential field has been severely weakened over the last week. On Monday, trainer Steve Asmussen announced that Disarm will skip the Preakness for a lengthy rest. With the defection of the Derby’s fourth-place finisher, there is a strong possibility that Mage will be the only Preakness entrant from the first leg of the Triple Crown. Mage will still have to contend with First Mission, the winner of last month’s Grade 3 Lexington Stakes. Last week, oddsmaker Keith Feustle indicated that he would likely install Mage as a slight favorite over the Brad Cox-trained First Mission.
If the Triple Crown is going to remain at the 2 weeks between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, then maybe increase the purse of the Preakness to $2 million and include an owner/trainer bonus for horses who were also-rans in the Kentucky Derby if they win the Preakness. Thoughts?
— Jeffrey Byrnes (@jeffbyrnes96) May 15, 2023
Sunday, May 21
Rory pursues first major in nine years
While Rory McIlroy remains in the top 3 in this week’s Official World Golf Rankings, the Northern Ireland golfer has not won a major since 2014. When McIlroy captured the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla, Jack Nicklaus remarked that he had the talent to win “15 or 20 majors” if he played long enough.
McIlroy, a four-time major winner, is the third choice (+1400) at DraftKings to win the PGA Championship. Reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler are the co-favorites at +750. A revamped course at Oak Hill in Rochester will reward players who keep it in the fairways, away from deep bunkers and the punishing rough.
Time to turn our attention to the PGA Championship 👀
— ActionGolfHQ (@ActionGolfHQ) May 14, 2023