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 and Wide World of Gambling at US Bets for a look back at last week’s relevant news.
Monday, July 19
Sovereign Tribal Nations converge in Vegas for top gaming conference
As one of the longest-running gaming conferences in the nation, the Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention returns this week after a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The five-day conference hosted by the National Indian Gaming Association features appearances from leading stakeholders and tribal gaming executives nationwide. From a sports betting perspective, tribal leaders are attuned to developments in Florida and New York, both of which legalized mobile betting in the spring. In Florida, the state agreed to a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe, but the pact is still under review by the U.S. Department of the Interior. While applicants will receive bonus points for partnering with tribal entities in New York’s competitive bidding process for mobile sports betting, there is still concern that the tribal groups will be cut out of the process.
Tuesday, July 20
Resilient Bucks eye first NBA title since 1971
Trailing by 16 points in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks caught fire on Saturday night for a stunning comeback win over the Phoenix Suns. The Bucks hit 32 of 45 field goals in the second and third quarters combined, turning the large deficit into a double-digit lead of their own. Milwaukee then withstood a thrilling Suns’ comeback and clinched the victory with a Khris Middleton free throw with 9.8 seconds left. With the 123-119 win, Milwaukee is one game away from its first NBA title in 50 years. At DraftKings, the Bucks are 5-point favorites to win Tuesday’s Game 6 and clinch the series over the Western Conference champion Suns. Following Saturday’s comeback, the Bucks now have odds of -425 to triumph in the finals, with the Suns up to +330. Milwaukee opened the series as slight underdogs (+145). After losing the first two games of the series, the Bucks had steep futures odds of +370 prior to Game 3. Now, the Suns have to win on the road for the first time in the series to avoid elimination. Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the overwhelming favorite to win NBA Finals MVP, with odds of -400. Suns guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul are the co-second choice at +650, followed by Middleton (30/1) and Jrue Holiday (70/1). If the Suns win Game 6, a decisive Game 7 is scheduled for Thursday night.
Giannis is the current favorite to win NBA Finals MVP 🏆
How his odds have shifted throughout the Playoffs 📊 pic.twitter.com/vwomJhvLer
— NBABet (@nbabet) July 19, 2021
Wednesday, July 21
Kraken look to make a splash at NHL Expansion Draft
Before Wednesday’s NHL Expansion Draft, the league released a team-by-team list of unprotected players available for selection by the expansion Seattle Kraken. The list includes several NHL all-stars, headlined by Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko. Other prominent veterans such as Joonas Donskoi (Avalanche), Mark Giordano (Flames), Jordan Eberle (Islanders), Jeff Skinner (Sabres), Nino Niederreiter (Hurricane), Yanni Gourde (Lightning), and Shayne Gostisbehere (Flyers) are available in Wednesday’s draft. The Kraken had odds of 70/1 to win the 2022 Stanley Cup on Saturday night; the odds fell to 60/1 following the release of the unprotected lists. Keep in mind that the Vegas Golden Knights made the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals in the club’s inaugural season, after assembling a talented squad in the expansion draft.
Friday, July 23
Tokyo Olympics kick off with Opening Ceremony
Following a year delay due to COVID-19, the Tokyo Summer Olympics will begin with Friday night’s Opening Ceremony. The Olympics feature a record 33 competitions and 339 events, including new sports like surfing, skateboard, sports climbing, and karate. In addition, baseball and softball are returning to the Olympics menu for the first time since 2008. At FanDuel, Team USA (+300) is the second choice to win gold in men’s baseball, behind host Japan, which has odds of +160. In softball, the U.S. is the -210 favorite to capture gold, ahead of Japan (+200), Canada (+850), and Australia (+1400). In total, the U.S. has odds of -750 to finish the Olympics with the most gold medals, along with odds of -2000 to finish with the most medals overall. The total for U.S. gold medals is 43.5 golds (over -114/under -114). While Nevada regulators banned wagering on the Olympics in 2008 and 2012, the state reinstated wagering for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Three years ago, the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics were held months before the Supreme Court overturned PASPA. As a result, the Tokyo Olympics will be the first games with widespread betting across the nation.
The #Olympics are coming, and Tokyo Summer Games will actually be the first to occur since PASPA's repeal in May '18.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) July 14, 2021
Sunday, July 25
Ledecky, USA men’s hoops highlight Olympic schedule
Though U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky is expected to win multiple gold medals in Tokyo, she will arguably face her toughest test of the Olympics in Sunday night’s 400-meter freestyle. Ledecky will face rival Ariarne Titmus, an Aussie who nearly broke Ledecky’s world record in the event last month. During the Australian Olympic Trials, Titmus finished the race in 3:56.90, nearly beating Ledecky’s world record time of 3:56.46 set in Rio, five years earlier. Titmus (-190) is a slight favorite over Ledecky at FanDuel. Also on Sunday, the U.S. will make its debut in men’s basketball when Team USA faces France in a Group A opener. Missing a few key players, the U.S. dropped consecutive games against Nigeria and Australia during an exhibition tour leading up to the Olympics. The Americans are still a -310 favorite to win gold, ahead of Australia (+500), Spain (+1200), France (+2300), and Slovenia (+2500).
— Julian Linden (@julianlinden) July 17, 2021