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 notable news.
Monday, September 13
Raiders face Ravens in MNF opener
Allegiant Stadium should be rocking on Monday evening when the Las Vegas Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens for the Monday Night Football season opener. While the venue opened its doors in 2020, the Raiders played their entire home schedule last year without fans in the stands due to COVID-19. The Ravens opened as 5.5-point favorites, but have been ravaged by injury at running back. Following injuries to J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill, Gus Edwards suffered a knee injury last week at practice. The Ravens responded by adding former Pro Bowler Le’Veon Bell to their practice squad. The Raiders ranked 23rd against the run last season. As of Sunday night, the line remained steady at Ravens minus-4.
The Ravens have until 4 p.m. Monday to activate Le'Veon Bell and it sounds like there's a chance they could do just that.https://t.co/IJw7pamfLq
— NBCSports Washington (@NBCSWashington) September 12, 2021
Tuesday, September 14
Chelsea opens UEFA Champions League title defense
Group play in the UEFA Champions League begins Tuesday when defending champion Chelsea faces Zenit Saint Petersburg. Chelsea is a massive -500 favorite, with Zenit Saint Petersburg at +1600 and a draw at +575. On Wednesday, a revamped Paris Saint-Germain (-475) squad will take on Club Brugge in a Group A matchup. Club Brugge is a +1200 underdog at PointsBet. PSG made the biggest splash of the summer transfer season with the signing of Lionel Messi, a six-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, an award generally regarded as the most prestigious honor given to an individual player in international soccer. PSG is the top choice at PointsBet to win the 2022 Champions League, with odds of +300.
Other Champions League futures at PointsBet
- Manchester City: +350
- Bayern Munich: +750
- Chelsea: +800
- Liverpool: +1000
- Manchester United: +1000
- Real Madrid: +1600
- Barcelona: +2000
- Juventus: +2000
Thursday, September 16
Washington and Giants battle to avoid 0-2 start
The NFC East was by far the worst division in the NFL last season, with all four teams finishing below .500. Three of the four lost in Week 1 this year, with only the Philadelphia Eagles recording a victory. Washington, the defending NFC East champion, will attempt to avoid an 0-2 start when it takes on the Giants on Thursday night. The Washington Football Team is a 4.5-point favorite at DraftKings. The availability of Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick could affect early line movement. Fitzpatrick left Sunday’s loss against the Chargers with a hip injury. The veteran QB will likely miss several weeks, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. Fitzpatrick is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday. The Giants, meanwhile, struggled to stop Denver on critical downs in a 27-13 loss, including all three attempts on fourth down. The total is 42.5 points.
From @GMFB: Washington Football Team QB Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation, knocking him out several weeks and likely meaning a stint on IR. He'll have an MRI today to determine how much time he'll miss. pic.twitter.com/z1z9giIg0o
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 13, 2021
New Jersey DGE releases August figures
New Jersey closes out the slower summer season with the release of August sports betting figures on Thursday. In July, New Jersey reported a sports betting handle of $578.7 million, translating to sportsbook revenue of about $55 million (at a hold of 9.5%). As sportsbook operators gear up for the start of the NFL season, August is historically a light month for sportsbooks nationwide. Over the first seven months of the year, New Jersey books generated $423.3 million in revenue on a handle of $5.5 billion.
New Jersey is now the third highest grossing sports betting market in the world by total handle, trailing only Germany and the UK
— Ryan Butler (@ButlerBets) August 16, 2021
Saturday, September 18
SEC title rematch in Gainesville
Alabama defeated Florida 52-46 in last December’s SEC Championship, in a game that featured eight first-round picks from the 2021 NFL Draft. The teams meet again on Saturday in a rematch in Gainesville. The top-ranked Crimson Tide opened as 15-point favorites at Circa Sports. Elsewhere, Bama rival Auburn will travel to State College for a key nonconference matchup against Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 7-point favorites; the total is 56.5 points. Finally, fourth-ranked Oklahoma welcomes Nebraska to Norman. The former Big Eight rivals have played twice when both were ranked as the top two teams in the nation. The Cornhuskers defeated the Sooners 35-31 in 1971, a contest labeled by a number of college football experts as the “Game of the Century.” The matchup on Saturday is not expected to be as close, with Oklahoma a 23-point favorite.
Sunday, September 19
Three double-digit spreads in Week 2
Smarting from a 33-29 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cleveland Browns opened as an 11.5-point favorite in Week 2 against the Houston Texans. The Browns held a 12-point lead against the defending AFC champions at two junctures on Sunday, but allowed 23 second-half points in the crushing defeat. On Monday, NFL Network analyst Kyle Brandt lauded Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield for his first-half performance, gushing that Mayfield looked like the “best quarterback in the league” in the opening half. But the Chiefs clinched the win late in the fourth quarter when a hurried Mayfield was intercepted by defensive back Mike Hughes. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meanwhile, opened as 12-point favorites over the Atlanta Falcons in an NFC South divisional game. The Falcons looked thoroughly outclassed Sunday in a 32-6 defeat to the Eagles. The final matchup featuring a double-digit favorite takes place on Monday night when the Green Bay Packers (-10.5) host the Detroit Lions. There wasn’t a single game with a double-digit line in the first week of the season.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) September 13, 2021
Have a good week, everyone!