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 for a look back at last week’s notable news.
Monday, September 27
Cowboys and Eagles vie for NFC East lead
Once again, the NFC East is expected to be one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. In 2020, all four teams in the East finished below .500, a division won by the Washington Football Team at 7-9. With a win on Monday over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys will take the division lead heading into October. Through two weeks, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott ranked third in the NFC in passing yards per game at 320.0 yards. Prescott missed the majority of last season with a leg injury. The Cowboys are 3.5-point favorites at Caesars Sportsbook. Prior to Week 3, Philadelphia ranked fourth in the league in yards surrendered and tied for second in points allowed. The Eagles placed Pro Bowl defensive end Brandon Graham on injured reserve on Sept. 28 with a season-ending torn Achilles injury. Eagles safety Rodney McLeod is also out with an injured knee. The total is 51.5 points.
Thursday, September 30
SBC webinar on in-game betting
Several prominent industry experts will converge for a webinar on in-game betting on Thursday afternoon when SBC hosts a comprehensive presentation on the topic. The webinar will address questions on how sportsbook operators will adjust their in-game products to cater to various bettors, as well as the role Esports will play in sports betting in the relative near future. The panel is highlighted by appearances from Yaniv Sherman, who serves as senior vice president and head of 888Sports’ U.S. division, as well as Adi Dhandhania, senior vice president of Bally’s Strategy & Interactive division.
Comment period ends for California ballot initiative
A 30-day comment period for a California sports betting referendum will close on Thursday, setting the stage for a potential three-way battle during the November 2022 mid-term election. The initiative, which is backed by a bevy of top sportsbook operators, needs 997,139 signatures to make it onto the ballot. The referendum is considered to be complementary to a tribal initiative introduced in May that would limit sports betting to retail casinos on tribal lands. A third initiative, backed by a group of California cities and the state’s Attorney General’s Office, was also introduced in August. With a population estimated at around 40 million, California will almost certainly become the largest market nationwide if sports betting is legalized in the state.
In California, the operator-run referendum for online sports betting connected to tribes has pretty strong support (62% in favor) according to poll.
Initiative backed by Bally's, BetMGM, DK, Fanatics, FD, Penn, Wynn.
Only simple majority needed to passhttps://t.co/boO8NgJhHK
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) September 21, 2021
Saturday, October 2
Young faces Corral in early Heisman showdown
Over the first month of the college football season, no player has shot up the Heisman Trophy futures board more rapidly than Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral. Since the start of the regular season, constant action on the Ole Miss signal caller has created the largest liability for PointsBet on the futures market, company analyst Michael Korn told Fox News. Over three games, Corral has thrown for 997 yards and nine touchdowns while completing nearly 70% of his passes. On Saturday, though, Corral will face the toughest test of his career when the Rebels travel to Tuscaloosa to take on top-ranked Alabama.
Corral and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young are now the top two Heisman selections at Caesars. Several other major sportsbook face a considerable liability on Corral. At FOX Bet, the odds on the Ole Miss quarterback are now around +200, compared to 25/1 at the start of the season. The Crimson Tide opened as 20-point favorites at Circa Sports, but the line plunged all the way to 14 after the book accepted 10 limit bets ($3,000) on the Rebels over a period of three hours on Sunday, according to ESPN.com.
Updated: Ole Miss at Alabama -14.5, 77.5 (via @CircaSports). Crimson Tide opened -20.
Circa sportsbook director Matt Metcalf (@MMpact) said he took more than 10 limit bets on the Rebels and none on Alabama in the first three hours after posting the line.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) September 27, 2021
Also in the SEC, 16th-ranked Arkansas (+18) hits the road to face second-ranked Georgia on Saturday afternoon. The Razorbacks are coming off a 20-10 victory over then-seventh-ranked Texas A&M, the program’s first win over a Top 10 team since 2016. In other action, eighth-ranked Cincinnati (-2) takes on 12th-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend. The line will likely be impacted by the status of Fighting Irish quarterback Jack Coan, who left Saturday’s 41-13 win over Wisconsin with an ankle injury, although Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly indicated that the injury isn’t serious.
Sunday, October 3
MLB Wild Card races
Mired in a contentious battle for American League Wild Card positioning, the New York Yankees have responded with six straight wins, including a three-game weekend sweep over the Boston Red Sox. As of Monday, the Yankees held a one-game lead over the Red Sox for the wild card, with the Blue Jays and Mariners still in contention. New York pitcher Corey Kluber is lined up to take the mound as the Yankees face Tampa Bay in Sunday’s regular-season finale. The Red Sox face the Nats in Washington, D.C., the Mariners host the Angels in Seattle, and the Blue Jays will take on the Orioles in Toronto.
If there is a three-team tie for the wild card, the American League will hold two games next week to determine which teams will face each other in the Wild Card Game. There is also a remote possibility of a four-game tie. The Mariners, who have not made the playoffs since 2001, have stayed in contention with eight wins over their last 10 games.
American League Winner (At PointsBet)
- Astros — +220
- Rays — +300
- White Sox — +300
- Yankees — +600
- Red Sox — +750
- Blue Jays — +1000
- Mariners — +9000
In the National League, the wild card spots should be settled by Sunday. While the Dodgers have clinched the first spot for weeks, the Cardinals have seized control of the second position with a historic late-season run. St. Louis rallied on Sunday for a 4-2 win over the Cubs to capture its 16th straight victory. The winning streak is the longest in franchise history.
Entering Monday’s action, the Cardinals held a six-game lead over the Reds and Phillies for the second spot. The Phils trail the Braves by 2.5 games for first place in the NL East. The teams will face off in Atlanta for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday. The Braves have odds of -500 to win the division, with the Phils a heavy ‘dog at +350.
Braves 𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙩 magic number ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/mzNZ2woNTJ
— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) September 26, 2021
Bucs favored in Brady’s return to Gillette Stadium
Months after winning his seventh Super Bowl title in February, Tom Brady makes his triumphant return to Foxboro when the Patriots host the Bucs on Sunday Night Football. Both teams are coming off losses on Sunday to NFC powers, as the Pats lost to the Saints and the Rams handed the Bucs their first loss of the year. Brady’s return is one of the most anticipated moments of the NFL season. The Bucs are 6-point favorites at DraftKings, where the total is 49. Brady needs 68 yards on Sunday to break Drew Brees’ record for most career passing yards in NFL history. (We’re waiting for a book to offer a prop on if Brady will surpass Brees’ mark in the first quarter.) More importantly, will Bill Belichick present Brady with a game ball as a keepsake for the achievement? The duo parted unceremoniously in 2020 when the former Pats quarterback left for Tampa Bay. The Bucs are 17-6 since the move, while the Pats are 8-11.
— Dan Johnson (@DanDanoDeege) September 27, 2021