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.
Tuesday, September 7
Fernandez seeks first major semifinal
Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez has taken the U.S. Open by storm with two upsets over the first week of the year’s final grand slam. Fernandez, 19, defeated two-time champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, then ousted former world’s No. 1 Angelique Kerber in Sunday’s Round of 16. In the process, Fernandez became the first player since Chris Evert in 1975 to defeat two former world No. 1 players en route to the U.S. Open quarterfinals. On Tuesday, Fernandez is a +215 underdog at DraftKings against fifth-seed Elina Svitolina (-270) in the women’s quarters. Aryna Sabalenka, the tournament’s second seed, is a -175 favorite on Tuesday against Barbora Krejcikova (+145). Following Saturday’s loss by top seed Ashleigh Barty, Sabalenka is favored to win the women’s title.
U.S. Open women’s futures odds at DraftKings:
- Aryna Sabalenka: +275
- Karolina Pliskova: +400
- Elina Svitolina: +550
- Belinda Bencic: +650
- Emma Raducanu: +700
- Barbora Krejcikova: +700
- Maria Sakkari: +800
- Leylah Fernandez: +1500
Thursday, September 9
Sports betting set to go live in Arizona
Arizona sportsbooks are expected to go live at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, in time for the start of the NFL regular season. Books in the Grand Canyon State began ramping up efforts on Monday evening when a Maricopa Superior Court Judge denied an injunction filed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe. The suit filed against Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) sought to delay the rollout on grounds that the state’s legalized sports betting scheme violates an exclusivity provision granted to tribal groups statewide. The ADG issued 18 licenses on Aug. 27, approving live sports betting for a number of prominent companies including: Bally’s (Bally Bet), BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, Penn National Gaming (Barstool Sportsbook), Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers), and WynnBET, among others.
Looks like Arizona sports betting launch still go to go Thursday morning: multiple media outlets are reporting a judge has denied a gaming tribe's injunction to delay the launch. Appeal seems likely and legal action is still possible, but – for now – launch is still on pace.
— Ryan Butler (@ButlerBets) September 7, 2021
Bucs begin attempt at Super Bowl repeat with opener vs. Cowboys
At the ripe age of 44, Tom Brady owns seven Super Bowl victories, the last coming in February when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. With one more title, Brady will set the record for pro football championships won by a single player, a mark he currently shares with Otto Graham. The Bucs will raise their Super Bowl LV banner on Thursday night in the NFL regular season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. The Bucs are 8-point favorites over the Cowboys; the total is 52 points.
As of Monday evening, the Bucs ranked second in Super Bowl futures at FanDuel, with odds of +650. Brady last won consecutive Super Bowls in 2005 when the New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. One prop to check out on Thursday is on total receiving yards (now over/under 5.5 yards, after opening at 7.5) for Bucs running back Ronald Jones at DraftKings. In 2020, Jones finished with single-digit receiving yards in eight of 16 games in the regular season, then went without a catch in the playoffs. The Bucs also acquired Gio Bernard in the offseason, a veteran scatback adept at catching passes out of the backfield.
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) September 5, 2021
Saturday, September 11
Potential Rose Bowl preview in Columbus
At first, Saturday’s tilt between fourth-ranked Ohio State and No. 11 Oregon had been one of the most anticipated during the early portion of the college football season. But the Ducks were lucky to escape on Saturday night with a 31-24 victory over Fresno State in a game in which Oregon closed as a 19.5-point favorite. Oregon star defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux sprained his ankle in the victory, and his status for Saturday afternoon’s matchup is unclear. Meanwhile, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud went 13-22 for 294 yards and four touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ 45-31 win over Minnesota. As a result, Ohio State opened as a 13.5-point favorite at Circa Sports.
Also on Saturday, seventh-ranked Iowa State will host No. 18 Iowa in the 68th renewal of the intrastate rivalry. The Hawkeyes are coming off an impressive 34-6 win over No. 17 Indiana. Though Iowa has won five straight over the Cyclones, Iowa State opened as a 4.5-point favorite. Meanwhile, top-ranked Alabama returns to action when the Crimson Tide host Mercer in Tuscaloosa. Bama quarterback Bryce Young passed for 344 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-13 win over Miami (Fla.), setting program records for a quarterback making his first start.
As we wait for CFB week 2 lines, it’s worth noting that the Saban-factory machine, while unbeatable ATS week 1 vs good schools…
12-20-1 ATS as a favorite of 35 or more
6-12-1 ATS as a favorite of 40 or more
They play Mercer this week.
— David Bearman ESPN (@DBearmanESPN) September 5, 2021
Sunday, September 12
Djokovic eyes calendar grand slam
Despite dropping a set in both his third- and fourth-round matches, Novak Djokovic has arrived at the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open relatively unscathed. If he reaches and wins Sunday’s final, Djokovic will win his 21st career grand slam, breaking a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the all-time mark. Djokovic would also become the sixth player, male or female, ever to win all four grand slams in the same calendar year.
As of Monday evening, Djokovic had overwhelming odds of -120 at DraftKings to win the men’s singles title. Ahead of the tournament, Djokovic was selected to win the Open on 54% of all tickets, representing an astounding 65% of the handle. On the other side of the draw, several imposing challengers lurk in Daniil Medvedev (+190), Carlos Alcaraz (35/1), and Felix Auger-Aliassime (40/1). Oddsmakers largely expect a Djokovic-Medvedev final after the latter sailed through the first four rounds without dropping a set.
Chiefs-Browns highlights first Sunday of NFL season
More than a dozen games are on the the first Sunday slate of the NFL regular season, including one in Kansas City where the defending AFC champion Chiefs face Cleveland in a matchup of two Super Bowl contenders. The Chiefs are 6-point favorites over the Browns at BetMGM. On the futures market, the Chiefs (+450) are the top Super Bowl champion choice at BetMGM, while the Browns are the eighth choice at 16/1. In January, the Chiefs edged the Browns 22-17 in a thrilling AFC Divisional Round victory. Last season, according to Barstool Sportsbook, only four teams — the Dolphins, Ravens, Bills, and Packers — covered at a rate of 60% or higher.
The Packers are 4-point favorites in Jacksonville against the Saints. The matchup between two of the top teams in the NFC was moved from New Orleans to Jacksonville due to the impact of Hurricane Ida. Last season, underdogs won against the spread at a 55.8% clip, according to ESPN Chalk, with road dogs covering at a higher rate than home dogs. There is not a single game with a double-digit underdog in Week 1.
Biggest Dogs In Week 1 (lines via PointsBet)
- Bears +7.5 at Rams (-115). Moneyline: +275
- Lions +7.5 vs 49ers (-115). Moneyline: +275
- Steelers +6.5 at Bills (-110). Moneyline: +225
- Browns +6 at Chiefs (-110). Moneyline: +215
- Jets +5 at Panthers (-110). Moneyline: +190