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.
Tuesday, January 3
Top books expected to release opening weekend figures in Ohio
More than a dozen digital operators went live in Ohio on Sunday during the Buckeye State’s opening weekend of legal sports betting. Not a single sportsbook in the state offered in-game odds on the CFP national semifinal between Ohio State and Georgia, as the Buckeyes lost after missing what would have been a game-winning field goal seconds before the clock struck midnight on the East Coast. Several Ohio books began accepting bets on other sports just after midnight.
Ohio is the most populous state to go live with online sports betting since New York‘s much-anticipated digital launch last January. The opening day of sports betting in Ohio saw the second-most downloads of U.S. sportsbook apps since the start of the NFL season in September, according to a research note from JMP Securities analyst Jordan Bender. In total, there were 166,907 downloads nationwide on Sunday, slightly below amounts from the opening day of sports betting in New York.
A life-threatening injury suffered by Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin in Monday night’s Bills-Bengals game cast a pall on a massive weekend for sports in Ohio. The NFL postponed the game after Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during the first quarter of Monday’s matchup in Cincinnati. As of Tuesday morning, none of the major Ohio sportsbooks had made a decision on bet settlements associated with the game.
We are monitoring tonight’s game between the Bills and Bengals. When an official decision is made regarding the status of the game, we will assess the situation and communicate accordingly. Our thoughts are with Damar Hamlin and his family
— DraftKings CX Team (@DK_Assist) January 3, 2023
Wednesday, January 4
Panel on sports betting at Consumer Electronics Show
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s repeal of PASPA in 2018, a number of prominent sports betting executives have appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the world’s largest tech conference. On Wednesday, a panel at CES 2023 will tackle issues related to investments in sports betting, Web3, and the metaverse during a session at the Aria Resort & Casino. The panel will feature appearances from Audacy Chief Digital Officer J.D. Crowley, Lazard Freres & Co. Managing Director David Higley, and CAA executive Adam Friedman, among others.
Saturday, January 7
Will Georgia remain double-digit favorite over TCU ahead of title game?
Texas Christian University stunned Michigan on New Year’s Eve to earn the program’s first-ever berth in a national title game. Following a 5-7 campaign in 2021, TCU opened the season with odds of around 200/1 to make the national semifinals, by far the biggest longshot to ever qualify for the CFP. The Horned Frogs took a 34-16 lead on Dee Winters’ third quarter interception return for a touchdown, then withstood a valiant Wolverines comeback to prevail by a score of 51-45.
Georgia, the definitive national title favorite throughout the season, erased a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat Ohio State 42-41 in the other semifinal. The Bulldogs clinched the victory when Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles missed a 50-yard field goal with three seconds left. While Georgia opened as a two-touchdown favorite at some sportsbooks for next Monday’s title game, the line has come down a little since opening.
▪️ UGA -555
▪️ TCU +400
— John Ewing 🦁 (@johnewing) January 1, 2023
As of Tuesday morning, Georgia remained a 13-point favorite over TCU at PointsBet. On the moneyline, the Bulldogs have odds of -520 to defeat TCU (+380) straight up. However, moneyline odds vary considerably across the market, with georgia priced at -780 at FanDuel.
The Bulldogs enter the national title game with a 16-game winning streak. Georgia is looking to win consecutive national titles for the first time in school history.
AFC South title on the line in Jacksonville
After trailing the Titans by three games in early December, the Jaguars have reeled off four straight wins to take a one-game lead over Tennessee in the AFC South. Despite dropping six straight, the Titans can still win the division with a victory over the Jags on Saturday night. During their winning streak, the Jags have averaged 31.5 points per game while recording double-digit victories in three of the four wins.
Beset by various ailments, the Titans have 22 players on injured reserve, including starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Titans scratched seven starters in Week 17 against the Cowboys, most notably All-Pro running back Derrick Henry. But Henry (hip) is expected to return for Saturday’s win-and-you’re-in showdown. The Jags are 6.5-point favorites at BetMGM; the total is 38.5 points.
The Titans announced Monday that Joshua Dobbs will start against the Jaguars. Dobbs went 20-of-39 for 239 yards and a touchdown in last week’s loss to the Cowboys. Signed by the Titans on Dec. 21, Dobbs supplanted Malik Willis as the starter in Week 17. A bettor at Caesars Sportsbook last Thursday put $20,000 on the Titans to win the AFC at odds of 100/1.
"I thought he tried to take the opportunity and run with it, and lead, and just think he gives us the best chance right now.”
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) January 2, 2023
Sunday, January 8
Final wild card spots open in AFC, NFC
A chaotic Sunday is expected on the final day of the NFL regular season, with the last wild card spot up for grabs in both conferences. In the NFC, only one playoff spot remains after the Giants crushed the Colts in Week 17 to clinch the No. 6 seed in the conference. Remarkably, the Packers have the inside track for the last playoff berth despite a 4-8 start to the season. Green Bay has responded with four straight victories, punctuated by a 41-17 thrashing of NFC North champion Minnesota on Sunday.
A $30,000 GB Packers Super Bowl ticket was just purchased for $424! Odds of 70/1 for the buyer. 👀 pic.twitter.com/lhGjDUfXQL
— PropSwap (@PropSwap) December 29, 2022
The Packers will receive the No. 7 seed in the NFC with a victory over the Lions on Sunday Night Football. Detroit (8-8) can also make the playoffs with a win, but it would also need a loss from the Seahawks earlier on Sunday afternoon to punch its ticket. The Packers are 4.5-point favorites over the Lions at WynnBET; the total is 49.5.
The Seahawks will earn the NFC’s final wild card spot with a win over the Rams and a loss by the Packers. At SI Sportsbook, Seattle is favored by 6.5 over Los Angeles, which has lost eight of its last 10 games.
With the Steelers’ comeback win over the Ravens on Sunday night, four teams in the AFC remain in contention for the final playoff spot. Following a Week 17 win over the Dolphins, the Patriots control their own destiny for the No. 7 seed. New England simply needs a win over Buffalo to earn a trip to the playoffs for the second straight year. The timing of the Bills-Patriots game may be impacted by Monday night’s postponement.
Should New England falter against Buffalo, the Patriots still have an outside shot of reaching the playoffs. However, Bill Belichick’s team would need losses from the Dolphins, Steelers, and Titans to qualify in that scenario. The Dolphins will reach the playoffs with a win over the Jets and a loss by the Patriots to the Bills. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, needs a win over Cleveland and losses by Miami and New England to clinch the AFC’s final playoff spot. The Steelers are 3-point favorites at Unibet; the total is 38.5.
Odds to make the playoffs (at FanDuel)
- Lions: Yes +820; No -1600
- Seahawks: Yes +250; No -325
- Jaguars: Yes -355; No +270
Key injuries and lineup uncertainties heading into Week 18:
- Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa missed a Week 17 loss against the Patriots due to concussion-like symptoms. As of Tuesday morning, the Dolphins had not announced a starter for Sunday’s matchup against the Jets. However, it is unlikely that Tagovailoa will be a part of the team’s game plan, according to Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel. The odds moved in favor of the Jets in light of McDaniel’s announcement, with the game declared an even-money pick at Circa Sports.
- Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has missed Baltimore’s last four games since suffering a knee injury against the Broncos in Week 13. Jackson’s status for a Week 18 matchup against the Bengals is still uncertain, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. Multiple books took the Bengals-Ravens game off the board following the postponement of Monday Night Football.
- While Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is expected to play Sunday against the Giants, Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni did not name a starter during Monday’s press conference. Hurts has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury. The Eagles could fall out of the top seed in the NFC with a loss to the Giants. The Eagles are favored by 14 points against the Giants at BetRivers; the total is 42.5.