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, March 21
UConn, NC State eye trips to the Sweet 16 in women’s college hoops
UConn is on a roll with 11 straight victories since a narrow loss to Villanova last month. The run coincides with the return of star guard Paige Bueckers in late February following surgery on her fractured knee in December. At Caesars Sportsbook, the Lady Huskies are 16-point favorites over UCF in Monday’s second-round matchup.
Also on Monday, No. 1 seed NC State will face No. 9 seed Kansas State in Raleigh. The Lady Wolfpack are riding an 11-game winning streak of their own. South Carolina remains the favorite at +160 to win the national championship at Caesars, followed by UConn and Stanford at +325 and +350, respectively. NC State is the fourth choice at +700. In Friday’s first-round matchup against Howard, South Carolina raced out to a 44-4 halftime lead en route to a 79-21 win.
Friday, March 25
Saint Peter’s looks to continue miraculous run
Even after a shocking upset over Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, Saint Peter’s entered Saturday’s Round of 32 as 500/1 longshots at FanDuel to win the national championship. The Peacocks responded by defeating Murray State 70-60 to earn the program’s first trip to the Sweet 16. On Friday, Saint Peter’s will face Purdue in the East Regional semifinals.
The run from the Peacocks is remarkable when you consider that Saint Peter’s has losses this season to Rider, Siena, Stony Brook, Canisius, and St. Francis, each of which are ranked below 200 in the NCAA NET rankings. Even with the victory over Murray State, Saint Peter’s still has 400/1 odds at FanDuel to win it all. Alternatively, you can bet on the Peacocks to make the Final Four at 35/1. While Florida Gulf Coast and Oral Roberts have made the Sweet 16 as No. 15 seeds over the last decade, a 15 has never made the Final Four.
Why did Shaheen Holloway go to Saint Peter's, a school with no NCAA tournament wins?
"Look at me. I like challenges. I like betting on myself. I like being the underdog and having guys that fit my personality. I think that's why these guys play with a chip on their shoulder." pic.twitter.com/eVoidV1h1b
— Sean Farrell (@seanfarrell92) March 20, 2022
In the other East Regional semi, No. 4 UCLA will face No. 8 North Carolina on Friday night in Philadelphia. The Bruins, a 72-56 winner over Saint Mary’s on Saturday, opened as 2.5-point favorites at DraftKings. In the Midwest, top-seed Kansas is a 7.5-point favorite over Providence. The winner will advance to the Elite Eight on Sunday against the winner of Friday’s matchup between Miami and Iowa State.
Saturday, March 26
Life Is Good favored in prestigious Dubai World Cup
Fresh off a dominant win in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup, Life Is Good will face a challenging field in the $12 million Dubai World Cup. Life Is Good, the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile champion, will be tested by Hot Rod Charlie, last year’s runner up at the Belmont Stakes. Hot Rod Charlie already has a win this year on the same track at Meydan Racecourse. Life is Good romped in the Pegasus with a 3¼-lengths win over 2021 Horse of the Year Knicks Go. The Dubai World Cup will be held at 10 furlongs, a distance that will be the longest of any race of Life Is Good’s distinguished career.
🇺🇸's leading Dubai World Cup contender Life Is Good with a leisurely canter on the main track.
— Dubai Racing Club (@RacingDubai) March 21, 2022
Potential Gonzaga-Duke rematch in the Elite Eight
When Gonzaga faced Duke in November, the powerhouse programs engaged in a heavyweight battle in Las Vegas and the Blue Devils emerged with a hard-fought 84-81 win. The programs could meet again in the Elite Eight. Duke advanced to the Sweet 16 with a comeback win over Michigan State on Sunday evening. It marked the final matchup between Hall of Fame coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo.
Tom Izzo when someone asks if he’s happy for Coach K pic.twitter.com/d5A8hScGfA
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) March 20, 2022
If both Duke and Gonzaga prevail in Thursday’s Sweet 16, they will face off again on Saturday in San Francisco. Gonzaga remains the heavy betting favorite to win the NCAA Tournament after outlasting Memphis 82-78 in the Round of 32.
Duke, however, is the sentimental choice among bettors in Krzyzewski’s final season. Prior to the start of the tournament, Duke ranked as the top betting choice at PointsBet with a whopping 23.8% of the handle. Duke also entered the tournament as FanDuel’s largest liability on the futures market. One FanDuel bettor in New Jersey placed $300,000 on the Blue Devils to win it all at odds of 17/1.
As of Monday morning, Gonzaga had odds of +200 at FanDuel to win the national championship. Kansas and Arizona were the co-second choice on the futures market at +500, followed by Purdue (+900).
Sunday, March 27
‘The Power of the Dog’ consensus favorite at Oscars
With 12 Oscar nominations, The Power of the Dog is expected to have a big night on Sunday at the 94th Academy Awards. The Power of the Dog is a convincing -285 favorite at DraftKings to win Best Picture.
Jessica Chastain has been nominated for Best Actress twice before, but has yet to win the award. Chastain has emerged as the -140 favorite for her role in the The Eyes of Tammy Faye. For Best Actor, Will Smith is the overwhelming -650 favorite for his portrayal of Richard Williams in the tennis drama King Richard.
Serena and Venus Williams Join Will Smith at 2022 Producers Guild Awards to Celebrate King Richard https://t.co/TZ6CO9eMZF
— CurtisLHudson21 (@CurtisLHudson2) March 21, 2022