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.
Wednesday, Sept. 7
Ohio Casino Control Commission meeting
When second-ranked Ohio State escaped with a 21-10 win over Notre Dame on Saturday, throngs of Buckeyes fans watched and celebrated at Downtown Johnny’s, a popular Toledo sports bar. Although the Ohio Casino Control Commission has already approved 200 Type-C licenses that will allow bettors to wager via kiosk, only two Toledo-area bars were included on the list — and one of them is Downtown Johnny’s.
On Jan. 1, Ohio will go live with retail and online sports betting, according to the commission. Ohio stakeholders will likely receive an update on the state’s licensing process at Wednesday’s OCCC meeting. As of this week, all six major pro sports teams in the state have applied for a sports betting license. The Cincinnati Bengals, the reigning AFC champions, have a digital partnership with Betfred, while the Cleveland Browns have a mobile betting deal with Bally Bet.
Another contingent of sportsbook operators, headlined by WynnBET, applied for mobile management services provider licensure late last month. The list also includes Prophet Exchange, which made history last week when it became the first peer-to-peer sports betting exchange in the U.S. to go live. Prophet made its New Jersey debut on Aug. 29, beating main rival Sporttrade to the punch.
Thursday, Sept. 8
Rams begin Super Bowl title defense in showdown vs. Bills
Last January, the Bills appeared headed to the AFC Championship after Gabriel Davis hauled in a go-ahead touchdown against the Chiefs with 13 seconds left in regulation. But the Bills inexplicably allowed the Chiefs to march down the field for a tying field goal, then suffered an agonizing defeat in overtime.
Seven months later, the Bills have emerged as the odds-on favorite to win Super Bowl LVII. Buffalo will open the NFL season on Thursday against the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams in a glitzy primetime matchup. The Bills have odds of +600 at FanDuel to win it all, while the Rams have been installed as the fourth choice at +1100. In between, the Bucs are the second choice at +750, followed by the Chiefs at +1000.
FanDuel also offers markets on the exact Super Bowl matchup for the upcoming season. Five of the top 15 selections contain the Bills, including an exact Rams-Bills matchup at 25/1. A matchup between the Bills and Bucs is the top choice at 17/1, while a Bills-Packers Super Bowl is the co-third choice at 25/1.
Friday, Sept. 9
Rays continue chase of Yankees in battle for AL East crown
As Major League Baseball enters the final weeks of the regular season, the New York Yankees’ grasp on a first-round playoff bye has become tenuous. After losing a weekend series to Tampa Bay, the Yankees’ lead over the Rays dwindled to four games (it’s back up to five games as of Tuesday morning). The Yankees, who entered the All-Star break 35 games over .500, owned a 15.5-game lead on the Rays at one point in July. Since Aug. 1, the Bronx Bombers are an underwhelming 11-20 overall.
The AL East rivals will meet for three more on the weekend, starting Friday night with Corey Kluber currently scheduled to take the mound for Tampa. The former AL Cy Young winner held the Yankees to two hits over seven scoreless innings on Saturday in a 2-1 win. Kluber is to be opposed by Frankie Montas, who enters with a 4-11 record and an ERA of 3.94. The Yankees plan to start ace Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in the final two games of the series.
Keep fading the Yankees. That is @SmittyBarstool’s plan and it worked for him again last night! Yandy Diaz drove in two with this single and Corey Kluber twirled a game to make it hold up in a 2-1 Tampa Bay win pic.twitter.com/KjTY71jlqm
— Hot Ice (@HotIceBarstool) September 4, 2022
The Yankees still have odds of -1000 at PointsBet to win the AL East, while the Rays are at +1200 to capture the division. The Blue Jays, who open Tuesday morning only 5.5 games out of the lead, also have odds of +1200 to win the East. Now 10 games back of the Yankees after losing Monday’s doubleheader to Toronto, the Orioles are extreme longshots at 175/1.
Saturday, Sept. 10
Saban takes on former OC Sarkisian as ‘Bama faces Texas
In four seasons as offensive coordinator at Alabama, Steve Sarkisian went to the College Football Playoff three times — including two years ago when the Crimson Tide capped an undefeated season with a national title. On Saturday, Sarkisian will face Nick Saban for the first time since he jumped to Texas in January 2021. The top-ranked Crimson Tide opened as heavy 19.5-point favorites at BetMGM.
In Alabama’s season opener, reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young threw for five touchdowns and added another on the ground as the Crimson Tide crushed Utah State 55-0. Young’s top two receivers from last year’s squad, Jameson Williams and John Metchie, moved on to the NFL. In their absence, Traeshon Holden may emerge as Young’s most dependable receiver. Holden, a rangy 6’3″ junior, grabbed two touchdowns in the victory over the Aggies.
Just a casual 5 TDs in the first half for Bryce Young 😂
Alabama (-41.5) is up 41-0 at halftime against Utah Statepic.twitter.com/VssUzEUijb
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) September 4, 2022
Also on Saturday, No. 10 Baylor will travel to Provo to face No. 25 BYU. Baylor, a 69-10 winner over Albany in Week 1, opened as a 2.5-point dog at SI Sportsbook. In other action, USC is a 9-point favorite over Stanford at BetRivers. The Trojans opened the Lincoln Riley era on Labor Day Weekend with a resounding 66-14 win over Rice. Caleb Williams, a leading Heisman candidate, went 19-of-22 for 249 yards in his first game in a USC uniform.
U.S. Open women’s final
Serena Williams thrilled crowds in the opening week of the U.S. Open with an upset win over No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit, before bowing out to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round. Despite saving five match points, Williams’ loss to Tomljanovic likely sent the 23-time Grand Slam winner into retirement. While Williams did not quite close the door on her legendary career, she announced in a tearful ceremony that Friday’s match will probably be her last as a pro.
DraftKings is sitting pretty on the futures market after the public took Williams to win the tournament on a whopping 40% of all tickets. Top seed Iga Swiatek is next representing about 22% of the handle. Swiatek (+200) can advance to Saturday’s final with two more victories this week. There, she may face American Coco Gauff, the third choice at +500. Gauff, 18, could become the first American teenager to win the U.S. Open since Williams in 1999.
Sunday, Sept. 11
Brady opens 23rd NFL season amid rumored marital issues
For the second consecutive season, Tom Brady will open the year against the Cowboys in a highly anticipated primetime matchup. Brady will begin his 23rd NFL season with some distractions, after — at least according to the New York Post — his wife Gisele Bündchen left the family’s compound in Tampa last week following a series of supposedly heated arguments. The off-field issues have had little impact on the game’s line, as the Bucs remain 1.5-point favorites over the Cowboys at Caesars Sportsbook.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 1, 2022
In total, there are 14 games on the slate for the first Sunday of the NFL season. The Steelers, a 6.5-point dog against the Bengals at Fubo Sportsbook, have finally indicated unofficially who will start at QB, listing Mitchell Trubisky as their first-team quarterback on Monday. Elsewhere, revenge will be on the mind of Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield when he faces his former Browns teammates in Charlotte. The Panthers opened as 3.5-point underdogs at DraftKings in May, but have swung to a 1-point favorite after the suspension of Deshaun Watson.
The Ravens, meanwhile, are 7-point favorites over the Jets at Unibet. The Jets opened as 4.5-point dogs, but the spread widened after Zach Wilson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-August. Wilson, who was expected to miss two to four weeks following the surgery, has not been ruled out by the team. Jets coach Robert Saleh announced on Aug. 31 that Wilson could start if he returns to practice this week.
U.S. Open men’s final
Nick Kyrgios dethroned defending U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev in four sets on Sunday with a thrilling display of power. With the victory, Kyrgios (+160) became the new favorite at FanDuel to win the tournament, leapfrogging several other contenders. Kyrgios, a Wimbledon finalist, had odds of +750 before his breakthrough performance Sunday in Flushing Meadows. Seeded No. 23 in the men’s draw, Kyrgios has won the most matches of any player on the ATP Tour since the French Open.
Before he can reach Sunday’s final, Kyrgios will need to defeat Karen Khachanov in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, then Casper Ruud or Matteo Berrettini three nights later. On the other side of the draw, there will be a first-time finalist after American Frances Tiafoe upset No. 2 Rafael Nadal on Monday. Carlos Alcaraz, a five-set winner over Marin Cilic, is the second choice to win the tournament at +220. Only three players, Kyrgios, Alcaraz, and Jannik Sinner (+550), have single-digit odds as of Tuesday morning.
Despite the stunning win, Tiafoe still has odds of +1600 to capture his first Grand Slam title. Tiafoe, 24, is the seventh choice of the remaining eight players in the draw. He is looking to become the first U.S. men’s player to win the tournament since Andy Roddick in 2003.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 5, 2022