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.
Monday, January 9
Massachusetts licensing hearings continue
Last week, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) began its review of six stand-alone mobile platform applications when it heard a lengthy presentation from Bally Bet.
Over the course of a series of presentations this week, the MGC plans to review the applications of five others: Betr, Betway, DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet. Under Massachusetts law, the MGC can issue licenses to as many as seven stand-alone digital platforms. The MGC will not announce the digital platforms that have received licensure until its entire review is completed.
Bulldogs heavily favored over Horned Frogs for CFP national title
A year after the departure of longtime coach Gary Patterson, Texas Christian University entered the season as a 200/1 longshot to win the College Football Playoff national championship. But after a thrilling 51-45 upset over No. 2 Michigan, TCU is one win away from completing the improbable feat.
On Monday, TCU plays the national championship game against top-ranked Georgia as a heavy underdog. With a victory against the Horned Frogs, Georgia would win consecutive national titles for the first time in school history.
While the Bulldogs opened as 14.5-point favorites at several top sportsbooks, the line has come down over the last week. At PointsBet, TCU (+12.5) received backing on 76% of tickets and 71% of the handle. The public largely expects a high-scoring game, with bettors taking the over of 63 (-110) on 83% of tickets.
TCU is one win away from a storybook ending unlike anything produced in the modern era. https://t.co/HnZVYXwLEY
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) January 5, 2023
TCU quarterback Max Duggan enters the game as one of the nation’s top dual threats, with eight rushing touchdowns on the season and two scores on the ground in the win over Michigan. There are odds of +105 on an anytime Duggan rushing touchdown at bet365, while Horned Frogs running back Kendre Miller is questionable with a knee injury.
Thursday, January 12
Matsuyama defends title at Sony Open
While the PGA Tour held its first event on the 2023 calendar last week, the Sentry Tournament of Champions featured a condensed field that was limited to the tour’s top 30 players from last season, along with tournament champions from 2022. When the Sony Open begins on Thursday, the Hawaiian tournament will be the tour’s first full event of the season. Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama is the fourth choice at BetRivers with odds of +1800.
Jon Rahm shot a scintillating 10-under 63 to defeat Collin Morikawa by two shots on Sunday in the Sentry. Morikawa entered the final round of the tournament with a seven-shot lead over Rahm. Neither Rahm nor Morikawa will take part in the Sony Open, and Tom Kim and Sungjae Im are the co-favorites at +1200, with Jordan Spieth the third choice at +1600.
Saturday, January 14
Niners hosts NFC West rival Seahawks on Wild Card Saturday
Trailing for most of the second half on Sunday, the Seahawks rallied to force overtime against the Rams before prevailing on a 32-yard field goal by Jason Myers. Hours later, Seattle received a gift from the Lions, who edged the Packers on Sunday Night Football to give the Seahawks the NFC’s No. 7 playoff seed. The Packers would have earned the NFC’s final wild card spot with a win over Detroit.
As a result, the Seahawks and 49ers will open the NFL playoffs on Saturday afternoon in San Francisco, facing off in the postseason for the first time since Seattle’s epic win in the 2013 NFC Championship Game. The Niners are 10-point favorites at WynnBET; the total is 43.5.
"When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the results you're gonna get!"
It's been eight years since Richard Sherman gave this epic interview after sealing a trip to the Super Bowl 😤
(via @nflthrowback) pic.twitter.com/GHy2zfZhEl
— ESPN (@espn) January 19, 2022
In the nightcap, the Jaguars will face the Chargers in Jacksonville. The matchup features two of the NFL’s top young quarterbacks in Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence. Herbert finished the season second in the NFL in passing yards with 4,739, completing 68.2% of his passes. Lawrence, meanwhile, led the Jags to six wins in their final seven games to capture the AFC South. The Chargers are 1-point favorites at Caesars Sportsbook; the total is 47.
Sunday, January 15
Djokovic returns to Melbourne as Aussie Opens begins
Novak Djokovic returns to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open after a one-year absence. Djokovic, who owns a record nine Aussie Open singles titles, missed last year’s tournament due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.
Djokovic traveled to Australia last January for the tournament, but was detained by border officials after the Australian government ruled that he did not meet the entry requirements for an unvaccinated traveler. The year’s first Grand Slam begins on Sunday night.
Djokovic enters the tourney with 21 Grand Slam singles titles, one behind Rafael Nadal for the all-time record. Djokovic has odds of -105 to win the Aussie Open at FanDuel, far ahead of second-choice Daniil Medvedev and Nadal, who have odds of +600 and +1500, respectively. Reigning U.S. Open champion Carlos Alcaraz will miss the tournament with a leg injury.
Bills-Dolphins highlights Sunday wild card slate
Rallying around hospitalized teammate Damar Hamlin, the Bills secured the AFC’s No. 2 seed in Week 18 with a win over the Patriots. The Bills open the playoffs in the AFC wild card round by hosting the Dolphins. The teams split their two regular-season games.
Hamlin, who went into cardiac arrest last Monday against the Bengals, watched the Bills-Patriots game from his bed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Following a “remarkable recovery,” according to attending doctors at the hospital, Hamlin motivated his teammates during a surprise Zoom chat before the game.
The Bills opened as 10-point favorites over the Dolphins at FanDuel. Favored to win the Super Bowl for most of the season, the Bills (+400) are now the second choice behind the Chiefs (+350) at DraftKings, with the Eagles and 49ers as the co-third choice at +550.
Today’s win as narrated by our guy, @HamlinIsland.#LoveForDamar | #BillsMafia
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 9, 2023
In other action, the Vikings will host the Giants in Minneapolis. Minnesota edged the Giants 27-24 on Christmas Eve on a 61-yard field goal by Greg Joseph with no time remaining. Neither team made the playoffs last season. The Vikings are 3-point favorites at Circa Sports; the total is 47.5.
In the nightcap, two AFC North rivals will meet when the Bengals take on the Ravens in Cincinnati. The game is a rematch of a Week 18 tilt won by Cincinnati 27-16. The victory spared the NFL from potentially holding a coin toss to determine the host of Sunday night’s game. The Bengals are a 6.5-point favorite at SuperBook Sports; the total is 43.5.
Key injuries and lineup uncertainties heading into Wild Card Weekend:
- Following the loss, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he is hopeful that Lamar Jackson will play Sunday against the Bengals. Jackson has missed the Ravens’ last give games (and most of a sixth) with a knee sprain.
- Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa missed Sunday’s win over the Jets with concussion-like symptoms. After the win, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel indicated that Tagovailoa will not return until there are definitive signs that he is fully healed. The Dolphins started third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson against the Jets after backup Teddy Bridgewater suffered a finger injury.
- Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams left Sunday’s loss to the Broncos in the second quarter with a back injury. When Williams underwent tests on Sunday, X-rays on his lower back were negative, the NFL Network reported. Williams led the Chargers in receiving yards during the regular season.