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, October 25
Amended mobile sports wagering applications due in New York
The New York Gaming Commission will complete a key procedural step Monday in the state’s complicated bidding process for licensing mobile sportsbook operators. Last week, the commission informed applicants that they had five business days to amend their initial “pricing matrices” to conform with the state’s “final tax rate matrix.” Bidders have until 5 p.m. ET to modify their preferred tax rate scenario within the applications. Based on the matrix released by the commission last week, the final tax rate for successful applicants could be as high as 64% on a licensee’s online gross gaming revenue. Sen. Joseph Addabbo, chair of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, is still hopeful that the Empire State will go live with mobile sports betting before the Super Bowl.
— NYS Senate Democrats (@NYSenDems) October 22, 2021
Tuesday, October 26
Astros host opening game of 2021 World Series
Due to an unprecedented sign-stealing scandal, the Houston Astros have become MLB’s Public Enemy No. 1 over the last two seasons. But the Astros earned a trip to the World Series for the third time in five seasons last Friday with a 5-0 win over the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. They will face the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the World Series after Atlanta defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 in Game 6 of the NLCS. The Braves return to the World Series for the first time since 1999.
The Astros are -150 favorites to win the World Series at FanDuel, which pegged the Braves as +125 underdogs. The top four choices for World Series MVP at FanDuel all wear an Astros uniform. It installed second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, and outfielders Yordan Alvarez and Michael Brantley as co-favorites at 10/1. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, the fifth choice, opened with odds of 11/1. Alvarez set an ALCS record with a .522 batting average while recording five extra base hits and knocking in six runs.
World Series futures odds: Exact series result (at FanDuel)
- Astros in 6 — +420
- Astros in 7 — +460
- Astros in 5 — +500
- Braves in 6 — +550
- Braves in 7 — +550
- Astros in 4 — +750
- Braves in 5 — +750
- Braves in 4 — +1500
Wednesday, October 27
Oilers seek 6-0 start to NHL season
On Friday, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers moved to 5-0 on the season with a 5-3 win over the Golden Knights, tying a franchise mark for the second-best start in team history. After a four-day break, the Oilers return to the ice on Wednesday night against the Flyers. The Oilers have started 5-0 three previous times in franchise history, the last in 2019-20. The Oilers now have odds of 8/1 at PointsBet to win the Western Conference, third among 16 teams in the conference.
Oilers forward Connor McDavid leads the NHL in points with 13, two more than teammate Leon Draisaitl, who ranks second. McDavid (+120) is the overwhelming choice at BetMGM to win the Hart Trophy, given annually to the NHL’s most valuable player. McDavid is far ahead of Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, the second choice at +750. Edmonton opened the 1983 season with seven straight victories, which still is the best start in team history.
Breeders’ Cup pre-entry lists revealed
Over the last four years, trainer Brad Cox has been on a tear at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, notching seven victories over the span. Though Cox captured four wins last year, he has yet to capture the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the signature event of the two-day world championships. Cox will pack a formidable one-two punch in this year’s Classic, though, with Whitney Stakes winner Knicks Go and Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality. The trainer is expected to enter both horses when the Breeders’ Cup pre-entry list is unveiled on Wednesday.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is also expected to enter Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit in the Classic. While Medina Spirit tested positive after his Derby win for betamethasone, a banned corticosteroid, Churchill Downs has still not disqualified the horse from the first leg of the Triple Crown. Baffert was suspended by Churchill Downs and the New York Racing Association, however, in light of the positive test. The Breeders’ Cup announced on Oct. 18 that Baffert’s horses could compete at the world championships on Nov. 5-6, but under enhanced testing protocols.
The Breeders' Cup announced that trainer Bob Baffert, who was suspended by Churchill Downs following the 2021 Kentucky Derby, will be allowed to participate next month at Del Mar — but with a few stipulations.
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) October 19, 2021
Thursday, October 28
Unbeaten Cardinals face season’s toughest test
With a win over the Houston Texans in Week 7, the Arizona Cardinals extended their winning streak to seven while remaining the NFL’s lone unbeaten team. The seven-game winning streak is tied for the second-longest in franchise history. The Cardinals also won seven in a row in 1974, second only to the team’s nine-game winning streak six years ago. Now, Arizona welcomes Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (6-1) to Glendale for Thursday Night Football. Since falling to the Saints in Week 1, the Packers have reeled off six straight.
Rodgers returns to State Farm Stadium for the first time since a crushing playoff loss in the divisional round of the 2015 NFC playoffs. Trailing by seven in the waning seconds of regulation, Rodgers connected with Jeff Janis on a Hail Mary to force overtime. Arizona responded with a 75-yard reception by Larry Fitzgerald to the Packers’ 4, followed by a shovel pass from Carson Palmer to Fitzgerald two plays later to eliminate Green Bay. The Cardinals opened as 3.5-point favorites at DraftKings for Thursday’s game, with the total set at 54.
Saturday, October 30
Rare Top 10 showdown between Wolverines-Spartans
In-state rivals Michigan and Michigan State have met 113 times in series history, with the Wolverines prevailing at a 62% clip. While Michigan and archrival Ohio State have met numerous times times over the last two decades with both teams ranked inside the Top 10, the same cannot be said for the Wolverines-Spartans rivalry. On Saturday, though, sixth-ranked Michigan will travel to East Lansing to face eighth-ranked Michigan State with the Paul Bunyan Trophy on the line. It’s the first time that the schools will face off in a Top 10 matchup since 1964. The rivals last met with unblemished records in 2010 when the Spartans defeated the Wolverines 34-17. For Saturday’s game, Michigan opened as a 4-point favorite at Circa Sports.
Elsewhere, top-ranked Georgia will face Florida in Jacksonville in the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party.” Georgia is the first team since Alabama in 1992 to hold each of its first seven opponents under 14 points. The Bulldogs are favored by 13 points, the total is 46.5. In other action, 13th-ranked Wake Forest returns home to take on Duke in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons improved to 7-0 in Week 8 with a 70-56 win over Army. Wake Forest is averaging 43.1 points per game, fifth in the nation. Wake Forest is favored by 15 points, the total is 69.5.
I had a chance to hang out with @MSU_Football Coach Mel Tucker at Joel Ferguson’s celebration! Looking forward to Coach Tucker and the MSU football team beating our archrival Michigan this weekend!! pic.twitter.com/vilQS7VYHK
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) October 24, 2021