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, April 3
UConn big favorite in NCAA title game
UConn has breezed through its five first games of the NCAA Tournament, defeating opponents by an average of 20.6 points per game. With a dominant win over San Diego State in Monday’s title game, UConn can post the highest victory margin by a national champion since Villanova in 2018 (18 points per game). The Huskies remained a 7.5-point favorite over the Aztecs at BetRivers and PointsBet on Monday morning.
UConn has outscored its opponents by 103 points in this NCAA Tournament, the 7th team all-time with a points differential of at least 100 entering the national title game.
Of the previous 6, 5 would go on to win it all. The only exception? Duke in 1999, which lost to… UConn. pic.twitter.com/r1FWzbEBEj
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 2, 2023
If the consensus line moves to 8 by the opening tip, UConn will be the largest favorite in a national title game since Duke (-9.5) in 1999. UConn upset Duke that year to win the program’s first national title. The Huskies have since won three more titles, the last in 2014.
UConn forward Adama Sanogo leads the team in points and rebounds during the tournament. When Sanogo scored 21 points Saturday against Miami, it marked the third time that he recorded 20-plus in this year’s tourney. Sanogo has odds of -120 at DraftKings to win Final Four Most Outstanding Player. UConn guard Jordan Hawkins is the second choice at +220, followed by Aztecs guards Matt Bradley and Lamont Butler at +500 and +800, respectively. Butler’s buzzer beater in San Diego State’s 72-71 win over Florida Atlantic sent the Aztecs to their first national title game appearance.
Tuesday, April 4
Ontario celebrates one-year anniversary of iGaming launch
Ahead of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs, the Canadian province of Ontario will celebrate the one-year anniversary of its iGaming launch on Tuesday. The Canadian Gaming Association will toast the occasion with an event in Toronto featuring appearances from a who’s who of regulators, league executives, and other stakeholders. Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey, iGaming Ontario’s Martha Otton, NFL Canada’s David Thompson, and FanDuel Canada’s Dale Hooper are among the invitees scheduled to speak at the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
Over the first nine months of legalized iGaming in Ontario, the province has exceeded wagering expectations with a handle of $21.6 billion (CAD). It’s possible iGaming Ontario will release 2022 fourth-quarter figures as early as this week, a source told Sports Handle. In January, iGaming Ontario reported a handle of $11.5 billion for the the third quarter, a whopping 91% increase from the previous period. iGaming Ontario lumps wagering activity from online sports betting, iCasino, and online poker into one category — there is not a separate breakout for sports betting.
Thursday, April 6
Scheffler seeks repeat at The Masters
In the storied history of The Masters, only three golfers have won the tournament in consecutive years: Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, and Tiger Woods. Scottie Scheffler begins his quest Thursday to become the fourth. Scheffler, the +750 co-favorite at SuperBook Sports, arrives in Augusta with seven top 10s this season. He defeated Rory McIlroy by three shots last April to win his first-ever major.
A Scheffler victory would prevent a LIV golfer from donning the green jacket in the first year golfers from the breakaway league are eligible to participate at the major. Several LIV golfers — Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Charl Schwartzel, and Patrick Reed — have won The Masters in the past. SuperBook has odds of +450 that a LIV golfer will win the first major of 2023. Other major winners Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, and Cameron Smith joined LIV Golf last year.
some early Masters propositions @SuperBookSports
Will a LIV golfer win the 2023 Masters?
Will Tiger Woods Make the Cut?
— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) April 3, 2023
Parity at the Frozen Four as Minnesota, Quinnipiac eye trip to finals
The Frozen Four returns to Florida Thursday with all four teams capable of winning a national title. With a win over No. 3 Michigan, No. 2 Quinnipiac (32-4-3) will return to the national championship game for the first time since 2016. While Quinnipiac has the higher seed, Michigan is a -165 moneyline favorite at BetMGM. Quinnipiac seeks its first national title in men’s ice hockey.
In the opener, No. 1 Minnesota will face Boston University. The Golden Gophers enter the Frozen Four with 13 goals in their first two tournament games. Minnesota is a -185 moneyline favorite over BU, which has odds of +150 to pull off the upset. The winners will meet Saturday in the national championship.
Saturday, April 8
Derby field rounds into form with three key preps
Forte will likely go into the Kentucky Derby as the heavy favorite after a closer-than-expected win in this past Saturday’s Florida Derby. Forte, the overwhelming 1/2 favorite, overcame traffic on the clubhouse turn to edge Mage at the wire. Forte is 6-for-7 in his 3-year-old career, with lifetime earnings of $2.41 million.
The reigning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion has produced a triple-digit Equibase speed figure in each of his last four wins. He is unbeaten in two starts this year, both at Gulfstream Park.
— Kevin Kerstein (@HorseRacingKK) April 2, 2023
While Forte leads the Kentucky Derby points standings with 190, four others have seemingly booked trips to Louisville with at least 100 points. On Saturday, three more contenders can earn a spot in the Derby, with 100 points each awarded to the winners. At Aqueduct Race Track, the Brad Cox-trained Hit Show has emerged as the likely favorite in the Wood Memorial. Hit Show, the winner of the Grade 3 Withers, enters Monday ranked 27th in the Derby standings with 20 points. The top 20 in the standings will qualify for the Derby.
Also on Saturday, Tapit Trice will look to build momentum following a victory in last month’s Tampa Bay Derby. Over the weekend, Tapit Trice breezed four furlongs in 49.57 in his final workout for the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. Tapit Trice overcame a slow break in Tampa in rallying from last for a 2-length victory.
Japanese shipper Mandarin Hero is expected to enter the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in Southern California on Saturday. A Japanese horse has never won the Kentucky Derby.
Sunday, April 9
NBA concludes regular season on Easter Sunday
As the NBA completes its regular season on Easter Sunday, Kyrie Irving and the Mavericks are hanging on to a prayer to make the play-in round. The Mavericks (37-42) trail the Thunder by one game, with three games left for both. Since Oklahoma City owns the tiebreaker for the 10th seed in the West, Dallas needs to make up two games on the Thunder. Otherwise, Luka Doncic will miss the playoffs after reaching the Western Conference finals last year.
The Mavs will host the Spurs on Sunday afternoon, while the Thunder take on the Grizzlies in Oklahoma City. Dallas has odds of +1260 at FanDuel to make the playoffs and odds of -4000 to miss the postseason. Since acquiring Irving in February, the Mavs have gone a woeful 9-16.
Mavs trail the Thunder by a game and OKC owns the tiebreaker. Who would’ve thought that game back in October, when the Mavs blew a 16-point lead against the Thunder with 3:57 left, would loom large now?
— Mark Godich (@MarkGodich) April 3, 2023
Have a good week, everyone!