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.
Tuesday, Sept. 5
Gauff continues U.S. Open run
Coco Gauff went the distance three times in the opening week of the U.S. Open, including a thrilling three-set victory over Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday. Gauff then emerged (temporarily) as the tournament favorite when Jelena Ostapenko upset top seed Iga Swiatek in the fourth round on Sunday night.
Gauff will face Ostapenko on Tuesday with a spot in the semis on the line. At FanDuel, Gauff is the +260 second choice to win the first major of her career. Since her elimination at Wimbledon, Gauff has won 15 of her last 16 singles matches. If Gauff advances to Saturday’s final, the likes of Aryna Sabalenka, Marketa Vondrousova, and Madison Keys loom on the other side of the draw. Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, is the +200 favorite to capture the title.
On Monday night, Sabalenka moved ahead of Gauff as the tournament favorite with a dominating win over Daria Kasatkina.
Thursday, Sept. 7
Chiefs open Super Bowl defense vs. Lions
Patrick Mahomes has made the AFC Championship in each of his five years as a starter. The Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions, are widely expected to make it back to the NFL’s version of the Final Four this season.
Kansas City opens the NFL regular season on Thursday when Mahomes and company host the Detroit Lions. The Chiefs are the +600 favorite at BetMGM to win the Super Bowl, ahead of the Eagles and the Bills, who have odds of +800 and +900, respectively.
On Thursday night, the Chiefs are 6.5-point favorites over the Lions at BetMGM; the total is 54.5 points. The Lions are the favorite at BetMGM to win the NFC North, with odds of +135. The Vikings, the defending NFC North champs, are next at +270, followed by the Packers at +350.
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Retail sports betting goes live in Kentucky
Coinciding with the start of the NFL regular season, Kentucky bettors will be able to place legal sports wagers across the commonwealth for the first time ever. According to state law, all nine of Kentucky’s horse racing tracks will be eligible for a brick-and-mortar sportsbook.
Last month, The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) approved seven locations for retail sports betting, including Churchill Downs. The commission is giving the in-person books a three-week head start before the scheduled launch of mobile sports wagering on Sept. 28.
Retail sportsbook locations approved by the KHRC:
- Churchill Downs Racetrack (FanDuel)
- Cumberland Run Harness Track
- Ellis Park Racing & Gaming
- Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel
- Red Mile Racetrack (Caesars)
- Sandy’s Gaming & Racing (BetMGM)
- Turfway Park Racing & Gaming
Saturday, Sept. 9
Report: XL Center sportsbook slated to open
Retail sports betting in Connecticut continues to expand. Ahead of the first Sunday of the NFL season, a new brick-and-mortar sportsbook at the XL Center in Hartford is scheduled for a soft opening on Saturday, CT Insider reported. The official ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility is planned for Sept. 18, according to the website. Meanwhile, the Connecticut Lottery Corporation appears close to naming a new sports betting partner. Earlier this year, Rush Street Interactive pulled out of a 10-year deal with the CLC that began in 2021.
Crimson Tide host Longhorns in key early season matchup
Jalen Milroe excelled in Alabama’s season opener against Middle Tennessee State, finishing with five total touchdowns in the 56-7 romp over the Blue Raiders. In the process, Milroe became the first player in school history to throw for three touchdowns and run for two more in a single game.
Milroe and the Crimson Tide will face a stiff test on Saturday night against Texas. Last year, the Longhorns led deep into the fourth quarter until Will Reichard hit a 33-yard game-winning field goal with 10 seconds left.
For Saturday’s game, Alabama opened as a 7-point favorite at Circa Sports. Two starting defensive backs, Malachi Moore and Jaylen Key, are day-to-day for Alabama with undisclosed injuries. The game is the only matchup of the weekend pitting a pair of top-15 teams against each other.
What I saw yesterday from #Alabama QB Jalen Milroe was pure magic. Arm talent, athleticism, improvisation: Check, check, check. ✔️✔️✔️
Milroe’s the FIRST player in Tide history to have 3 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs in one game. 🐘🐘🐘 pic.twitter.com/1FWwbJDD7K
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) September 3, 2023
In other action, No. 22 Ole Miss travels to New Orleans to face No. 24 Tulane. The Green Wave are looking to replicate their 2022 breakthrough season, when the program finished 12-2 and capped the year with a win over No. 10 USC in the Cotton Bowl. The Rebels are a 6-point favorite at Caesars Sportsbook; the total is 62.5 points.
Also on Saturday, No. 25 Iowa will face Iowa State in Ames. Both programs have been embroiled in comprehensive gambling investigations since the start of the preseason. Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers may miss the season as he faces criminal charges stemming from allegations of tampering with a sportsbook device.
Sunday, Sept. 10
Alcaraz and Djokovic eye potential showdown
U.S. Open top seed Carlos Alcaraz and No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic may be on a collision course for Sunday’s final. As of Tuesday morning, the two are the only players at DraftKings with odds below +1000 to win the year’s final major. Djokovic, the three-time champion, is the favorite at -105, followed by Alcaraz at +160. Daniil Medvedev is the third choice at +1000.
Alcaraz, the defending champion, will need to beat Alexander Zverev in the quarters, then either Medvedev or Andrey Rublev to reach the finals. Djokovic will need to defeat Taylor Fritz, along with the winner of an all-U.S. quarterfinal between Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton.
Cowboys-Giants highlights NFL Week 1 slate
There has not been a repeat winner in the NFC East in nearly 20 years, a remarkable statistic that dates back all the way to 2004. If form holds this year, the Cowboys, Giants, or the Commanders will win the division. The Giants and Cowboys will meet on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in a matchup featuring two playoff teams from 2022. The Cowboys are 3.5-point road favorites at PointsBet; the total is 46 points.
The Eagles also open the season on road, where they will face the Patriots on Sunday in Foxborough. The defending NFC champions are 3.5-point favorites at Hard Rock Bet, and the total is 44.5 points.
The top two picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, Panthers quarterback Bryce Young and Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud, are expected to start for their respective teams. At Betway, the Panthers are 3.5-point road dogs against the Falcons; the total is 39.5 points. The Texans are 9.5-point dogs against Baltimore at SI Sportsbook; the total is 43.5 points.
Key injuries and absences heading into Week 1:
- As of Tuesday morning, 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa remained away from the team, extending a lengthy holdout. Bosa, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is poised to land the most lucrative contract for a defensive player in league history. The two sides are “less than $4 million a year apart,” according to Sports Illustrated reporter Albert Breer. The 49ers are 2.5-point road favorites over the Steelers at bet365.
- Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp suffered a setback in his return from a hamstring injury, said coach Sean McVay on Aug. 31. Kupp’s status for Sunday’s opener against the Seahawks is uncertain. Kupp, the MVP of Super Bowl LVI, has been out since Aug. 1 with the injury. The Seahawks are 5-point home favorites at BetRivers. Kupp captured the unofficial wide receiver triple crown two seasons ago, leading the league in receiving yards, catches, and receiving touchdowns.
- The Colts placed Pro Bowl running back Jonathan Taylor on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list last week after they were unable to find a trade partner for him in time for a team-imposed deadline. Taylor is now set to miss at least the first four weeks of the regular season. The Colts are 5-point home dogs against the Jaguars at Caesars Sportsbook.
- The Cardinals also placed Kyler Murray on the PUP list as the quarterback recovers from a torn ligament in his knee. Arizona is expected to start the former Titans and Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs, whom the team acquired on Aug. 24, on Sunday against Washington. The Commanders are 7-point home favorites over the Cardinals at Unibet.