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, Oct. 2

Seahawks-Giants on MNF

The New York Giants have had 10 days off since a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers that dropped the G-Men to 1-2 on the season. With road games upcoming against the Dolphins and Bills in successive weeks, the Giants sorely need a victory over the Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

Seattle, meanwhile, traveled cross country after a 37-27 home win over the Panthers. The Seahawks have put up 37 in each of their last two games. Running back Kenneth Walker III rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Carolina and will face a Giants defense that ranks 27th against the run (138 yards per game). The Seahawks are 2-point favorites at Unibet; the total is 47.

Tuesday, Oct. 3

Fanatics on agenda at NY regulatory meeting

Following a comprehensive suitability review over the last several weeks, the New York State Gaming Commission is expected to make a final determination on Fanatics Sportsbook’s entry into the Empire State. The decision at Tuesday’s meeting comes several months after PointsBet shareholders overwhelmingly approved Fanatics’ $225 million acquisition of PointsBet’s U.S. assets. Although a corporate takeover does not require license transferability, heightened scrutiny of a new licensee is required, said NYSGC Chairman Brian O’Dwyer at an August meeting. Fanatics Sportsbook is currently live in four U.S. states.

MLB wild card round begins

The Tampa Bay Rays exploded for seven runs in the second inning on Sunday en route to a 12-8 victory over Toronto, good for their 99th win of the season, second most in the American League. The Rays will face the Texas Rangers in the first of four wild card Game 1s on the slate Tuesday. The Rangers fell out of first place in the AL West on Sunday when the Houston Astros won a tiebreaker between the two.

At FanDuel, the Rays have odds of -164 to oust the Rangers (+134) in the best-of-three series. Tampa also has odds of +500 to win the AL pennant, making the Rays the third choice behind the Astros and the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays went 20-3 to start the season but fell out of first in July with a 10-inning loss to the then-scorching Orioles. Baltimore, which won the AL East by two games, will have homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs.

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In the National League, the Braves and Dodgers have overwhelming odds to meet in the championship series. Both teams received byes into the NLDS, with the Phillies (+600) installed as the third choice to capture the NL pennant.

Other series odds for the Wild Card round (FanDuel):

  • NL No. 3 Brewers (-192)  vs. NL No. 6 Diamondbacks (+154)
  • NL No. 4 Phillies (-200) vs. NL No. 5 Marlins (+160)
  • AL No. 3 Twins (-144) vs. AL No. 6 Blue Jays (+118)

Thursday, Oct. 5

Bears-Commanders on TNF

The Commanders rallied from two fourth-quarter deficits on Sunday to force overtime against the heavily favored Eagles. Despite the overtime defeat, the close loss to the defending NFC champs should be viewed as a positive for Ron Rivera’s squad. The Bears, meanwhile, squandered a 21-point lead in a 31-28 loss to the Broncos.

On Thursday night, Chicago will look for its first win of the season. The Bears have lost 14 straight games dating back to Week 7 of the 2022 season. The Commanders defeated the Bears 12-7 last year, in what was also a Thursday night affair. Washington is a 5-point favorite this time around at bet365; the total is 42.5.

Saturday, Oct. 7

Texas enters Red River Shootout unbeaten

Texas defeated Kansas 40-14 in Week 5 to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2009. If the Longhorns hope to win the Big 12 title in their final season in the conference, Steve Sarkisian’s team may need to defeat bitter rival Oklahoma on Saturday. The No. 3 Horns are 5-point favorites at Circa Sports; the total is 62.5 points.

Texas received 10 first-place votes in Sunday’s AP Top 25 vote after Georgia escaped with a 27-20 win against Auburn. The Bulldogs remained No. 1 with 35 first-place votes, their fewest of the season. Georgia will take on Kentucky in Athens, where the Dawgs are favored by 15.

Also on Saturday, No. 4 Ohio State will face Maryland in a battle of unbeatens. The Terps crushed Indiana 44-17, moving to 5-0 for the first time since 2001, which was more than a decade before the program joined the Big 10. The Buckeyes are 20-point favorites; the total is 52.5.

Sunday, Oct. 8

Dream matchup begins in WNBA Finals

The New York Liberty defeated the Connecticut Sun on Sunday to advance to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2002. The victory set up a dream finals against the Las Vegas Aces, who swept Dallas in the semis.

Both teams recorded 30-plus victories in the regular season while setting franchise records for wins. The Aces, the defending WNBA champions, will test the Liberty’s defense after leading the league in scoring with 92.8 points per game. In Sunday’s Game 1, the Liberty will attempt to contain Aces center A’ja Wilson, who scored at least 30 points in three of her last four games. At bet365, Wilson is the -180 favorite to win finals MVP, just ahead of Liberty forward Breanna Stewart (+300).

The Aces are -210 favorites at bet365 to repeat as champions. The teams split four games in the regular season, but the Liberty notched a dominating 82-63 win in the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup. The Liberty have odds of +175 to dethrone the Aces.

Bills face Jaguars in London

Buffalo humbled Miami on Sunday, handing the Dolphins their first loss of the season, 48-20. The Bills held Tua Tagovailoa in check, one week after the Dolphins lit up the board with 70 points against the Broncos. The Bills’ victory came at a considerable cost, however, as Pro Bowl defensive back Tre’Davious White left with an apparent Achilles injury.

This week, the Bills travel across the Atlantic to face the Jaguars in London. Jacksonville will remain in the city after defeating Atlanta 23-7 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. The Bills are a 5.5-point favorite at BetRivers; the total is 47.5. Buffalo enters Monday with odds of +450 to win the AFC, the second choice behind the Chiefs.

Also on Sunday, the Cowboys will face the 49ers in a potential NFC title preview. San Francisco (+500) enters Sunday’s showdown as the favorite to win the Super Bowl at BetMGM, while Dallas is the fifth choice at +900. The Niners have eliminated the Cowboys from the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. San Francisco is a 3.5-point favorite; the total is 45. The Niners have won 14 straight regular-season games.

Key injuries and absences heading into the NFL’s Week 5:

  • Two AFC starting quarterbacks, Jimmy Garoppolo and Deshaun Watson, sat out on Sunday with injuries. It does not appear that Watson suffered structural damage to his shoulder, Cleveland.com reported. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski expects Watson to return in Week 6 against the Niners, following a bye. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett injured his foot in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, but he is also expected to return in two weeks against San Francisco.
  • Garoppolo remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol following the Raiders’ loss to the Chargers. Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell went 24-of-39 for 238 yards in his absence. The Raiders are 1-point home favorites over the Packers at DraftKings.
  • Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert fractured a finger on his left hand but is not expected to miss any time, according to Pro Football Talk. The Chargers will face the Cowboys in Week 6 after a bye this week.
  • Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett left Sunday’s loss to the Texans with a knee injury. A test on Pickett’s knee determined that the quarterback did not suffer an ACL injury, Pro Football Talk reported. Pittsburgh (2-2) will face Baltimore in an early-season clash between AFC North rivals. The Ravens are 4-point favorites at Caesars Sportsbook; the total is 40.5.

Have a good week, everyone!

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