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.

Tuesday, March 19

First Four in Dayton

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday with the start of the First Four in Dayton. In Tuesday’s opener, Howard, the MEAC conference champion, will take on NEC conference champ Wagner. The Bison opened as 2.5-point favorites at FanDuel. Colorado State will face Virginia in the nightcap. FanDuel lists the Rams as 1.5-point favorites.

There are two additional First Four games on Wednesday at UD Arena. Grambling State defeated Texas Southern on Saturday to win the SWAC conference for the first time in school history. The Tigers will face Montana State in their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. The Bobcats are 4.5-point favorites at BetRivers.

The First Four concludes with a matchup between Colorado and Boise State. Colorado forward Cody Williams is projected as the top pick by NBADraft.net for this June’s draft lottery. The Buffaloes are 2-point favorites at BetRivers while the total is 141 points.

Avs seek seventh-straight win

While the Bruins and the Panthers have garnered headlines for their second-half play, the Avalanche are quietly putting together a late-season run in the Rockies. The Avalanche, the 2022 Stanley Cup champs, defeated the Oilers on Saturday for their sixth straight win. With the victory, Colorado moved into a tie with Dallas for first place in the Central Division.

In a physical game, the Avalanche stopped Connor McDavid’s remarkable point streak at 26 games. The Avs seek their seventh-straight victory on Tuesday night in St. Louis. The Avalanche (+350) are the co-favorites at BetMGM to win the Western Conference. Colorado is also the second choice to win the Stanley Cup at +700.

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Wednesday, March 20

Dodgers-Padres open MLB season in Seoul

The Dodgers went on a record spending spree during the MLB offseason, adding two-time American League MVP Shohei Ohtani along with pitchers Tyler Glasnow and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

In total, the team spent more than $1 billion on the free agent haul. Ohtani will make his Dodgers regular-season debut in the 2024 MLB Seoul Series. The two-way star will not pitch in 2024 as he recovers from an elbow injury. Ohtani is still among the favorites to win National League MVP.

The Dodgers open the season as a massive +350 favorite to win the World Series at Fanatics Sportsbook. Three others have odds below +1000 with the Braves at +600, followed by the Astros and the Yankees at +850 and +900, respectively.

Beset by losses in the offseason, the Padres open as a longshot at +4000. The Padres have lost All-Star outfielder Juan Soto, as well as pitchers Blake Snell and Josh Hader since the end of last season. They did add starting pitcher Dylan Cease, however, in a spring training trade with the White Sox just last week.

Celtics host Bucks in potential ECF preview

There are other highly anticipated games in basketball this week beyond March Madness. On Wednesday, the Celtics will take on the Bucks in a potential preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Last week, the Celtics (53-14) became the first team this season to clinch a playoff spot.

The Celtics own a remarkable 30-3 record at home. The Bucks, meanwhile, defeated the Suns 140-129 on Sunday without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the lineup. The Celtics are the overwhelming +220 favorites at Caesars Sportsbook to win the NBA Title.

Friday, March 22

UConn begins title defense

A spate of potential No. 1 seeds faltered during Championship Week with Houston, Purdue, Tennessee, and North Carolina all suffering upsets over the weekend. UConn avoided the upset bug with a 73-57 win over Marquette in the Big East Tournament final. As a result, the Huskies earned the No. 1 overall seed when the NCAA unveiled the brackets for March Madness on Sunday night.

UConn will begin its title defense on Friday against Stetson. When the brackets were revealed, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas described the Huskies’ path to the Final Four as the most challenging of the four No. 1 seeds. The NCAA tournament selection committee placed UConn in the same region as Iowa State, Illinois, and Auburn — three other conference tournament champions. UConn had odds of +450 at DraftKings to repeat, odds that remained the same after the brackets came out.

Saturday, March 23

Clark opens final NCAA tourney of career

Earlier this month, Caitlin Clark broke Pete Maravich’s 54-year-old record for the most points in a career by a Division I college basketball player. Clark later declared for the WNBA Draft, where she will likely be the No. 1 overall pick.

Clark will open the NCAA Tournament this weekend against the winner of Holy Cross and UT-Martin. Clark led Iowa to its first No. 1 seed since 1992. If the Hawkeyes advanced to the Elite Eight, they could face LSU in a rematch of last year’s national championship.

Sunday, March 24

Juicy matchups await in the Round of 32

Two No. 1 seeds failed to make the Sweet 16 last year, marking only the fifth time that multiple No. 1 seeds were eliminated before the regional semifinals. With expected wins in Friday’s opening round, three No. 1 seeds — UConn, Houston, and Purdue — will advance to the Round of 32 on Sunday.

Of the three, Purdue will look to exorcise the demons from the recent past. The Boilermakers lost to No. 16 seed Farleigh Dickinson in the 2023 tourney, representing the third-straight year the team had its season ended by a double-digit seed. Purdue is the only team in NCAA history to lose to double-digit seeds in three consecutive years.

Zach Edey, the reigning Wooden Award winner and favorite once again this season, will make his final appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers could face TCU or Utah State in Sunday’s Round of 32.

Other potential second-round matchups on Sunday:

  • East: No. 1 UConn-No. 8 Florida Atlantic
  • South: No. 1 Houston-No. 9 Texas A&M
  • South: No. 2 Marquette-No. 7 Florida
  • South: No. 4 Duke-No. 5 Wisconsin/No. 12 James Madison
  • East: No. 4 Auburn-No. 5 San Diego State

Have a good week, everyone!

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