What’s On Tap: The Week Ahead In Sports Betting: NFL Divisional Playoffs, Cuomo’s State Of The State, And CFP National Title

Each Monday, our “What’s On Tap,” series will preview 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 and Wide World of Gambling at US Bets for a look back at last week’s relevant news.

Monday, January 11

Cuomo’s State of the State address

Stakeholders may receive more clues on the timing of a potential rollout for mobile sports betting in New York at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s annual State of the State address. Last week, Cuomo dropped a bombshell on Jan. 6 when he unveiled a model for bringing online sports betting to New York through the state lottery. Under the plan, the New York Gaming Commission will issue a request for proposals (RFP) to select and license a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports wagering in New York, Cuomo’s office wrote in a statement. A monopolistic setup, which in effect, grants exclusivity to a single operator to run mobile sports betting in New York, has been met with criticism by the gambling industry. Still, it remains unclear if New York will limit online sports wagering to a single operator or if the policy outline is simply a negotiating tactic. While Cuomo could remain vague on any developments that have arisen since his comments last week, full details of his proposal are expected to appear in the state’s Executive Budget, which will be proposed no later than Jan. 19, and the governor is set to begin delivering his State of the State address Monday, with plans to make speeches all week long.

Bama heavy favorites over OSU in CFP National Championship

Top-ranked Alabama received a boost last week when receiver Jaylen Waddle unexpectedly returned to practice. Waddle, a projected NFL Draft first-round pick, has been out since suffering an ankle injury against Tennessee on Oct. 24. At the time, Waddle averaged 139.3 yards per game over the Crimson Tide’s first four contests. At DraftKings, there are odds of +110 on an anytime Waddle scores a touchdown in Monday night’s title game. In Waddle’s absence, Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith has emerged as a force, with 686 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in his last six games. The total for Smith’s receiving yards at PointsBet has been set at 134.5 yards. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields suffered a gruesome rib injury in a semifinals win over Clemson, but is still expected to start. Alabama is an eight-point favorite on the Vegas consensus line, a one-point move in favor of the Crimson Tide after opening at -7. The total is 75.5. While five of the six CFP National Championships have fallen under 75.5, the total in the Buckeyes’ semifinal win over the Tigers hit 77.

Wednesday, January 13

Lightning to raise Stanley Cup banner on NHL’s Opening Night

The Tampa Bay Lightning open their Stanley Cup defense with a tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks in Tampa. While the Lightning opened the preseason as +500 favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup at William Hill, Tampa is now the third choice behind the Colorado Avalanche and Las Vegas Golden Knights. As of Jan. 5, the Golden Knights received the most tickets at William Hill with 11% of the overall volume, just ahead of the Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Detroit Red Wings. Detroit surprisingly garnered about 6% of the ticket count, mostly due to its Cinderella status, with odds of 250/1. William Hill has taken a $5,000 wager on the Toronto Maple Leafs (17/1) to win the Cup, the largest in its futures’ book. The wager has a potential payout of $90,000.

Saturday, January 16

Rodgers begins Super Bowl quest

Aaron Rodgers, the prohibitive favorite for NFL Most Valuable Player, is in the midst of the best season of his 16-year career. During the regular season, Rodgers threw a career-high 48 touchdowns, while recording only five interceptions. Rodgers opens the playoffs on Saturday when the Green Bay Packers take on the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field. The Packers opened as seven-point favorites on the Vegas consensus line. The Rams are coming off an upset over the Seahawks on Saturday, on an afternoon when Sean McVay’s front four created constant pressure on Russell Wilson up the middle. The total is 46.5 points. In the nightcap, the Buffalo Bills will face the Baltimore Ravens in a matchup featuring two of the best scrambling quarterbacks in the league.

Sunday, January 17

NFC South showdown in New Orleans

For the first time in their illustrious careers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees will meet in the NFL Playoffs when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the New Orleans Saints. After eliminating the Chicago Bears on Sunday, the Saints open as 3.5-point favorites over the Bucs. Brees, the NFL’s career leader in passing yards, has won both of the match-ups between the teams this season. In November, the Saints defeated the Bucs, 38-3, handing Brady the worst loss in his NFL career. Since then, Brady has been one of the NFL’s most efficient quarterbacks, while tossing 22 touchdowns to just four interceptions. In the opener, the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Cleveland Browns in Kansas City. The Browns shocked the league by racing out to a 28-0 first-quarter lead Sunday night over the Steelers, en route to a 48-37 win. It marked the first time an NFL team scored 28 points in the opening quarter of a playoff game since the Raiders in 1969.

Have a good week, everyone!

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