What’s On Tap: The Week Ahead In Sports Betting: Super Bowl Early Trends, AGA 2021 Forecast, And BetMGM’s Virginia Launch

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.

Tuesday, January 26

NHL’s Canes may return to game action after one-week pause

With five players on the COVID-19 unavailable list — Teuvo Teräväinen, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Martinook, Warren Foegele, and captain Jordan Staal — the Carolina Hurricanes had three games delayed last week by the NHL. The Canes are scheduled to return on Tuesday night in a home tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL’s defending Stanley Cup Champion. From a macro perspective, keep an eye on the Canes down the road if the team reports a considerable amount of additional COVID cases throughout the season. Heading into the season, Carolina had a projected season-point total of 71.3 points, according to the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN).

Wednesday, January 27

BetMGM set to launch in Virginia

Sportsbook operators in Virginia are chomping at the bit to open shop before the Super Bowl. Days after FanDuel and DraftKings took action in Virginia on Sunday’s NFL Conference Championships, BetMGM is planning a mid-week launch of a Virginia mobile sports betting platform, sources told Sports Handle. Upon the launch, BetMGM will be live in 10 states nationwide. The operator was one of 10 companies that rolled out a mobile sports betting platform last week in Michigan. Virginia still has at least another dozen sports betting licenses to award.

Super Bowl props: Brady-Mahomes a juicy matchup

By midweek, a number of top sportsbooks should have their initial props up for Super Bowl LV. Last year, the Westgate SuperBook posted a mammoth 33-page book of props four days after Conference Championship Sunday. This year’s matchup features two of the most popular quarterbacks in the NFL in Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Green Bay Packers 31-26 in Sunday’s NFC Championship, the Bucs made history. In two weeks, the Bucs will become the first team in NFL history to compete in the Super Bowl at their home stadium — stadium with a limited attendance of about 22,000 will present a difficult conundrum for bookmakers. The NFL has allocated 7,500 tickets to health care workers who have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, with the remaining amount designated to paid ticket holders. As a result, it is fair to question how much of a home-field advantage the Bucs will actually have. On a typical Sunday, a fully packed stadium provides an advantage of about three points, as a general rule of thumb.

Still, the Bucs will face a tall task on Super Bowl Sunday in unseating the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. Although teams typically arrive at the Super Bowl a week before the game, the NFL won’t allow Kansas City to arrive in Tampa until Feb. 5, ESPN reported. At William Hill, the Chiefs re-opened as 3-point favorites over the Bucs (the sportsbook halted wagering during Sunday’s slate). The total is 57. Last week, the sportsbook had advanced wagering on spread, total, and moneyline bets featuring a possible Chiefs-Bucs’ matchup. As of Sunday night, the public overwhelming backed Kansas City, as Chiefs’ wagers comprised 89% of the handle for spread bets.

Thursday, January 28

AGA briefing with CEO Bill Miller

After encountering a slew of unprecedented challenges last year, the gaming industry will look to rebound in 2021. On Thursday morning, American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller will outline the association’s policy objectives for the upcoming year in a media conference call. More than 14 million adults gained access to the legal sports betting market last week when Michigan and Virginia launched mobile sports betting, according to the AGA.

NHL’s Canes may return to game action after one-week pause

With five players on the COVID-19 unavailable list — Teuvo Teräväinen, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Martinook, Warren Foegele, and captain Jordan Staal — the Carolina Hurricanes had three games delayed last week by the NHL. The Canes were scheduled to return on Tuesday night in a home tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL’s defending Stanley Cup Champion. But under an abundance of caution, the NHL postponed Tuesday’s game and moved it back several weeks to Feb. 22. As of Monday afternoon, the Canes first game back will be on Thursday vs. the Lightning. The opening face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Raleigh. From a macro perspective, keep an eye on the Canes down the road if the team reports a considerable amount of additional COVID cases throughout the season. Heading into the season, Carolina had a projected season-point total of 71.3 points, according to the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN).

Saturday, January 30

Red-hot Alabama takes on Oklahoma in SEC-Big 12 Challenge

With an 81-73 win over Mississippi State on Saturday, Alabama remained as the only unbeaten basketball team in the SEC. Four nights earlier, the Crimson Tide hit an SEC record 23 3-pointers in a 105-75 victory. Alabama can stay atop the standings with a win in Norman over Oklahoma. In Saturday’s SEC-Big 12 Challenge there are seven match-ups featuring an AP Top 25 team.

Other top match-ups in the challenge

  • Auburn at No. 2 Baylor
  • No. 12 Texas Tech at LSU
  • Florida at No. 14 West Virginia
  • No. 9 Kansas at No. 6 Tennessee
  • No. 5 Texas at Kentucky

Have a good week, everyone!

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