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What’s On Tap: NBA Conference Finals, NHL Playoffs, And French Open


Each Monday, 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, May 23

Sports betting bill down to the wire in Minnesota

Although a Minnesota sports betting bill advanced through the Senate Finance Committee last week, attempts at passage of the proposed legislation appear to be a Hail Mary on the final day of the legislative session. An original version of the bill, HF 778, gave tribal entities exclusivity in the market. But an amendment introduced last week would enable two state racetracks to apply for retail and mobile sports betting licenses. The bill calls for a 10% tax on online sports betting net revenue.

Lightning look to close out Panthers

Leading by a goal in Sunday’s second period, Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos fired a one-timer past Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, giving the Lightning a 3-1 lead en route to a 5-1 win in Game 3 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference semifinals against their in-state rival. The Lightning can advance to the conference finals for a third consecutive year with a victory on Monday night.

Florida, which captured the Presidents’ Trophy by posting the best regular-season record in the NHL, needs a win in Tampa Bay to avoid a sweep. The Lightning have -2500 odds at BetRivers to win the series. While nearly 200 teams in NHL history have trailed 3-0 in a playoff series, only four have come back to win in seven games. The Panthers have +1100 odds at BetRivers to become the fifth.

Heat await word on Butler’s status for Game 4

Despite losing Jimmy Butler at halftime, the Miami Heat withstood a furious rally by the Boston Celtics on Saturday night to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Butler, a six-time NBA All-Star, left Saturday’s game with knee soreness. With Butler questionable for Monday’s Game 4, the Celtics opened as 6.5-point favorites at Caesars Sportsbook. The Heat stand as a slight -115 favorite over the Celtics (-105) to advance to the NBA Finals.

Meanwhile, the Warriors outlasted the Mavericks 109-100 on Sunday night to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are now heavy favorites at most major sportsbooks to win the NBA title and can close out the Mavericks on Tuesday night in Dallas.

NBA Championship futures at FanDuel:

  • Golden State Warriors: -155
  • Miami Heat: +330
  • Boston Celtics: +340
  • Dallas Mavericks: +4400

Wednesday, May 25

Chicago City Council vote on proposed Bally’s casino

Weeks after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot selected Bally’s as the winning bidder for a coveted downtown casino site, the Chicago City Council is expected to vote on Wednesday to submit the bid to the Illinois Gaming Board. Bally’s, which proposed a $1.7 billion casino in the city’s River West neighborhood, beat out Rush Street Interactive and Hard Rock for the bid. The downtown casino is expected to bring approximately $200 million a year in annual tax revenue to the city.

Saturday, May 28

Liverpool favored over Real Madrid in Champions League final

Liverpool’s quest to win an unprecedented four trophies in a single season ended Sunday when Manchester City captured the Premier League title with a stunning 3-2 win over Aston Villa. Manchester City erased a late two-goal deficit with three scores in a span of five minutes to win its fourth title in five years.

Liverpool, which needed a Man City draw or loss for the title, now moves on to Saturday’s UEFA Champions League Final, the most prestigious club championship in professional soccer. The Reds are seeking their third Champions League crown, including their first since 2019. Real Madrid, Liverpool’s opponent on Saturday, eliminated Man City earlier this month with a shocking comeback win in the Champions League semifinals.

Liverpool is a -106 favorite at PointsBet to defeat Real Madrid (+260) in regulation. There are odds of +260 for a regulation draw.

Terps pursue return trip to NCAA lax finals

Maryland avenged a defeat to Virginia in last year’s NCAA lacrosse finals with an 18-9 thrashing of the Cavaliers on Sunday. With 39 goals in two NCAA tournament games, the top-seeded Terps’ offense is cooking heading into Saturday’s semifinal matchup against Princeton.

At DraftKings, Maryland is favored by 6.5 goals to defeat the No. 5 Tigers. The Terps also have moneyline odds of -600 to oust Princeton. Entering the tournament, Maryland had odds of -140 to win the national title. Maryland has posted an astounding 31-1 record over the last two seasons, with the loss to Virginia its lone blemish.

In the other semifinal, No. 6 Rutgers will take on No. 7 Cornell. Bettors in New Jersey are prohibited from placing wagers on Rutgers and Princeton within state lines.

Sunday, May 29

Potential Swiatek-Halep matchup at the French Open

Iga Swiatek has had a season for the ages. The top seed in the French Open women’s draw, Swiatek has won 29 straight matches, a streak that is the fourth best on the WTA Tour since 2000. Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, has overwhelming odds of -120 at DraftKings to win the title in Paris. Simona Halep, the second choice at DraftKings, is next at +1400, followed by Maria Sakkari and Bianca Andreescu, with odds of +1600 and +2200, respectively.

On Sunday, Swiatek could face Halep in the fourth round. The potential early-round matchup has the feel of a Grand Slam final. Halep, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion, won the French in 2018. In March, Swiatek defeated Halep in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open.

On the men’s side, both Rafael Nadal and top seed Novak Djokovic could be in action on Sunday. Nadal is in the same section of the draw as No. 9 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, a talented baseliner who has struggled on clay in recent years. Djokovic, the defending French Open champion, could face No. 15 Diego Schwartzman in Sunday’s fourth round.

From a betting perspective, four players in the men’s draw have separated themselves from the field. Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, is the third choice at FanDuel, behind Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. Over the last several months, Alcaraz has rushed onto the scene with titles in Miami, Barcelona, and Madrid. When the Spanish teen defeated Djokovic in Madrid, he joined an elite list of players to defeat Nadal and Djokovic in the same Masters 1000 tournament. No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas is the fourth choice at FanDuel, with odds of +550.

Have a good week, everyone!

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