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What’s On Tap: NBA Finals, LIV Golf, And Canadian Gaming Summit


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, June 6

Avalanche aim to sweep Oilers

Knotted at two goals apiece late in Saturday night’s Game 3 of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals, a slapshot from Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard nearly gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead. Instead, the shot caromed off the post, leading to a breakaway from J.T. Compher, who had just left the penalty box. Compher scored and put the Colorado Avalanche ahead en route to a 4-2 victory, which placed the Oilers on the brink of elimination.

Colorado now has four chances to end the Oilers’ season, beginning on Monday night in Edmonton. In the East, the Rangers and Lightning will resume their series on Tuesday, with the Rangers leading two games to one. As of Monday morning, FanDuel listed the Avalanche as heavy -195 favorites to win the Stanley Cup, ahead of the Rangers and Lightning, both at +400. The Oilers are considerable longshots to hoist the Cup, with odds of +5500.

Tuesday, June 7

Opening day of Canadian Gaming Summit

Sports betting is expected to dominate the conversation at the three-day Canadian Gaming Summit, which begins on Tuesday in Toronto. After all, it will be the first time the summit is being held since Ontario launched its private iGaming market in April. Since the launch, a host of top sportsbook operators have gone live in Canada‘s most populous province, including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, BetRivers, bet365, 888sport, theScore Bet, and Unibet, among others.

At some point during the conference, the Ontario AGCO could release opening-month figures for the private sports betting market. Single-event betting has been legal in Canada for about 10 months after the Canadian government decriminalized the activity last summer.

Key panels at the summit:

  • Sports betting integrity
  • The future of sports betting
  • Sportsbook advertising in Ontario
  • Understanding the sportsbook consumer
  • Betting on esports

Wednesday, June 8

NBA Finals move east for Game 3 in Boston

Fueled by a dominant third quarter on Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors evened the NBA Finals with a 107-88 win over the Boston Celtics. The Celtics will host the next two games in Boston, before the series returns to San Francisco for Game 5. The Celtics are 3.5-point favorites to win Game 3 at Caesars Sportsbook; the total is 212.5.

Following Sunday’s decisive win, the series odds moved considerably in the Warriors’ favor. Prior to Game 2, the Celtics had odds of -170 at PointsBet to defeat the Warriors (+140) in the series. By Monday morning, both teams had odds of -110 to prevail in the series.

Keep an eye on movement in the Finals MVP market as the series continues. While the odds on Al Horford varied at top books before Game 1, a rush of money poured in on the Celtics veteran following his impressive fourth-quarter performance last Thursday. Horford scored 22 of his 26 points in the fourth, on a night when he hit six 3-pointers.

Horford opened the finals with odds ranging from 80/1 to as high as 200/1 at various books. After Game 1, the odds plunged to 14/1 on Horford at FanDuel with approximately 25% of the bets placed on him in the span of several hours. Horford also dropped to 16/1 at BetMGM, where he opened at 80/1. Bettors holding Horford MVP tickets can’t be feeling great, however, after the Warriors held him to two points on Sunday night on 1-of-4 shooting from the field.

Thursday, June 9

LIV Golf Series debut at Centurion Club

Dustin Johnson surprised many last week when his name appeared on a list of participating players at Thursday’s LIV Golf Series debut. The controversial Saudi Arabian-backed tour will debut on Thursday with a three-day event at the Centurion Club in London. At least four of the world’s Top 50 players are scheduled to appear at the tournament, including Louis Oosthuizen, Talor Gooch, and Johnson. As of Monday, several top sportsbook operators are still awaiting approval on the state level to accept wagers on the event, Sports Handle has learned.

Saturday, June 11

Derby winner Rich Strike returns in Belmont

After notching an improbable win at last month’s Kentucky Derby, the owners of Rich Strike opted to skip the Preakness to keep the Derby winner fresh for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. Despite the Derby victory, Rich Strike is not expected to enter the third leg of the Triple Crown as the morning-line favorite.

Mo Donegal, the winner of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial, rallied in the Derby with a strong stretch run for fifth. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Mo Donegal has the stamina to handle the 12-furlong test of endurance at Belmont Park. If Mo Donegal is not the morning-line favorite, the designation may go instead to We the People, last month’s winner of the Peter Pan on the same Belmont track. Breaking sharply from the gate, We the People took the lead early in the Peter Pan before pulling away for a 10¼-length victory.

On the undercard, undefeated Flightline is expected to square off with Speaker’s Corner in the Met Mile. Flightline, a 4-year-old son of Tapit, recorded an 11½-length victory in last December’s Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita. Flightline will be making his much-awaited 2022 debut. Speaker’s Corner, meanwhile, notched a 4½-length victory in April’s Grade I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct.

Have a good week, everyone!

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