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What’s On Tap: NBA Playoffs, PGA Championship, And The Preakness


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 16

Seton Hall Law School boot camp

Each year, the Seton Hall Law School boot camp brings together some of the nation’s top legal experts in the sports betting industry. The three-day conference, which begins Monday, is highlighted by a keynote address from New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck.

Panelists at the boot camp will address issues on gaming law and regulations, anti-money laundering compliance, sports integrity, anti-fraud enforcement, and effective risk management strategies. A panel on anti-corruption will feature Phillip Sellinger, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, as well as two members of the FBI’s crime unit. Former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer, a member of the franchise’s Super Bowl XLII championship team, will take part in a panel focused on sports integrity.

Other top panels at the boot camp:

  • Responsible Gambling/Gambling Addiction Monitoring and Oversight
  • The Role of the Compliance Professional/Compliance Officers
  • U.S. & E.U. Gaming Regulatory Structures: What can U.S. and European operators learn from each other?
  • New Forms of Wagering and Other Innovations

Tuesday, May 17

Panthers-Lightning begin much-hyped Sunshine Series

Last spring, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Florida Panthers in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in six hard-fought games. The Lightning then cruised through the remainder of the playoffs, en route to their second consecutive Stanley Cup title.

Now, in a bit of a role reversal, the Panthers are favored to eliminate the Lightning in the Atlantic Division finals. The Panthers captured the Presidents’ Trophy with the NHL’s most regular season points, enabling them to host Game 1 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday night. Florida defeated Washington in six games in the opening round, while the Lightning eliminated Toronto with a 2-1 Game 7 victory on Saturday.

At FanDuel, the Panthers are considerable -146 favorites to defeat the Lightning (+122). The Islanders are the last team to win three consecutive Stanley Cup titles, doing so in the early 1980s as one of just three Stanley Cup three-peats in NHL history. Later Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche will host the St. Louis Blues in Denver in the start of the Western Conference series.

Heat host Celtics in Game 1 of Eastern Conference finals

Grant Williams hit seven 3-pointers in the Celtics’ Game 7 victory on Sunday, emerging as Boston’s unlikely hero in a contentious series win over Milwaukee. By eliminating the defending NBA champion Bucks, the Celtics became the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics have -165 odds at BetMGM to defeat the Heat (+135) in their series, which begins Tuesday in Miami. When the teams met two years ago in the conference finals, the Heat defeated the Celtics in six games for their first trip to the finals since 2014. Since then, the Heat have added Kyle Lowry while the Celtics acquired Derrick White at the trade deadline.

On Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors will host the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Dallas advanced to the conference finals with a stunning 123-90 win Sunday night over the Phoenix Suns.

NBA Championship futures odds at BetMGM

  • Warriors — +120
  • Celtics — +220
  • Heat — +425
  • Mavericks — +650

Wednesday, May 18

North Carolina opens legislative session

Proponents of mobile sports betting in North Carolina are confident that a measure on online sports wagering will pass during the current legislative session, which begins on Wednesday in Raleigh. Since a bill on online sports wagering, SB 688, passed through the Senate last year, it only needs to pass in the House to make it onto Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. While retail sports betting is operational in North Carolina at two sportsbooks on tribal lands, mobile sports betting is currently not available in the Tar Heel State.

Saturday, May 21

Pimlico hosts the Preakness without Derby champ Rich Strike

Early this month, Rich Strike rallied with a thrilling stretch run to win the Kentucky Derby at 80/1 odds. With the improbable win, Rich Strike became the longest shot to win the first leg of the Triple Crown since Donerail (91/1) in 1913. Rich Strike’s chances for a Triple Crown, though, ended last week when his owners decided to skip the Preakness Stakes.

A talented field is still expected for the Preakness, led by Epicenter, the second-place finisher in the Derby. Epicenter, the likely favorite, is expected to be joined by Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath; Simplification, the fourth-place finisher in the Derby; Early Voting, the winner of the G3 Withers Stakes; and Un Ojo, the winner of the G2 Rebel Stakes.

Secret Oath can become the seventh filly to win the Preakness in its illustrious history. Over the last 15 years, two fillies have captured the race, with Swiss Skydiver emerging victorious in 2020. When Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness in 2009, she became the first filly to win the second leg of the Triple Crown since 1924, when Nellie Morse crossed the wire first at Pimlico Race Course.

Sunday, May 22

Scheffler pursues second straight major at PGA Championship

Last month, Scottie Scheffler captured the first major of his young career with a three-shot win over Rory McIlroy at The Masters. Scheffler, the world’s top-ranked golfer, is off to a sizzling start in 2022 with four titles in his last eight tournaments. On Sunday, Scheffler can add to the haul with a victory at the PGA Championship.

Scheffler’s run conjures up memories of Tiger Woods’ winning streak over a decade ago when Woods won seven tournaments in a row between 2006 and 2007. When Woods won The Masters and the U.S. Open in 2002, he became the first golfer in 30 years to win the first two majors of a calendar year. “What he’s doing obviously is borderline Tiger-esque,” fellow U.S. golfer Will Zalatoris said of Scheffler’s run.

Along with McIlroy and Jon Rahm, Scheffler is the co-favorite at DraftKings to win the PGA Championship, all at odds of 12/1. The year’s second major will be held at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a course with rolling hills that requires precise iron play. In 2015, as a freshman at the University of Texas, Scheffler won the Big 12 individual title at Southern Hills.

Have a good week, everyone!

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