What’s On Tap: NCAA Selection Sunday, The Players Championship, And Rodgers’ Decision

The post What’s On Tap: NCAA Selection Sunday, The Players Championship, And Rodgers’ Decision appeared first on SportsHandle.

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.

Tuesday, March 8

Rodgers’ decision approaches on NFL franchise tag deadline

Over the weekend, Aaron Rodgers officiated Green Bay Packers lineman David Bakhtiari’s wedding in California, a ceremony attended by Packers coach Matt LaFleur. The timing could be could viewed as awkward at best, considering that Rodgers is reportedly nearing a decision on his destination for next season. Rodgers is expected to inform the Packers of his decision on Tuesday, Backstage Media’s Michael Silver reported.

At the same time, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that four teams are in play for Rodgers, including the Packers. The other three — the Titans, Steelers, and Broncos — have trade compensation packages lined up with Rodgers’ representatives, according to Florio. A conflicting report from the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo suggests that the Packers will not engage in trade talks with another team unless Rodgers decides first that he does not want to return to Green Bay.

Last month, DraftKings posted odds on where Rodgers would play in 2022, odds that the prominent sportsbook operator subsequently pulled off the board. DraftKings has installed the Packers as the -250 favorites with the Broncos (+350), Steelers (+1200), and Titans (+2000) far behind. Still, Rodgers’ decision could impact prices on the futures market to win the next Super Bowl. Of the four teams, the Steelers provide the most value. At PointsBet, Pittsburgh had odds of 50/1 as of Monday — a number that will fall dramatically if the Steelers land the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player.

No. 1 Gonzaga seeks consecutive WCC tournament titles

Last month, top-ranked Gonzaga had its 17-game winning streak snapped in a shocking 67-57 loss to Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs, however, retained the nation’s top ranking after a historic Saturday in which seven of the country’s top 10 teams suffered a defeat. On Tuesday, the teams could meet again in the West Coast Conference tournament finals. Gonzaga plays San Francisco in Monday’s semifinals, while Saint Mary’s takes on Santa Clara. As of Monday, Gonzaga had odds of -470 at FanDuel to win the WCC tournament.

NCAA Tournament spots also will be awarded Tuesday night to the tournament champions in five other conferences: the Horizon, CAA, NEC, Summit, and Atlantic Sun. Heading into Monday’s schedule, top seeds Bryant (NEC), Towson (CAA), Cleveland State (Horizon), and South Dakota State (Summit) still remain in their respective tournament draws.

An odd scenario could transpire in the Atlantic Sun finals, where Bellarmine will face Jacksonville. Since Bellarmine is only in its second season in Division I, the Knights are ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. But Bellarmine can secure an NIT bid with a win over Jacksonville. If Bellarmine defeats the Dolphins, conference regular season champion Jacksonville State will earn the Atlantic Sun’s bid into the tournament. Bellarmine is a 3-point favorite over Jacksonville at Caesars Sportsbook.

Friday, March 11

Genius Sports reports Q4 earnings

In January, Genius Sports provided some encouraging results from the first year of its landmark deal with the NFL. During the 2021-22 regular season, Genius provided NFL official data to about 97% of legal sportsbooks nationwide.

On Friday’s 2021 fourth-quarter earnings call, investors should learn more on the sports betting data provider’s in-game betting projections for Fiscal Year 2022. Genius offered full-year 2022 guidance of $340 million in group revenue and $15 million in group-adjusted EBITDA at January’s Investor Day presentation.  Last week, Genius Sports announced that it will suspend operations in Russia and Belarus amid the Russian invasion into Ukraine.

Saturday, March 12

March Madness bids on the line at bevy of power conferences

Last March, UCLA snuck into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed after losing four straight heading into March Madness. The Bruins edged Michigan State in the First Four, then proceeded to knock off East Region top seeds Michigan and Alabama en route to a trip to the Final Four. UCLA then nearly upset Gonzaga, the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, in the national semifinals.

FanDuel offers a market for bettors to wager on if a team will make the Final Four. On Saturday, a number of bubble teams could secure a spot in the field of 68 with a conference tournament championship. The run by UCLA last year illustrates that a deep run by a double-digit bubble team is not so far-fetched. The ACC, Big East, Big 12, PAC-12, and Mountain West are among the conferences that will hand out NCAA Tournament bids on Saturday.

The following schools are widely considered as bubble teams, according to various bracket projections (accompanied by their FanDuel odds to make the Final Four):

  • North Carolina — +2400
  • Memphis — +3000
  • Iowa State — +3500
  • Oregon — +3500
  • SMU — +6000
  • Virginia — +6000
  • Florida — +6500

Sunday, March 13

Thomas pursues consecutive titles at The Players

Offering a total tournament purse of $20 million, this week’s The Players Championship is often referred to colloquially as golf’s “fifth major.” Consequently, the top names on the PGA Tour will converge upon TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, in pursuit of the $3.6 million winner’s check.

Last March, Justin Thomas went a sizzling -12 on the weekend to tie a tournament record for lowest 36-hole score in The Players Championship history. Thomas defeated Lee Westwood by one shot to win the event for the first time in his career. Thomas enters the 2022 Players as the tournament’s co-favorite with Jon Rahm at 10/1. Five others have odds of 20/1 or shorter at DraftKings to win on Sunday: Collin Morikawa (16/1), Rory McIlroy (16/1), Viktor Hovland (16/1), Scottie Scheffler (16/1), and Patrick Cantlay (20/1).

Scheffler won the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday for his second tour win on the season. As for Thomas, no player has ever won The Players Championship back-to-back.

Parity expected on Selection Sunday

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the NCAA limited travel for last year’s men’s basketball tournament by holding the entire month-long event in the state of Indiana. The traditional format is back this year with regional sites covering the entire footprint of the nation.

As a result, the regional placement of the tournament’s top seeds will have a larger impact on wagering trends throughout the event. More than six teams are candidates for a No. 1 seed, depending on this week’s conference tournament results, when the NCAA reveals the bracket on Sunday evening. While Gonzaga, Baylor, Kansas, and Arizona have emerged as favorites to land a No. 1 seed, several others remain in contention. Upon the completion of the regular season on Sunday, Auburn, Duke, and Kentucky still had compelling cases for the top line.

Odds to win the national championship at BetMGM

Have a good week, everyone!

The post What’s On Tap: NCAA Selection Sunday, The Players Championship, And Rodgers’ Decision appeared first on SportsHandle.

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Author: Micheal May