The online sports betting calendar at BetMGM is beginning to pick up, as the full NFL preseason finally begins. College football Week 0 games are only two weeks away, and baseball is winding its way through the final 45 days of its regular season.
Here are a few exciting sports events to consider this weekend:
Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens
Saturday, Aug. 12 | 7 p.m. | NFL Network
With last week’s Hall of Fame game come and gone, NFL odds for the first full week of preseason action now take center stage. The games began Thursday night with Texans/Patriots and will continue through Sunday afternoon.
While the BetMGM online sportsbook carries football odds for every preseason game, some scrimmages obviously carry a bit more interest than others. Perhaps the top draw is an exciting matchup between reigning NFC champion Philadelphia and annual preseason juggernaut Baltimore.
The Ravens are on a preposterous 23-game preseason winning streak, thanks to the personnel and strategic decisions of head coach John Harbaugh. As the general betting public has become more aware of this streak over the last couple of seasons, the cost to bet the Ravens in the preseason has become unusually high.
Currently, Baltimore is a -6 favorite in the spread market and a -225 favorite in the moneyline market. It’s the biggest spread of Week 1.
Chicago Cubs at Toronto Blue Jays
Friday, Aug. 11 through Sunday, Aug. 13 | Apple TV+ (Friday)
At the start of last month’s All-Star break, the Chicago Cubs were 42-47 and seven games back in the up-and-down NL Central standings. The Reds were hot, and the Brewers were lingering.
Since then, the Cubs are 17-9, and their seasonal plus-66 run differential is the only positive number in the division. The Reds have faded hard. Chicago is 2.5 games back from first-place Milwaukee and just half a game out from the final National League Wild Card berth.
Cubs players are grabbing their passports this weekend for an inter-league tilt in Toronto, where the Blue Jays have something of an inverse divisional challenge to face.
Toronto has a two-game lead on Seattle for the American League’s final Wild Card berth, but life in the AL East can sometimes deal losses by the barrel.
A strong final month could launch Toronto firmly into the Wild Card round for the third time in four years; on the other hand, a bad run in September against AL East opponents could drop the Blue Jays behind the Mariners, Red Sox, or Yankees.
BetMGM’s MLB odds currently price Toronto at +800 to win the American League, behind Houston, Texas, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay.
National Bank Open
Monday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 13 | Tennis Channel
The Rogers Cup, once known as the Canadian Open, is the first significant tournament since last month’s fortnight at Wimbledon. Somewhat unusually, the men play at the ATP Toronto Masters, while the women concurrently play WTA Montreal.
Alongside next week’s stateside tournament in Cincinnati, the Rogers Cup is one of the main hardcourt warm-ups ahead of the U.S. Open, which begins its main draw at the end of August. As a result, many fans are closely watching the evolution of this week’s tennis betting odds.
On the men’s side, hardcourt master Daniil Medvedev is playing well and one of the top players in the field, but it’s Spanish phenom and No. 1 men’s player Carlos Alcaraz who has assumed the position of betting favorite.
Prior to Thursday’s quarterfinals, Alcaraz was a +120 favorite to win the tournament. Medvedev was +300. Top American player Taylor Fritz was +1400.
On the women’s side, Iga Swiatek (+175), Aryna Sabalenka (+350), and Elena Rybakina (+450) continue to separate themselves as the three top players in women’s tennis in 2023. Marketa Vondrousova, last month’s Wimbledon champion, is +1400.