Yahoo Sports AM: Betting boom

In today's edition: The sports betting boom, a Caribbean Series no-hitter, the world's highest-paid athletes, Swifties math and more.

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🚨 Headlines

🏈 Saban to ESPN: Nick Saban is joining ESPN as a college football analyst, where he'll work primarily on "College GameDay."

🏀 NBA + Emirates: The NBA's in-season tournament will be renamed the NBA Emirates Cup after the league struck a deal with Dubai-based Emirates Airlines. Refs will also wear the Emirates logo starting at next week's All-Star Game.

⚾️ Netflix + Red Sox: Two Red Sox documentaries are coming to Netflix: One looking back at Boston's curse-breaking 2004 season and the other chronicling the upcoming season.

🏀 Delle Donne steps away: Two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne is stepping away to focus on her health and won't sign a one-year deal with the Mystics.

⚽️ AFCON final set: Nigeria beat South Africa in a shootout and host nation Ivory Coast outlasted DR Congo with a 1-0 victory to set up Sunday's grand finale.

🎰 The sports betting boom

(Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)
(Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)

Not that long ago, the NFL refused to air a 30-second ad for Las Vegas during the Super Bowl due to gambling concerns. Now, it's hosting an actual Super Bowl there.

The rise of legal sports betting: The NFL's 180 reflects America's changing attitudes around sports betting, which has spread far beyond Vegas ever since the Supreme Court's landmark PASPA ruling in 2018.

  • Six years ago, Nevada was the only state where you could legally place a bet on the Super Bowl.

  • This year, you can do so in 38 states (plus D.C.), and in most cases, you don't have to leave your couch.

Growth by year: States where you could legally bet on the Super Bowl (2018-24).

  • 2018: 1 (Nevada)

  • 2019: 8

  • 2020: 14

  • 2021: 20 (plus D.C.)

  • 2022: 30 (plus D.C.)

  • 2023: 33 (plus D.C.)

  • 2024: 38 (plus D.C.)

By the numbers: A record 67.8 million U.S. adults are expected to wager over $23 billion on Sunday's game, per the American Gaming Association.

  • Nevada is projected to have the largest percentage of the overall betting handle (12.8%), per Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

  • New York (12.4%), New Jersey (9.6%), Pennsylvania (7.4%), Illinois (7.3%) and Ohio (7%) aren’t far behind.

Worth a read: How a betting line is set

⚾️ No-hitter!

(Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images)
(Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images)

Venezuela's Ángel Padrón closed out the Caribbean Series group stage with a bang on Wednesday, throwing just the second no-hitter in tournament history, and first since 1952, Jeff writes.

  • The 26-year-old lefty — who pitched in the Red Sox farm system from 2015-19 — struck out four batters in Venezuela's 9-0 rout of Nicaragua, and came one walk shy of perfection.

  • Padrón's 88-pitch complete game clinched the No. 1 seed for Venezuela's Tiburones de La Guaira, which has never won the Caribbean Series (these are not national teams, but rather champions of those nation's winter leagues).

Fun fact: Tiburones manager Ozzie Guillen, the former MLB shortstop and manager, managed two no-hitters in the majors, and Tiburones pitching coach Carlos Zambrano threw one himself for the Cubs in 2008.

What's next: The semifinals are today in Miami: Dominican Republic (Tigres del Licey) vs. Panama (Federales de Chiriqui) and Curaçao (Curaçao Suns) vs. Venezuela.

💵 The highest-paid athletes of 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo attends a press conference after signing with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr. (Khalid Alhaj/MB Media/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo attends a press conference after signing with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr. (Khalid Alhaj/MB Media/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo tops Sportico's list of the Top 100 highest-paid athletes of 2023 after earning an estimated $275 million — $215 in salary and $60 million in endorsements.

Top 10:

  1. ⚽️ Cristiano Ronaldo ($275M)

  2. ⛳️ Jon Rahm ($203M)

  3. ⚽️ Lionel Messi ($130M)

  4. 🏀 LeBron James ($126M)

  5. ⚽️ Kylian Mbappé ($125M)

  6. ⚽️ Neymar ($121M)

  7. 🏀 Stephen Curry ($99M)

  8. 🏀 Giannis Antetokounmpo ($88M)

  9. 🏀 Kevin Durant ($87M)

  10. 🏈 Patrick Mahomes ($84M)

Top 100 notes:

  • By sport: The NBA leads the way with 40 players in the top 100, followed by the NFL (16), MLB (13), soccer (11), golf (10), boxing (6), F1 (2) and tennis (2).

  • Money breakdown: The top 100 earned an estimated $5.4 billion, with $4.2 billion coming via salary/prize money and $1.2 coming via endorsements.

  • Youngest/oldest: 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz ranked 56th ($42M), while 48-year-old Tiger Woods ranked 14th ($77M).

  • No women: This is the third time Sportico has made this list, and the first time with no women in the top 100. That's due to Serena Williams retiring and Naomi Osaka stepping away.

See the full list.

🌎 The world in photos

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Mammoth, California — Kaishu Hirano of Japan takes a practice run ahead of the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Final at the U.S. Grand Prix.

(Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images)
(Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images)

Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia — The pack rides in front of the Maraya Concert Hall, the world's largest mirrored building, during the fourth stage of the Al-Ula Tour cycling race.

(Joe Allison/Getty Images)
(Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Queenstown, New Zealand — A preseason rugby match between Highlanders and Moana Pasifika of the Super League Pacific.

(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Doha, Qatar — Team China competes during an Artistic Swimming event at the World Aquatics Championship.

🏈 Feb. 8, 1936: The first NFL draft

Jay Berwanger, the first Heisman winner, was also the first No. 1 NFL draft pick. (Bettmann Archives/Getty Images)
Jay Berwanger, the first Heisman winner, was also the first No. 1 NFL draft pick. (Bettmann Archives/Getty Images)

88 years ago today, the first NFL draft was held in Philadelphia, where the league's nine teams selected 81 players* across nine rounds, Jeff writes.

No. 1 pick never played: The Eagles took University of Chicago RB Jay Berwanger, the winner of the inaugural Heisman Trophy, with the first overall pick.

  • Berwanger's rights were traded to the Bears, as the Eagles were unable to meet his demand of $1,000 per game (most players were making $50).

  • The Bears came close to a deal but couldn't afford him either, so Berwanger took a job at a Chicago rubber company and never played in the NFL.

More on this day:

  • 🏀 1986: Spud Webb beat Dominique Wilkins in the dunk contest. At 5-foot-7, he remains the shortest winner and one of two under six feet (Nate Robinson).

  • 🏒 1997: Red Wings head coach Scotty Bowman won his 1,000th game, becoming the first and still only NHL coach to reach 1,000 victories.

*Fun fact: Drafted with the 31st pick by the Brooklyn Dodgers? Paul "Bear" Bryant.

📺 Watchlist: Golf in the desert

TPC Scottsdale's par-3 16th, the iconic
TPC Scottsdale's par-3 16th, the iconic "party hole." (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf go head-to-head for the second consecutive weekend as both rival tours land in the desert for the rowdiest events on their respective calendars, Jeff writes.

  • WM Phoenix Open (9:15am ET, ESPN+; 4pm, Golf/Peacock): TPC Scottsdale and its iconic "party hole" host a stacked field headlined by No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who is hoping to win this event for the third straight time*.

  • LIV Las Vegas (1pm, CW app): LIV's first event in Vegas was moved up a day to avoid going up against Super Bowl Sunday. Las Vegas Country Club has created its own party hole in an attempt to rival Phoenix's par-three 16th.

More to watch:

  • 🏀 NBA: Mavericks at Knicks (7:30pm, TNT); Nuggets at Lakers (10pm, TNT)

  • 🏀 NCAAW: No. 12 Notre Dame at No. 15 Louisville (6pm, ESPN); Michigan State at No. 14 Indiana (7pm, Peacock); Penn State at No. 2 Iowa (9pm, BTN)

  • 🏀 NCAAM: No. 20 FAU at UAB (9pm, ESPN2)

  • 🏒 NHL: Lightning at Islanders (8pm, ESPN)

  • ⚾️ Caribbean Series: Dominican Republic vs. Panama (3pm, ESPN+); Curaçao vs. Venezuela (8pm, ESPN+) … Semifinals.

*Three straight: The last golfer to win the same event in three consecutive years? Steve Stricker, who won the John Deere Classic from 2009-11.

🏀 Lakers trivia

(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Lakers will unveil a Kobe Bryant statue outside their arena today, making him the sixth Lakers player to receive such an honor.

  • Question: Who are the other five?

  • Hint: Their Lakers careers began in four different decades ('50s, '60s, '70s, '90s).

Answer at the bottom.

🏈 Lucky number 13

(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)
(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

Taylor Swift's lucky number has been 13 ever since she was born on Dec. 13, 1989. And you'll never believe it, but the Swifties have found more than a few 13-centric coincidences regarding her boyfriend's big game this weekend, Jeff writes.

  • It's Super Bowl LVIII, or 58. What's 5+8? 13

  • The game is on Feb. 11, or 2/11. What's 2+11? 13

  • The Chiefs' opponent is the 49ers. What's 4+9? 13

  • The Niners are a 1-seed and the Chiefs are a 3-seed. Again, 13.

The kicker: Swift has attended 12 games during her romantic fling with Travis Kelce, making the Super Bowl lucky No. 13.

Trivia answer: Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of Yahoo Sports AM, our daily newsletter that keeps you up to date on all things sports. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.