With so many sports starting back in the Fall, the betting menu will be enormous
The Coronavirus certainly has been hard on everyone. Way down on the list of sympathy victims are U.S. sports bettors who have suffered over three months without a normal diet of their favorite sports to wager upon.
Replacing the normal launch of Major League Baseball and the always anticipated start of the NBA playoffs and the NHL Stanley Cup has been a menu of Russian ping pong, darts, and Swedish soccer. And no, topless beer pong does not count as sport.
Well, hope will soon arrive for sports bettors. But as that long time-honored saying goes, be careful about what you wish for. And in fact, you might want to create a business plan before October and November as a serious sports bettor does not want to get swallowed up.
Hoop D Do
The NBA has a definite plan to get things started on July 31st. If all things go right and we are not saddled with any new unforeseen Coronavirus spread, the NBA Finals are currently slated for about October 1st, with an approximate completion around October 12th. The pencil drawing is to start the next 2020-2021 season on Christmas Day, trying to get things back on normal schedule.
The odd thing here is remembering the conflict with the National Football League for viewership and ratings. IF the NFL should kickoff their normal schedule on time in early September, the NBA will be directly competing with the NFL for normal viewer and media attention. Neither side will be happy about this cannibalization situation. And neither will be traditional sports bettors.
As the NBA playoffs usually fall in line with only the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs in major viewer scope, the far greater competition here from Sunday, Monday and now Thursday Night Football further dilutes the audience.
Speaking of the NHL, perhaps they might suffer most from the new restructuring of their schedule. We've yet to hear of definitive dates and locations for their Stanley Cup playoff format. Should they begin play around the same time as the NBA (or worse later), they too will fall victim to competing with the NFL. The growing U.S. sports betting audience would have helped their ratings pre-COVID-19. Now with the long-postponed format taking the 2020 Stanley Cup also into October and possibly early November is a legitimate concern. Only so many eyeballs, channel changes and remote control clicks possible. And oh yeah, more competition for the wagering dollar as well.
Your guess is as good as mine when Major League Baseball will ever settle their selfish labor agreement between the players union and league ownership.
Who knows if it will include a 70, 80 or 90 game COVID-19 shortened season? One thing is for certain, a potential World Series square-off between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals cannot take place in the snow on Thanksgiving. That means the 2020 Fall Classic must be planned to happen in late October, possibly ending the first week of November.
Even that conjecture is a risky proposition. In case you are wondering, according to top sportsbook Bovada, the Yanks are the AL future book Series favorite at +325 while the Nationals, a longer shot at +1800. Many on the list of top sportsbooks have the NL Los Angeles Dodgers the overall WS Champion favorite at +300 to +350. We can be glad it does not get too cold at Chavez Ravine in November.
The overall biggest problem for baseball is running head to head against the NBA Finals. Look for MLB to work that out once they finally settle their labor dispute.
Let Out Your Wagering Belt
Sports fans and bettors may need another set of eyeballs come November. In case you forgot, the PGA rescheduled April’s golf’s premiere event, The Masters, for the weekend of November 12th-15th. Taking advantage of new hole-to-hole wagering technology and interest, the PGA has embraced golf betting and will be welcoming you along.
Thankfully, horse racing has kept traditional bettors going through our pandemic. Although no fans in the clubhouse, most tracks have gotten back on course. Their overall top wagering days on the calendar are reserved for the weekend of November 6th and 7th when the Breeders Cup 2020 takes center stage from Keeneland Race Course. ESPN and NBC Sports will be devoting serious time to the Breeders Cup. Traditional bettors and some casual ones will be devoting serious dollars as well.
Lest we forget, the United States will be holding an election for President on Tuesday, November 3rd. Not only of huge major significance for our nation, but also for our wagering priority. Odds and wagering propositions will be gaining attention as days countdown in October. It will not equal Superbowl interest but look for stalwarts like Bookmaker, WagerWeb and YouWager to have numerous prop opportunities to seize the big evening. As of this weekend, popular book BetOnline has presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden as the favorite at -140 to become our new U.S. President, with current President Donald Trump the underdog at +110.
The best bet is start making your Fall October/November 2020 wagering plan akin to a business plan.
Knowing how crowded the major sports calendar will be comparable to no other prior year will surely test most bettor's attention and wagering budget. We all will have great interest in so many premium championships at one juncture besides traditional NFL action. It will be very tempting to go overboard having a stake everywhere. Kind of like tasting every choice at a cruise buffet . . . you are bound to get ill.
I know it is way early to start thinking about this subject while we are still trying out eSports and the Bundesliga League. But don't say I didn't prepare you. Or let you know besides every live sport imaginable to wager upon, that SIM games will also be available in October and November.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.