It’s been over two months since the majority of American sports leagues have played any games. As the calendar approaches June, there is still plenty of uncertainty around most professional leagues.
West Virginia sportsbooks have obviously suffered during this unprecedented slow period. Sports betting revenue figures are at their lowest points in quite some time.
Although retail books inside the Mountain State’s casinos are closed, the online sports betting apps are open for business. The only issue is there are not many available markets to place bets on.
While there are some European sports still going on, all of the most popular leagues are still suspended. Moscow table tennis along with Korean baseball (KBO) are two of the most common odds found on sportsbooks.
Thankfully, the UFC’s return last weekend marked some optimism for sports in the US. After being forced to cancel the event the first time around, UFC 249 was a success both for fans and sportsbooks.
The fights were held at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, in front of no fans. UFC is holding another fight night there this week, as well.
While having any sport back is nice, the WV sports betting crowd wants the major sports back. The good news is plans to reopen is becoming a topic of conversation.
The NBA and NHL are looking to complete their seasons, whereas Major League Baseball is just trying to get started. Many others like ATP tennis, PGA Tour golf and MLS are also developing plans on how to get games going.
A positive sign is that a lot of states, including WV, are starting to reopen in other areas. Small businesses and wellness centers are two of the businesses recently approved to start back up.
Let’s examine all of the major sports leagues and where they stand in terms of playing again.
Return Of NBA And NHL
Two of the country’s major sports halted with just a few games remaining on their schedules. Both winter sports, the NBA and NHL, are hoping they find the right recipe to get back to playing and crown a champion this year.
Unfortunately, both leagues have no set date for any form of a return.
NHL teams have played around 70 games, while the NBA is about 65 games into its regular season. They each were originally set to play 82 games, however, that’s looking very unlikely now.
Beyond determining a plan to return in general, both leagues have to figure out how many games they will actually play. It’s possible that they reduce the number of regular-season games, as well as skip them altogether.
The NHL plans to initiate phase two where players could start small group activities at team facilities. However, no date has been set yet.
The latest news comes from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. According to The Mercury News, when asked about the season ending without a Stanley Cup champ, he said it’s “not something I’m even contemplating.”
As for the NBA, league executives are hopeful they can return to the court, too.
Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, held a call on Tuesday that left owners confident that they will eventually restart the season.
Even though there is nothing definite in place, the league is floating several options. One includes a “bubble-isolation plan” where games would commence in just one or two locations.
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada are both potential landing spots.
Players have begun working out – to some extent. Ten teams opened up their facilities to voluntary, four-player workouts. The NBA thinks it will have 22 practice arenas opened by the start of next week.
It hopes to make a firm decision on the remainder of the year in two-to-four weeks.
International And American Soccer
Many of the world’s most popular soccer leagues are much closer to returning to action. Although leagues in Belarus, Nicaragua and South Korea are playing, fans and bettors are anticipating the start of more well-known leagues.
The MLS might not be more exciting than Europe’s top divisions, but many Americans follow the league very closely.
Right now, the league stated that June 8 is the earliest date games will begin. Players began training by themselves at team facilities on May 6.
Unlike other leagues, the MLS just started its season. Teams only played two games prior to the COVID-19 stoppage. There is no target date in place to come back at this time.
Bettors must wait for domestic soccer, but several European leagues have restart dates on the books.
Germany’s Bundesliga will be the first to return. Teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are back on the pitch this Saturday, May 16.
Other leagues are prepared to get back to games, as well. Spain’s La Liga is scheduled for June 12, whereas Italy’s Serie A is set for June 13.
These additions will be crucial to sportsbooks and their ability to attract more betting action.
One league missing from these recent announcements is the English Premier League. England’s top-flight just received clearance from the UK government to resume play anytime after June 1.
With nothing in place as of yet, that date looks like it will be too ambitious. The EPL schedule features 92 matches that still need to be played.
NFL And Other Sports
A large number of other leagues are feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The NFL, MLB, ATP, and PGA Tour are also planning ways to get back to playing.
Baseball was supposed to start at the end of March, however, it delayed its year before any games were played. Similar to a lot of sports in the US, its league officials are brainstorming multiple ways to get the season in.
Besides figuring out safety precautions and how divisions will be formed, MLB has other issues. The league’s latest proposal includes a revenue split that would force players into taking a pay cut.
Most players seem unhappy about the idea since they’ve agreed to prorated salaries already. Negotiations appear like they might take some time before the league can even get started on its new spring training.
The proposal is looking at an early July start date for the 2020 season that would consist of 82 games.
The ATP Tour has hopes to start around the same time. It’s suspended until at least mid-July.
Regardless of when tennis does come back, the season won’t be anything like fans are used to. Wimbledon has already been canceled completely and the French Open is on track for a September start.
The US Open is scheduled for late August still, but that seems unlikely. New York City has been impacted greatly by this crisis.
Golf’s PGA Tour is one of the few sports that has a set restart date. The world’s best golfers will take the course at the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11.
The event will be followed by the RBC Heritage, Travelers Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic.
At the moment, the NFL regular season remains unchanged. The league released its schedule last week and starts on Thursday, Sept. 10.
WV Sportsbook Odds
The Mountain State showcases several online apps to place sports bets even if you’re waiting for your favorite sport to return. They include:
With the Bundesliga back Saturday, DraftKings features the following odds to win the league:
- Bayern Munich -455
- Borussia Dortmund +550
- RB Leipzig +800
- Borussia Mönchengladbach +10000
- Bayer Leverkusen +15000