It’s no secret anymore that the coronavirus has greatly affected the lives of people across the globe. A week or so ago, the World Health Organization upgraded the coronavirus, calling it a global pandemic. The virus, which started in China and initially caused outbreaks in Italy, Iran and South Korea, has now spread to just about every country in the world, affecting life for everyone. Major sports leagues throughout the world have cancelled or put on pause their seasons until the “curve flattens” on the number of reported cases, in an effort to hopefully slow the spread of coronavirus. But how has the delay and/or cancellation of sports affected sports betting? Let’s take a closer look at what effect this is having on the sports betting market.
The NBA was the first major professional sports league to suspend its season. It did so once the league found out that one of its players — Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz — tested positive for coronavirus. Once that news broke, the NBA moved quickly to suspend all play until further notice.
Other professional sports franchises in North America followed suit relatively soon after, with the NHL following the NBA’s lead, and then MLB pushing back the opening of its season until mid-April. (It has since pushed it back again until at least mid-May). The NCAA even took the unprecedented action of cancelling the Men’s and Women’s March Madness basketball tournaments, along with all remaining winter and spring championships.
As the spread of the coronavirus reached more European countries, major soccer leagues were forced to make moves to cancel or delay seasons. The English Premier League, Serie A in Italy, La Liga in Spain and the German Bundesliga all suspended their play. Even UEFA pushed back the Euro 2020 tournament to 2021.
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For now, with no games going on, there are no sports bets to make — for the most part. What happens with futures bets that you’ve already made will depend on what happens with each league’s season. Let’s take the NBA’s situation as an example.
If the NBA decides to resume their season at some point and play a full 82-game schedule, then all futures bets placed should still be paid out as if there were never an interruption in play. Most online sportsbooks have a rule that says that a team must play at least 81 or all 82 games of their regular season schedule for full-season futures bets to qualify. This would relate to any over/under win totals bets you placed on a specific team.
If you placed a futures bet on whether a team would win their division or make the playoffs, that bet should qualify no matter how many total games each team ends up playing under a potentially revised schedule. Futures bets such as on the champion of either conference of the champion of the league would still be paid out accordingly, if the season resumes and the playoffs happen.
For any games that are cancelled and not rescheduled, or if a season is not resumed at all, online sportsbooks will most likely refund the original wager to all players. For now, though, it’s unfortunately a wait-and-see situation for all sports. When play does eventually resume, you can see all the great things sports betting has to offer at one of the online sportsbooks below.
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