- The NHL and NBA (among others) have suspended their regular seasons and the MLB has announced its Opening Day will be pushed back
- There’s no timetable yet for when each season will resume, nor is it certain whether all games will still be played
- See how your win totals and futures bets will be handled by sportsbooks
Is 2020 going to get better anytime soon?
After Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 last night, the NBA canceled the Utah vs OKC game scheduled for last night just before tip-off. Very shortly after, the league announced all future games were being suspended.
Today, the NHL, MLS, ATP, Formula 1, and NCAA (after allowing the Big East tournament to tip-off this afternoon), among others, have followed suit, suspending all upcoming games. In the NCAA’s case, it may be a full cancellation of conference tournaments as well as the March Madness tournament, unfortunately.
— NCAA (@NCAA) March 12, 2020
As much as us sports fans/bettors hate it, we do have to understand that it’s the right move to protect the players and slow down the spread of the virus.
But what does this mean for your NHL and NBA win total and futures bets?
Allow me to answer that for all possible scenarios:
Win Totals & Futures Bets Will Have Action if Leagues Resume and Play Full Schedule
If the NBA and NHL were to take 30 days off and then resume their regular seasons – NBA teams have around 17 games each remaining on their respective schedules, while NHL teams have around 12 each – playing out all remaining regular season games, then all bets will have action.
If all 82 regular season games are played and there is an ultimate winner/champion at the end of the playoffs, your bets are on.
Win Totals & Futures Bets in a Shortened Regular Season
It’s sounding like the most likely scenario, for the NBA at least, is to play some of the remaining regular season games when the COVID-19 virus is under control, serving as a way to get back into rhythm.
Cuban said in this kind of scenario, the league would play “7-8” regular season games to get players back in rhythm, then would go into the playoffs. (As of now, most teams have 18-20 left on their schedules.)
Obviously all speculative; Cuban said the NBA is figuring this all out https://t.co/qcTCb9ObIF
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) March 12, 2020
If this is the case, your win totals bets will be graded “no action”. This means your bet will be canceled and you’ll receive your money back. This should serve as the worst-case scenario in these circumstances.
Most sportsbooks have rules in place that require a minimum of 80 of the 82 regular season games be played (in the NHL and NBA) in order for win totals bets to have action.
However, there are some teams who have already gone over their win total this season – the Knicks were set at 18 and already have 21 wins, and the Raptors were just a game away from hitting their over, as well. In similar controversial situations in the past, some sportsbooks have actually paid out their customers whose bets were winners.
For example, we saw many sportsbooks pay out futures bets on the Orlando Apollos after the AAF folded, while grading all the rest of the wagers as no action. It was a nice PR move that likely didn’t cost them too much money. You should look at this as a best-case scenario.
I know what you’re thinking: “if they’re going to pay out winners, would they take money from customers who had bets that have already been determined as losers?”
For example, anyone who bet the over on the 76ers win total (56) can’t win that bet. They’ve only won 39 right now and have 17 remaining. Don’t stress here. It’s extremely unlikely any sportsbook is going to grade that bet a loser. It would be a terrible PR move for the book; they’d receive far too much negative media and would lose a ton of customers.
ETSU coach Steve Forbes after talking to his team — which had punched its ticket via winning the SoCon tourney: pic.twitter.com/7MPSdkDrQi
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 12, 2020
Futures bets, on the other hand, will all have action. Again, as long as there is an ultimate winner at the end, your bet will have action.
Win Totals and Futures Bets Will Be Graded “No Action” if Seasons Canceled
While this appears to be a rather unlikely scenario for professional sports, it’s becoming a reality for collegiate sports.
Regardless of the league, if the regular seasons do not resume and the championships are canceled, all win totals and futures bets will be graded as “no action”. Again, this just means your money will be returned as if you did not place the bet.
As I explained above, the best-case scenario is the sportsbook paying out any win totals bets that were already winners.
If you have any specific questions, we’re happy to look into them for you. Just comment below with all the information needed.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.