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Odds on MLB Season Taking Place Fall From -300 to -165; No Season Now Just +125

MLB Commissinoer Rob Manfred
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday that he's not confident that there will be a 2020 baseball season. Photo by Arturo Pardavila (wikimedia commons).
  • Odds of there being a 2020 MLB season went from -300 to -165
  • Commissioner Rob Manfred suggested he was not confident there would be baseball after stating the exact opposite less than a week ago
  • The betting line on no season went from +200 to just +125. Which of these options is the best bet?

The shril call of “play ball” from an MLB umpire may not be heard this season after all.

According to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the switch for the on-again, off-again 2020 MLB season is closer to being permanently turned off. Manfred stated Monday that he was not confident that we would see a baseball season this year.

Immediately, the odds on this outcome were impacted. The betting line on whether there will be a 2020 MLB campaign fell from -300 (as of May 29th) to -165 today.  Meanwhile, the odds of there being no season were set at +125, significantly shorter than where they were last month (+200).

Odds 2020 MLB Season Is Played

Outcome Odds
Yes -165
No +125

Odds taken June 15th.

There’s only been one season in which there hasn’t been a World Series winner. That was in 1994, when a player strike halted the season without a winner being determined.

MLB Talks Fizzle

Manfred’s declaration came after discussions between the owners and players again broke down. Just two days after players union head Tony Clark declared future talks futile, Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem sent a seven-page letter to players’ association chief negotiator Bruce Meyer.

The letter asks the union whether it will waive the threat of legal action and enable MLB to proclaim a spring-training report date and a regular-season schedule.

Clark has accused owners of stalling so that they can delay the launch of the season and therefore save money. He accused them of bad faith negotiating after Monday’s comments from Manfred.

The union leader also feels that Manfred is going back on his word. Originally, Manfred took the stance that there absolutely would be a 2020 season.

Spring training was halted March 12th by the outbreak of the coronavirus. On March 26th, the two sides came to an agreement for pro-rated player salaries in the event of a shortened season.

This deal called for $170 million in salary advances. Also, there was a guarantee of service time credit if no games are played in 2020.

Positive Developments

Later Monday, it was revealed that several MLB players and coaches have tested positive for COVID-19.  This development virtually guarantees that the season couldn’t start earlier than the owners’ target of Aug. 1.

Players are set against any notion of quarantining away from the ballpark, similar to what the NBA and NHL are proposing in their respective return-to-play plans.

The latest offer from the owners would be guaranteeing players 70% of their salaries as part of a 72-game schedule beginning July 14. The salary total would increase to 83% upon completion of postseason play.

Players are refusing implementation of further salary cuts beyond what was agreed to in March. They are seeking full prorated pay over 89 games.

MLB insists that the season will go no later than Sept. 27th to avoid a potential second wave of coronavirus.

Two Sides Are Dug In

Baseball hasn’t seen this level of acrimony during labor negotiations since the ugliness of the 1990s, when both sides preferred to let a season expire rather than find common ground.

As baseball icon Yogi Berra was known to say, this could be deja vu all over again.

Both sides are entrenched in their views. Each is threatening the other with lawsuits.

And if you think this is bad, MLB and its players are to begin negotiating a new CBA in 2021.

Pick: No (+125)

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