- Odds now heavily favor the NBA not resuming game action until after June 1st
- ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the league is preparing to potentially return in mid-to-late June and play through August
- Is there any value in betting on NBA to return before June?
COVID-19 has become a global pandemic, causing sport across North America and Europe to grind to a halt.
The NBA is no exception, with the league suspending operations last week after a positive test for Rudy Gobert. Uncertainty has continued since then.
On Saturday, it was in the balance whether the league would return before June 1st. News over the weekend has seen that alter drastically with three players having tested positive for the virus; Gobert, his teammate Donovan Mitchell and Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood.
Odds NBA Games Played June 1st or Sooner
|Next NBA Game Played June 1st or sooner||Odds at BetOnline|
Odds taken Mar. 16th
More Players Testing Positive
Given how quickly COVID-19 has spread across the world, it is no surprise to see it affecting NBA players. They travel all over the continent and come into contact with a lot of different people from the organization as well as fans and the media.
Fortunately, Mitchell and Gobert’s symptoms have been relatively minor. Mitchell even said he is healthy enough to play a seven game series in an interview on Monday morning.
The data for positive tests is unreliable in the United States, as it has been in other parts of the world. Changes are being made, but only a tiny percentage of the population have been tested thus far. All of the Toronto Raptors players tested negative, and NBA players are self isolating at the moment.
More cases among NBA players are certainly possible, though the decision to suspend the league when they did will hopefully have limited the risk.
Donovan Mitchell speaks on Good Morning America about his experience with the coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/21oAt7dDvw
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) March 16, 2020
Each player that tests positive has a knock-on affect, impacting so many other people associated with the league. It is, perhaps, unrealistic to imagine only three players will contract the virus.
As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended no gatherings of 50 or more for eight weeks. Such advice obviously eliminates any chance of fans going to arenas, but makes it unlikely games can even be played in that period because of the number of people involved beyond the 20 or so players.
The league are considering re-starting without fans in the arenas, and potentially looking to use smaller venues as a result. Such a plan would still take several weeks, and is unlikely to happen before June 1st.
Wojnarowski reported that teams are on the lookout for available arenas as many of their home courts are booked up during the supposed offseason.
Add up players, coaches, training staff, referees, etc., and you get toward 50 people for an NBA game with 0 fans pretty fast. https://t.co/ACyZlN69fW
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) March 15, 2020
The financial implication of the suspension is huge. Playing without fans is not an ideal scenario for accountants or owners, but it seems like the best chance of finishing the 2019-20 campaign. There is, of course, still a risk that this season is cancelled altogether.
Long Wait to Come
The latest reporting makes it seem very unlikely the league returns before June 1st. Even once they have been given the green light, and kept players isolated, teams will need some time to practice together before getting back into NBA action. We could end up with a mini preseason. Players will require the time to prepare after months without game action.
At -600, there’s not exactly great value in backing the league’s return to be after June 1st. Keep an eye on this market, though, as those prices could get interesting as the NBA’s circumstances develop.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.