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Odds Favor the NBA Season Restarting on Time and Being Able to Finish in Orlando Bubble

Jake Mitchell

by Jake Mitchell in NBA Basketball

Jul 2, 2020 · 11:39 AM PDT

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Closeup of a basketball hoop. (Photo by J.smith, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)
  • Despite some movement, the odds still favor (-300) the NBA season restarting on time in the Orlando bubble
  • Odds are slight lower (-250) that the season will be able to finish with this new format
  • Read on for a deeper look at the concerns surrounding the NBA restart in the Orlando bubble.

There are myriad concerns about the NBA’s restart in the Orlando bubble, ranging from COVID-19 and its recent explosion in Florida, to players and their involvement in the social justice movement currently sweeping the country.

At the time of publication, ten players across the league have elected to sit out of the restart. Despite that number – one that has been trending upward in the last couple of weeks – the odds still favor the NBA starting on time and finishing under this new format.

NBA 2020 Season Restart/Finish Odds

Will NBA Season Restart on Time? Odds
Yes -300
No +200
Will NBA Season Finish with New Format? Odds
Yes -250
No +170

Odds taken Jul. 2

The odds have certainly seen movement in recent weeks, but they are still in favor of the NBA returning to the court on the target date on July 30th. As of June 18th, the odds on a restart on or before that date sat at -400.

More Players Sitting Out

One contributing factor in the odds shift has been the growing number of players electing to sit out of the NBA’s restart. The Nets’ DeAndre Jordan pulled out earlier this week after testing positive for COVID-19, and his teammate Spencer Dinwiddie is considering doing so after a positive test for him as well.

They join a list of players electing to opt out that includes the Lakers’ Avery Bradley, Portland’s Trevor Ariza, and Washington’s Davis Bertans.

While these decisions have raised concern, they haven’t been the kind of earth-shattering moves that would lead the league to cancel the restart. All due respect to each of the players mentioned, they’re each important role players on their respective squads, but the league has yet to see a true superstar pull out.

Should a player at the level of Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, or obviously LeBron James, opt out, that is when the concern over the NBA restart will rise to a significant level.

COVID-19 Cases Rising in Florida

While the issues surrounding the restart are wide-ranging, the initial reason for the Orlando bubble is still of paramount importance. As the return of basketball inches closer, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t slowing down in the state of Florida.

On July 1st alone, 9,558 new cases were reported. Just over a week ago it was extremely concerning to see 3,286 new cases.

On Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that in tests of 344 players over the period of June 24th-29th, nine more players have tested positive for the virus. It’s becoming very evident that COVID-19 will not be gone anytime soon, and it will be interesting to see how the league handles the bubble.

Will the Season Still Be Played?

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has stated that it would take “significant spread” of the virus within the bubble to stop the season from proceeding, and that the league is “left with no choice but to learn to live with this virus”.

Considering how quickly things are changing amid the pandemic, it truly is unknown exactly where the state will be in a month when the league is scheduled to restart. Silver’s recent comments acknowledge that the league is concerned, but it’s still focused on bring basketball back.

While concern is rising over the NBA’s restart, the odds are still in favor of the restart for one key reason: money.

The NBA’s biggest source of income is its television deals. With a resumption of play, especially playoff basketball, the league will be able to honor its agreements with TV partners and cash in on some massive cheques. Even as the odds have lowered to -300, its still likely that we’ll see basketball by August 1st.

Additionally, once the league resumes, suspension of play would be costly. The Orlando bubble will reportedly cost the league over $150 million, and going through such a costly endeavor, only to come away without an NBA champion, is unlikely.

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