Odds Favor NCAA Tournament Being Canceled in Wake of Coronavirus

NCAA men's basketball tournament venue
Bovada is offering -170 odds that the 2020 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament will be canceled. When the line opened, the odds were +200. Photo by: Jeff Turner (flickr).
  • -170 odds in favor of the cancelation of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament due to the coronavirus have been released
  • The line on those odds at that wager’s opening three hours earlier was +200. Is it a foregone conclusion that March Madness will be called off?
  • Analysis of all the latest info on the fast-moving odds and possible outcomes is in the story that follows

Speculation on the future of the 2020 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is spreading almost as quickly as the coronavirus.

It created a massive steam move in the odds on a prop wager on whether March Madness would be canceled.

When the line opened on the wager, the odds were +200 that the tournament would be canceled. Within three hours, the line shifted to make yes the -170 odds-on favorite.

Odds NCAA Tournament Canceled Due to COVID-19

Outcome Odds
Yes -170
No +120

Odds taken Mar. 12. NCAA men’s basketball tournament must be called off in its entirety regardless of its progression for “Yes” to be graded a win. Championship event must take place for “No” to be graded as a win. Re-scheduled event(s) and/or empty arenas alone will not be considered grounds for cancelation. Any wagers placed on the same day news becomes public knowledge will be deemed void.

At this point, NCAA President Mark Emmert has stated that the tournament will go on. However, the only people in attendance will be team personnel, necessary officials and a select number of family members from the participants.

NCAA Tournament Could Be Next to Go

Wednesday, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert ended up testing positive for coronavirus. The resulting fallout was the NBA immediately announcing it was suspending its season. The MLS has followed suit and NHL is expected to make a similar decision on Thursday afternoon.

Since then, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell has also tested positive for the virus.

Currently, no NCAA players have tested postive. But neither have any NHL or MLS players, and those leagues look likely to halt play.

Precautions Ramping Up

Wednesday, the NCAA announced that it would hold all NCAA Tournament games absent of spectators. Several conference tournaments also opted to go ahead with their events following the same plan of prohibiting fans from attending the games.

That plan quickly changed on Thursday. As all conferences except for the MAAC have canceled their conference tournaments as of 1:00pm EST.

At this point, having the NCAA Tournament, even with the proposed restrictions on attendance, seems trivial.

Cancellation Is Coming

You don’t need to be an expert on the laws of probability to decipher where things are heading. The spread of the coronavirus is going to get much worse before it gets better.

The cancelation of all public gatherings, including sporting events, seems inevitable.

Pick: Yes (-170).

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