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Odds Say COVID-19 Will Not Delay Start of 2020 NFL Regular Season

John Perrotto

by John Perrotto in NFL Football

Mar 20, 2020 · 12:02 PM PDT

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Odds say the NFL season won't be affected by the coronavirus. Photo by Erin Costa (flickr).
  • Odds have been posted on whether the 2020 NFL season will begin on time
  • The NBA and NHL seasons have been suspended by the coronavirus pandemic
  • Look below to see the odds of whether the pandemic will affect the NFL opener

NFL free agency has been in high gear all week with plenty of big names changing teams, namely Tom Brady jumping form the New England Patriots following 20 seasons to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If nothing else, all the player movement has provided a brief distraction from the coronavirus pandemic. That’s not to say, though, that NFL transactions are nearly as important as a virus claiming more lives by the day around the world.

But will those players be suiting up for their new teams in September when the season is scheduled to start? Or will the pandemic put the brakes on the NFL season just as it has in the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball?

2020 NFL Season Starting Date Odds

Date Odds
On or before Sept. 13 -550
After Sept. 13 +325

Odds taken Mar. 20.

A World Without Sports

COVID-19 and the ensuing shelter-in-place and social-distancing measures have been playing havoc with the sports world.

It goes beyond the other three major North American professional sports leagues, too. Furthermore, the NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Sportsbooks across North America were pretty much empty on Thursday (March 19) and Friday (March 20) when the second and third rounds of the men’s tournament were scheduled. Those are traditionally two of the biggest days in sports betting each year.

The Kentucky Derby won’t be run on May 2 as originally scheduled, being postponed until September 5 – which happens to also be the first full Saturday of the college football season.

The tradition-rich Masters, the first of golf’s grand slam events, will not be held as scheduled April 9-12 at Augusta National. There is no firm plan for a makeup date – October seems most likely — and the possibility exists that the tournament could be canceled.

The PGA Championship is also unlikely to go off as scheduled. It is to be played from May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

NFL Almost Always Plays On

The NFL has had very few interruptions to its schedule in modern times.

The second week of games of the 2001 season were postponed following the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington. An extra week was added to the regular season to make up the games.

Week 3 of the 1987 season was canceled because of a players’ strike. The NFL then used replacement players for the following three weeks until the work stoppage ended.

Some of those replacements helped the Washington Redskins win the Super Bowl that year.

Like the other major sports, the NFL has never put its schedule on hold because of a health crisis.

NFL Impacted, Too

The pandemic has already made an impact on the NFL.

All in-person meetings between teams and both free agents and draft prospects have been banned. The annual league meetings from March 29-April 1 in Palm Beach, Fla., have been called off.

Fans will not be able to attend the draft from April 23-25 in Las Vegas and there seems to be a good chance the NFL will conduct the event by teleconference.

OTAs traditionally begin in early May and those are in jeopardy. The status of June mandatory minicamps also is considered questionable.

The start of the regular season is still almost six months away. Though nobody knows with any certainty, most medical experts believe the coronavirus curve will have flattened by then and the world should be returned to some sense of normalcy.

Thus, it seems likely the NFL season will kick off when scheduled. Though in these times, nothing is truly certain.

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