Odds of NFL Allowing Fans Week 1 of 2020 Season Set at +250

Lucas Oil Stadium
Might the 2020 NFL season get underway with games being played in stadiums bereft of fans? Odds are +250 that this won't happen. Photo by Jacob Hallett (Flickr)
  • Oddsmakers have set a betting line of +250 that the 2020 NFL regular-season will get underway with fans in the seats at games
  • Is it likely that governments will permit public gatherings like sporting events to take place by September 2020?
  • Examination of the odds and picks and predictions on the best bets regarding the outcome are analyzed in the following story

Might NFL come to stand for No Fans League?

At this stage, that’s still a difficult call to make but it certainly seems to be the direction that epidemiologists are leaning toward.

Sportsbooks also seem to be going down this path. The current betting line has no fans in attendance for the opening week of the 2020 NFL regular season as the -400 overwhelming odds-on favorite.

‘Yes’ to allowing fans to attend Week 1 NFL games is set at +250.

Odds NFL Allows Fans Week 1 of 2020 Regular Season

Outcome Odds
No -400
Yes +250

Odds taken May 11th

An earlier betting market put the NFL as the +120 chalk to be the first major North American sport to resume play.

Fauci Urges Caution With Fans

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes for Health since 1984 and the top infectious disease expert in the USA, discussed the NFL’s possible return on the weekend. His words were not encouraging to NFL fans.

If the NFL is to get going as usual in September, Fauci envisioned it being in front of empty stadiums. Players would need to undergo laborious regular testing regimes.

Should any players test positive, that entire squad would be quarantined for 14 days. That means no games for that team for two weeks.

Fauci also noted that the hand-to-hand combat environment of the football gridiron would prove to be the perfect storm for spreading COVID-19 if an infected player were to be on the field during a game.

NFL Can Go to School

Slowly, professional leagues are beginning to return to the playing fields.

In Germany, the Bundesliga is slated to return to the soccer pitch on May 16th. The English Premier League is pointing toward a June restart.

NASCAR is aming for May 17 startup. The PGA Tour is on track for a June 8 return. Of course, all of these leagues are planning to hold events without any fans in attendance.

For certain, none of these sports share the sort of body contact that’s prevalent in the NFL. At the same time, the NFL gets to sit back and utilize these sporting start-ups as a litmus test. They can learn from what these leagues do right, and perhaps more essentially, seek to avoid the pitfalls of the things that go wrong.

Time on NFL’s Side

One benefit that the NFL has going for it is that unlike the NBA, NHL and MLB, they’re not trying to salvage their season by getting back on the playing surface ASAP. Time is on their side.

Think of how much society and medical science have learned about COVID-19 since sports leagues were shut down in mid-March. Now, imagine how much more of a handle the experts figure to have on this virus by mid-August.

Fauci believes that testing will be readily available for everyone by that date. The NFL wants to test players twice a week. Estimates are that would require 200,000 tests to be available to cover the season.

Is it feasible that the NFL could be on the field on schedule this fall? That still remains uncertain.

However, it can be stated with a fair degree of certainty that should the NFL kick off its season in September, it will do so in front of empty seats.

Pick: No Fans (-400)

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