Odds Favor Next NHL Game Being Played After April 17, 2020

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman still hopes to hand out the Stanley Cup this year. Photo by @Canes (Twitter).
  • The NHL season has been paused due to the coronavirus
  • You can wager on whether or not the league will resume play before April 17th
  • How long will the NHL be on hiatus?

Odds have been released on when the NHL will resume play following its pause due to the coronavirus.

Could the NHL resume play before April 17th or should you bet now on there being a long hiatus?

When Will the Next NHL Game Be Played?

Outcome Odds
After April 17th -450
On or Before April 17th +275

Odds taken March 14th.

Season Paused Indefinitely 

The NHL season has been put on pause due to the coronavirus. The league has stated that they would like to resume play when it is appropriate, but there has been no timetable given for a possible return. The good news is that no NHL player has tested positive for COVID-19 yet.

While it may not be possible to finish the regular season in its entirety, league commissioner Gary Bettman has said that he would like to find some way to hand out the Stanley Cup in 2020. Whether this means a shortened or improvised playoff format, the NHL seems intent on being able to salvage something out of this season.

Odds Heavily Favor Long Delay

Oddsmakers aren’t liking the chances of the NHL resuming play anytime soon. The NHL appears to be working closely with the NBA throughout this entire process, as they paused their regular season just one day after the NBA announced they were suspending their season. On March 11th, NBA commissioner Adam Silver revealed the NBA’s current suspension would last at least 30 days. The NHL hasn’t announced any similar timetable, but it’s unlikely they  would resume play before then.

One reason the odds are heavily in favor of a long delay is because coronavirus cases in Canada and USA continue to grow. Ontario alone reported 22 new cases of the virus on March 14th, while United States President Donald Trump declared a National Emergency on March 13th as confirmed cases in the USA have now exceeded 2,000.

Value Betting on Empty Arena Games?

The value from betting on an NHL game being played before April 17th comes from the possibility of empty-arena games. Just days before the NHL put a pause on the season, both San Jose and Columbus had declared that they would be playing home games in empty arenas due to the coronavirus. This isn’t an ideal scenario for the players, who thrive on the energy from the crowd.

The other problem with resuming play early in an empty arena is that the NHL shares 11 venues with the NBA. While no NHL player has tested positive for COVID-19 yet, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, and Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons have tested positive for the virus.  The NHL has urged its players to self-quarantine, as there’s still a chance of players and personnel getting infected.


The coronavirus is likely going to get worse before it gets better. Italy has just reported its biggest day-to-day jump in number of infected cases, while Canada and USA are also experiencing new cases daily. A predictive model by the New York Times has the number of infections in the United States peaking in July.

The odds on an NHL game being played after April 17th are just going to get worse from here on out. Sports don’t matter much when it comes to health risks, and I expect the NHL to air on the side of caution. With the priority being player safety, I wouldn’t be surprised if the season is cancelled and the focus eventually shifts to being able to play a full 2020-21 season.

Pick: Next NHL Game Played After April 17th (-450)

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