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Odds on Whether the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL Will Complete or Adjust Their Seasons

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The NBA is set to tip off on Thursday, but will COVID-19 continue to impact major sports in North America? Photo by @tsontv (Twitter)
  • After a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL and NBA return to action this week
  • The NHL recently ran 4,256 tests and there were zero positive tests
  • See the odds for which leagues among the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL have the best and worst chances of finishing their seasons

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a major factor in North America. As major sports get back to business, we’re left wondering which will be able to play out their seasons as planned and which will be greatly impacted. Let’s take a closer look at the four major sports and see whose seasons will be derailed, shortened or altered by the virus.

Will NHL Finish Season With a Declared Winner?

Outcome Odds
Yes -800
No +425

All odds as of July 29

The NHL seems like a safe bet because they’re playing inside of a bubble. Beyond that, they just concluded tests in the final week of Phase 3 camp and while they ran 4,256 tests, none of them came back positive. That puts the league in great shape in terms of getting back in action.

In terms of finishing out the season, I have confidence in the NHL players to stay in place and not break quarantine. Unlike the NBA, we’ve heard no stories of shenanigans to this point, so I think they’ll be able to see this through. It’s a lot of juice on the ‘Yes’ but I expect them to finish out the season as planned.

Will There Be a World Series In 2020?

Outcome Odds
Yes -300
No +200

Major League Baseball opted not to play in a bubble and for the time being, it has been a dicey decision. The Miami Marlins team has caught COVID-19 and have been passing it around. By the latest count, 16 players and staff have contracted the virus, which has forced the league to put their season on pause.

The good news is that baseball has continued as per usual outside of that. There were a couple of other minor game cancellations but the train has continued full steam ahead – for the most part. At this point, it would take a league-wide breakout to completely stop the season and I don’t see that happening.

Nobody really knows but given what we’ve seen in other parts of the country, Arizona, California, Texas and Florida should be through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in about a month’s time. The northern states in the country are mostly fine already.

More importantly, we don’t really have any serious cases of COVID-19 among athletes yet. Although a couple of players have had a rough go, the vast majority recover normally or are asymptomatic. On top of that, sports like soccer (in Europe), NASCAR and the PGA are traveling and doing fine. The MLB will get through this.

I still don’t want to lay -300 with this prop as the juice is too high for my liking but I think they’ll end up finishing the year out one way or another. We’ll have a World Series and a World Series champ in 2020.

Will NBA Finish Season With a Declared Winner?

Outcome Odds
Yes -800
No +425

There have been a few hiccups in the NBA bubble (see: Lou Williams, Bruno Caboclo) but for the most part, everything has gone smoothly as planned. The league has been testing regularly since July 13th and has produced zero positive tests in the bubble. On the eve of the season, that’s a great sign.

That being the case, I wouldn’t expect any issues with the NBA going forward. We’ll have family and friends starting to visit the bubble soon and someone is surely going to bring in a positive case. However, given how careful the league has been so far, I don’t expect anything major to happen to completely derail the season.

Will NFL Shorten Their Season In 2020?

Outcome Odds
Yes -140
No +100

The NFL season is the one of the four that I’m most concerned about. The biggest issue here is that they have a segment of athletes – offensive and defensive linemen – that many would say fall into the obese category. Some recent studies have shown that most have a Body Mass Index of above 30 or even 35, which is considered obese.

The main concern with COVID-19 are comorbidities. People who are healthy and young, for the most part, have very minimal problems with the virus. However, people who are obese, have diabetes or other comorbidities tend to require medical intervention (ventilators, treatment and hospitalizations).

My main concern here is that linemen become effected or that a number pull out before the games even begin. We’ve already seen some of that as New England Patriots tackle Marcus Cannon has pulled out along with Chicago Bears tackle Eddie Goldman. The season will start on time but who knows where things go from there.

If I had to bet on one of the four sports leagues being shortened or altered, it would be the NFL.

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