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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 11, 2020
Will the NHL be the first major league in North America pro sports to return to action from all the COVID-19 pandemic postponements?
Will the next NHL game be played June 1 or sooner?
Those are now betting propositions that came to me via Jimmy Shapiro at BetOnLine (www.BetOnLine.ag). And they’re interesting.
• What league will be the first to play?
– National Hockey League ……………….. 9 to 5.
– Major League Baseball …………………. 7 to 4.
– National Basketball Association …….. 5 to 2
– Major League Soccer ……………………… 4 to 1
Will the next NHL game be played June 1st or sooner?
– Yes ……………………………………….…………..3 to 1.
– No ……………………………………………………..1 to 5.
Setting odds is a science not of predicting outcome of sports events but trying to project the percentages of bets that might be made on any given outcome.
But what would make an oddsmaker set those odds other than the need to offer something to bet on?
With virtually the entire world of sports shutting down and Las Vegas casinos with their sports books and some horse racing tracks closing, there’s not much action except trying to figure out when, exactly, gamblers will have games to bet on again.
I was able to interview Adam Burns, book manager for Bet.On.Line.ag on how his team came up with these odds.
I wasn’t wrong, he confessed, of the need to dream up stuff to set a line on.
It was, he admitted, somewhat different than trying to determine the point spread of an NFL game or how many pucks the Boston Bruins might beat the Toronto Maple Leafs by in an NHL game.
“When you’re doing bets on this sort of thing and putting up odds, there are really no stats to go by. So we’re just scouring the media, especially in this Twitter age. We just looked at it logistically of which league would have the best chance to start first. We’re looking at what the leagues are saying and what people involved are saying.
“The NHL and major league baseball have almost the same odds. I think that the NHL sort of reluctantly postponed it is one of the reasons they’re up there.
“The NBA said (Monday) they probably won’t start until June if they start at all. So they’re not one of the favorites.”
The NHL on Monday announced that players, who had been all asked to remain in their NHL cities, could now return to their homes in other locations including outside of North America. It was also noted that after March 27, consideration would be given to opening club facilities for small groups to return to skating and the hope of having a small training camp after 45 days of the 60 of the directive in the USA.
When I asked if the ‘Who Will Play First?’ prop bet odds would be considered less scientific than normal odds Burns would post, he didn’t hesitate to answer.
“Yes. I’d say way less scientific. We’re putting it up but I expect you’ll see the odds move a lot more than lets say an NFL game. Unless the quarterback gets hurt or something, an NFL game that odd might move a half of a point based on the bets coming in. With these two lines we’ll see how the bets come in and base the odds on that.
“We’re just trying to have stuff for people to bet on. We’re getting tons of requests from people saying ‘Hey, can you put up this?’ Or ‘Can you put up that?’ People just want to have something to do.
“Obviously the daily stuff isn’t there anymore. March Madness was one of our biggest things of the year. The Masters has been postponed. The Kentucky Derby, they say, might be postponed. So we’re just going with the flow and seeing how it plays out.
“But you can still bet on the Stanley Cup or the NBA championship or the World Series or the Super Bowl.
“We even put up some odds on pro wrestling,” he said of the, er, scripted “sport”.
“With the UFC the other day, even though it was held without fans, we took in six to seven times more than the normal amount we usually take in on that event just because it was one of the only things going on.
“While some of the horse race tracks are closing, there are several still going and our horse racing numbers are up by quite a bit.
“But we’re spending a lot of our day just trying to figure what to put up. I mean NFL free agency is just starting. So we’re keeping an eye on that. There’s the NFL draft. We’re trying everyday to come up with something new.”
Anyway, if you want my bet, I’d say the only way the NHL would be back before next season now would be if they decided to play the rest of the way without fans in the stands.
If you think that’s the plan, and if you haven’t spent all your money on toilet paper, place your bets.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020