In this unprecedented time for professional sports, fans, players, officials and owners are eagerly waiting to return things to as normal as possible.
With that in mind, every major sports league is clamoring to get back on the field, ice and hardwood to do what they do best: compete, entertain and unite communities.
Sports betting sites are also keeping a close eye on every breaking development for each professional league. Without diving into the politics of the current global landscape, let’s take an optimistic look at this prop bet and examine which pro league will return to action first.
Which Pro Sports League Will Hold a Regular Season Game First?
The following odds are courtesy of MyBookie:
Major League Baseball (+125)
Unlike the NBA and NHL, MLB was just about to start their season when things came to a screeching halt. These issues forced MLB officials and team owners to not only look at a delayed start to the season, but how they can safely implement games in stadiums around the country.
"a proposal to stage the Major League Baseball season in a functional Biodome-like setting in Arizona, sequestering players and other essential personnel in hotel rooms and holding games at various ballparks in the Phoenix area without spectators" https://t.co/0SKXREE8Bw
Additionally, the union and the league recently met to discuss these issues and potential options for salvaging the season. Commissioner Rob Manfred commented on those meetings and where the league is currently at with figuring out how to hold a full season:
“From our perspective, we don’t have a plan, we have lots of ideas. What ideas come to fruition depends on what the restrictions are, what the public health situation is, but we are intent on the idea of making baseball a part of the economic recovery and sort of a milestone on the return to normalcy.”
One of the “ideas” being floated around at the moment is to isolate all of the league’s teams in Arizona, Texas and Florida and have three hubs where games would take place. The three locations being discussed are:
Because each of these hubs offers ballparks that feature roofs, weather would never be an issue. This also means that multiple games could be played each day, allowing for a full season worth of games to be fit in the desired timeframe.
The other piece of this puzzle is that all games would take place without fans in attendance.
So as April nears the end, it seems like there is more and more pressure on the MLB to come up with some sort of plan and decision sooner rather than later. Rumors are that fans could be seeing the start to the season in as early as late-May if all parties can work out the logistics.
National Basketball Association (+220)
The NBA was nearing the final month of the regular season and teams were in the middle of ramping up for the playoffs when this break occurred. It was originally meant to last only 30 days when it first happened on March 11th, but we have obviously gone way past that with no end in sight.
The most recent rumors seem to point to a mid to late-June return to play. And this is said to be a “best case scenario” for the league.
While there is nothing in terms of details at this time, commissioner Adam Silver did tell reporters just last week that “everything is on the table” in terms of how they could complete the regular season. Silver has also said not to expect any sort of decision before May 1st at the very earliest:
“We are looking at all those things right now. I’d say that in terms of bubble-like concepts, many of them have been proposed to us and we’ve only listened. We are not seriously engaged yet in that type of environment because I can’t answer what precisely would we need to see in order to feel that that environment provided the needed health and safety for our players and everyone involved.“
The NBA appears to be further away from a return to action than MLB. It was just announced on April 25th, that some teams will be able to allow players return to their facilities to do individual training. This is only in states with less restrictions.
I don’t like the odds for this one as it reeks of being overvalued.
National Hockey League (+350)
At this point, many fans have questioned if the season is done for good since hockey isn’t exactly known for being a summer sport. April is typically the starting point of the playoffs with things wrapping up by early June. Fortunately, there is good news in that regard.
The NHL is working hard to resume games as quickly as possible despite not being known as a summer sport. NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman is actively discussing all options right now in order to save the 2019-20 season, have the Playoffs, and also protect the integrity of the 2020-21 season as well.
One idea that’s picking up steam is holding games in four cities that can adequately meet the standards for providing safe environments. Currently, early favorites to hold the hockey action are the arenas for the Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers.
In this scenario, the NHL will play three games per day in each arena. However, fans will not be able to attend these games for the foreseeable future.
Like with other sports, hockey players haven’t had any chance to train or practice. It’s not like they can go out to their driveway and skate. So, Commissioner Bettman is also taking into consideration how much time players will need to prepare before any games can be played.
Rumors have it that some teams are telling their players to prepare for camps by mid-May. If that holds true, then the NHL could offer betting value for this prop bet as they appear to be approaching some sort of return sooner than the NBA and the MLB.
Major League Soccer (+450)
The suspension for the MLS came at the beginning of the season, right as teams were starting to get into their groove and meshing. Just like the other leagues, the original suspension was for 30 days, but we have gone past that at this point.
After plenty of talks and planning, it was initially agreed upon that the season would come back on May 10th, but as we get closer to the date, the chances of it actually happening are slim to none.
In early April, the league pushed back training by three weeks, which would in theory then push back the start date of regular season play. Then there’s the fact that all of the MLS training facilities remain closed to staff and players, so no practice is taking place.
Like with the other sports leagues on this list, the MLS will have to figure out how to play games in select cities since some teams play in areas with extended shutdowns due to increased health risks. Right now, Commissioner Don Garber hasn’t revealed any details as to what the league is currently thinking.
If I were to take a guess, I would say that the MLS wouldn’t start until at least early-July. May is going to be a confusing month for many states, which will require all pro sports leagues to start looking at contingency plans for where to hold games at.
National Football League (+600)
The final option for this prop bet is the NFL, probably the most beloved of all the major sports leagues in the United States. Currently, the league is completing its NFL Draft, which has been a huge hit among sports fans.
What sets the NFLapart from the other sports on this list, is that their upcoming season isn’t expected to begin until September. So, there is still lots of time to figure out how the season can proceed and what it would look like.
Typically, training camps start in late-July and the preseason begins in August. Although teams won’t be able to fully embrace offseason workouts and OTAs like usual, the NFL still has a great chance to run its league on schedule. However, there most likely won’t be any fans at these games.
Football in empty stadiums will be difficult to watch at first, but it’s better than no games at all. At least we would still get to watch our favorite players, bet on NFL, and play fantasy football.
Which League to Bet On?
Unfortunately, MyBookie didn’t offer NASCAR as a betting option as I believe they have a great shot at returning to action before these other leagues. NASCAR doesn’t need fans in attendance to make their events exciting unlike the other leagues.
Furthermore, multiple states like Texas have already gone on record saying that they would welcome a NASCAR race in May.
Since we can’t choose NASCAR, I really like the value of the NHL at +350 odds.
MLB might be the betting favorite for this bet, but they’re still looking at starting a season whereas the NHL and the NBA are looking at finishing their regular seasons and Playoffs.
But, unlike the NBA, the NHL appears to have a plan that’s being hashed out between the league and the player union. Furthermore, I can’t ignore the buzz that some teams are telling their players to prepare for camps by mid-May.
The MLB and the NHL have the right plans to play in select cities, but the MLB has a whole season to complete and some high profile players are against leaving their families for several months.
However, the NHL only has a limited amount of regular season games left and a postseason. So, players are more on board with this idea. The only concern is regarding international players returning to participate in the remainder of the season and the Playoffs.
In reality, this bet is a guessing game. For me, I like the value and the details of the NHL’s possible solution to finishing the season over any other option for this prop bet.
Which League Will Start First? –NHL (+350)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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