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NFL Lockout Odds Favor Shutdown

Will the National Football League follow up a highly-rated Super Bowl with a lockout of its players next month? Online sportsbooks are leaning in that direction as the offseason begins.

The oddsmakers at Bovada have “Yes” as the favored side (-300) on the prop wager “Will there be an NFL lockout on March 4th 2011?”. That is when the current collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players is set to expire. “No” is the underdog at +200 on that prop bet at Bovada right now.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants owners and players to move quickly on a new CBA to avoid the lockout scenario, but several contentious issues remain on the bargaining table. Those issues include an expanded regular-season schedule (to 18 games), restraints on rookie salaries, and a reduction in the percentage of league revenues going to the players.

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None of those items are going to be an easy sell to the players union, and that's going to mean sports pages dominated by lockout speculation for the next four weeks.

Along with the owners and players, also concerned about a possible work stoppage in the NFL are sportsbooks and betting fans. OddsShark.com football analyst Mike Pickett has been watching the situation and isn't convinced a resolution will come easily.

“If it's at the point where online sportsbooks are offering props on a lockout, then I think we can actually start to worry a little bit” said Pickett. “And not only are they offering the odds, but they've made the Yes side the betting favorite. Good thing I have college football to fall back on, just in case.”

Bovada also has lines on “How many games will be played in the 2011 NFL Regular Season?”, with 16 at 2/3 odds, 1-15 at 3/2, and 17 or more at 15/2.

However, if you think the unthinkable will happen and the NFL will end up having to cancel its 2011 regular season then you can get the 'zero' on that prop bet at 7/2 odds.