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How COVID-19 is Impacting Sports Betting

The COVID-19 pandemic’s radical impact on the world is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory. Countries are in quarantine, there are flight restrictions everywhere, and toilet paper has been flying off the shelves. Schools are closed. Businesses are shut down, and people are being urged to stay at home to prevent spreading the disease.

We are living in unprecedented times. With the majority of major sports leagues across the globe postponed, many bettors are wondering, what’s left to bet on during the COVID-19 pandemic?

What’s Left To Bet On?

Some of the North American teams have decided to move their seasons to the gaming world with simulated esports, while sportsbooks themselves have their own virtual sports that you can place a bet on.

Lockdowns have also led to an online poker boom. While the live poker market grinded to a halt, the online poker sphere is thriving. Online cardrooms are registering large increases in player traffic and several sites have announced large tournament series. As everyone remains home and starts turning to online poker for some sort of outlet, we’re bound to see more series popping up.

With the sporting world on hold amid the COVID-19 pandemic, sportsbooks are getting creative to provide markets to wager on. Some sportsbooks have started to release daily odds on the weather forecasts in various places in the world. They’re setting an OVER/UNDER based on the expected daily maximum and minimum temperatures. It’s as simple as wagering on whether the actual daily temperature will be higher or lower than the prediction.

Did you know you could bet on the presidential election? Odds Shark began tracking 2020 presidential betting odds when they first opened last summer and explained how to bet on politics during this election cycle and several before it.

When Will Pro Sports Return?

Since mid-March, the sports world has been on hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak. In the midst of a global pandemic and with a vaccine not yet available, can sports really resume sooner rather than later?

A couple of leagues have already scheduled tentative dates to return to action. Both the UFC and the German Bundesliga targeted May 9 to resume without fans in attendance.

Will No Crowds Affect Sports Betting?

Some bettors will take a wait and see approach. They may be logical and not put their money on a game until they have at least a few weeks of data to analyze how no crowds affect the dynamics.

For some, their bankroll could be lowered in comparison to previous years because in a worst case scenario, the resumed seasons could come to a screeching halt like it did with the NBA, because COVID-19 makes a follow-up appearance.

From a sportsbook’s perspective, they might not be overly fond of having empty stadiums. This could be a season where the sports bettor can actually beat the book. The added pressure of a live audience is no longer there. Teams can cover and games may play out just as the stats predict.

How To Bet On Games With No Fans

How will oddsmakers adjust lines in games with no fans? If we’re talking neutral site games, maybe 0.5 point here and there. But that might be a stretch. While it varies between teams, typically playing in front of an empty arena will basically drop the line in half. So if Detroit (at home) were -6, it would drop to -3. Hockey is quite similar, but it would only be reduced by about 35 percent.

Having a betting strategy and altering it throughout the season is a common practice. But a knee-jerk reaction with no data to support the change is not something many are comfortable with. If games are to be played without fans, try sticking to your current strategies. But be ready to pivot quickly after data rolls in.

Should You Alter Your Betting Strategy?

We might see some more UNDERs in this new sports betting world. Athletes often feed off the energy of the crowd, whether they’re being booed as a visiting villain or cheered on at home.

Teams might be able to communicate better, picking up open players or getting quick help when calling for it. This might also benefit road teams and blunt the home team’s advantage.

How Will Coronavirus Impact Your Futures Tickets?

What exactly happens for bets placed not on individual games specifically but on futures like league champions, win totals, and MVPs? If the season isn’t going to continue, the ticket will likely be voided. All sporting events must take place on the date and at the site scheduled, unless otherwise specified. Time changes within a day do not affect wagers. If an event is postponed, rescheduled and/or relocated before it begins, that event will automatically be graded ‘No Action’ and your money will be refunded to your account.

Hold on to those tickets if you still have them. If it appears like it’ll be a winner, pray to the sports Gods that leagues return to play soon. If it looks like a loser, you might want to hope for the opposite and have a void ticket.

Sports betting has and will have a new feel to it for the foreseeable future, but there is still plenty you can wager on!