It’s a tough time for sports fans, and of course, the country as a whole.
A few NBA players tested positive for the coronavirus, and the basketball season disappeared almost immediately. Shortly thereafter, the rest of the sports world seemed to vanish, too.
Sports betting was vaporized: March Madness, the Masters, MLB’s Opening Day. All of it. Gone.
So, what’s left now? A sliver of hope.
NBA’s regular season in serious jeopardy
A recent The Washington Post article cited two unnamed NBA executives who predicted that the rest of the regular season would be canceled. If they’re right, the league’s only chance to save the season is to salvage the playoffs somehow. According to SI.com, that seems a difficult prospect.
But with Adam Silver, the league’s forward-thinking commissioner in charge, and the backing of television partners thirsty for more broadcasts, anything is possible.
Would the NBA consider a new playoff format?
Perhaps the best idea floating around the internet was suggested by Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie believes that the NBA should follow college basketball’s model and create a playoff bracket of NBA teams seeded by their records. Conferences wouldn’t matter.
The NBA’s championship bracket could crown a champion in a disrupted season and fill a gaping bracket void left by the cancellation of March Madness.
NBA Futures still available on FanDuel and Fox Bet
The Milwaukee Bucks are currently the favorite at +240 at both sportsbooks, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers (+270) and Los Angeles Clippers (+340).
FanDuel Sportsbook has the Philadelphia 76ers priced at +2700. And Fox Bet has boosted the 76ers up to +3000.
Based on The Washington Post article, if you’re considering a futures bet, it might make sense to ignore teams that are not currently in the playoffs.
NBA Championship odds
The current playoff teams, according to USA Today, are as follows (odds provided by Fox Bet):
- Bucks (+240)
- Raptors (+2500)
- Celtics (+2000)
- Heat (+2500)
- Pacers (+10,000)
- 76ers (+3000)
- Nets (+7000)
- Magic (+25,000)
- Lakers (+270)
- Clippers (+340)
- Nuggets (+2200)
- Jazz (+2200)
- Thunder (+8000)
- Rockets (+1200)
- Mavericks (+3500)
- Grizzlies (+20,000)
Expect a sports wasteland for the next two months
Now, the waiting game starts. The CDC has advised that gatherings of 50 people or more be postponed for two months. There will be very few sporting events held during that span in the United States. There could be additional restrictions beyond that.
For now, a sliver of hope remains. Basketball could be played. The playoffs could be held. Maybe, just maybe, a champion will be crowned.
At least we can hope.