While the return of some sports like Bundesliga soccer and UFC have been crucial for West Virginia sportsbooks, an even bigger boost is right around the corner.
The big four American sports, as well as golf, tennis, and soccer, are all nearing a comeback. Professional leagues are coming up with new plans to determine the best route possible to get back to work.
The NBA and NHL almost completed their regular seasons when the leagues were forced into a stoppage.
After the NBA Board of Governors approved basketball’s latest 22-team plan, both winter sports are in a position to restart. Barring any health setbacks, a champion will be crowned in the NBA and NHL this year.
The return of Major League Baseball hasn’t been as smooth.
Beyond getting on the field for another spring training, players and owners are still negotiating the finer details. There are discrepancies in how many games will be played and how many players should be paid.
On a brighter note, MLS appears like it could be the first American sport back on the board at WV sportsbooks. The soccer league and players agreed to terms on Wednesday to a new collective bargaining agreement.
The MLS season is set to resume with a tournament scheduled to take place at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports facility. The complex near Orlando, Florida, is also home to where the NBA will reopen its year.
Thankfully, it seems as though the NFL is on pace to begin its upcoming season on time. While some voluntary workouts have been held virtually, the league is hoping training camp and the regular season remain unaffected.
Let’s take a closer look at the status of each league and what bettors should expect when they start playing again.
NBA’s Return Plan
The NBA voted on Thursday and approved the innovative 22-team format to restart the 2020 season. Games are supposed to begin on July 31 if everything goes to plan.
The 22 teams will consist of 13 Western Conference teams and just nine from the Eastern Conference. The league chose the top 16 squads from each conference, along with teams within six games of eighth place.
Those who benefitted from the extended arrangement include:
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Phoenix Suns
- Portland Trailblazers
- Sacramento Kings
- San Antonio Spurs
- Washington Wizards
Qualified teams will start back up with eight “regular season” games. These contests will help determine the seeds for the usual 16-team playoff bracket.
Most teams are already set in place; however, the six teams mentioned do have an opportunity to make the field.
If the ninth seed in either conference finishes this schedule within four games of the eighth seed, those two teams will compete in a play-in tournament.
The No. 9 seed would need to beat the No. 8 seed in both potential play-in games to earn the conference’s final seed. On the other hand, the No. 8 team would only need to win just one of those contests.
Currently, the Wizards are 5.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic. In the West, the Blazers, Pelicans, and Kings are all 3.5 games back of the No. 8 Grizzlies.
When the 16 teams are decided, playoffs will run like normal, with four total rounds being determined by seven-game series.
Players will start training with their teams in Orlando between July 9-11. The last date that the NBA Finals would conclude is Oct. 12.
NHL Postseason Tournament
The NHL has also finalized its playoff format. This season, it will finish the year out with a 24-team tournament. Similar to the NBA, the majority of teams will participate in the NHL’s Return To Play Plan.
Only the bottom seven teams in the league won’t be playing when teams return to the ice.
While playoff teams are set to compete against other conference opponents, this year’s layout is a little different than most.
The conference’s top four sides in both the East and the West have a bye past the opening round. They will play one another in a round-robin style schedule to determine the order of the top four seeds.
Each conference’s remaining eight teams matchup in a more regular first round. These consist of best-of-five game series with standard playoff overtime rules.
The winners from these opening-round series advance to face one of the best four teams from their conference. As the playoffs continue, teams will re-seed after each round, as opposed to a straight bracket format.
This means that the No. 1 seed will always face the lowest possible seed still in contention.
Once the initial playoff round is complete, every series that follows will be decided by a seven-game series.
Since the teams and qualifying series are already in place, WV online sports betting apps feature odds for who will advance. At the moment, DraftKings Sportsbook lists the following odds to win their qualifying round:
- Calgary Flames -118 vs. Winnipeg Jets -106
- Carolina Hurricanes -136 vs. New York Rangers +110
- Edmonton Oilers -167 vs. Chicago Blackhawks +135
- Nashville Predators -143 vs. Arizona Coyotes +116
- New York Islanders -122 vs. Florida Panthers +100
- Pittsburgh Penguins -195 vs. Montreal Canadiens +155
- Toronto Maple Leafs -175 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets +140
- Vancouver Canucks -134 vs. Minnesota Wild +110
Other Sports Leagues Coming Back
There are plenty of additional sports coming back, too.
Even though some may not return for another month or so, online sportsbooks in the Mountain State include futures odds for nearly every market.
Mobile platforms include:
As mentioned, MLS soccer may be one of the first sports back in the US. Teams are looking to arrive in Florida by June 24 for training.
It seems as though each team will play in a minimum of three games that will be included in the regular standings. Following that, the top 16 squads advance to a knockout stage that will play independently from the season.
The remainder of the regular schedule hasn’t been decided on at all.
Another sport almost back in action is the PGA Tour. While there have been a few special golf events played, the full tour has yet to return since sports stopped.
Players return to the course next weekend for the Charles Schwab Challenge. It will take place between June 11-14 from Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
Outside of the country, a lot of other popular soccer leagues are nearing their returns.
Spain’s La Liga is scheduled for a June 11 start date, whereas the English Premier League is set for June 17. Italy’s Serie A will follow those with games on June 20.