If Major League Baseball teams are going to play 100 games, an early summer return is needed.
How does July 1 sound?
Major League Baseball has yet to release an official statement confirming the date or its plans for an abbreviated season.
And this Tweet may have triggered the whole idea:
Want some good baseball news??
I just heard from multiple sources that on June 10th, Spring Training 2 will start. July 1st will be Opening Day and all teams will be playing at their home ballparks.
We’ll be discussing it in full on the next @TalkinBaseball_
— Trevor Plouffe (@trevorplouffe) May 4, 2020
Major League Baseball betting
No matter what date MLB returns, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact it has on the NJ sports betting world.
Suddenly, sports fans are potentially looking at summer that includes three major pro sports taking place at the same time. This doesn’t include the PGA or NASCAR, both of which have announced return dates.
So the question becomes, how much of the betting action will baseball receive?
If we look back at the 2019 numbers from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, baseball betting ranked third.
For example, here is a breakdown of year to date completed events handle from December:
- Football: $939.3 million
- Basketball: $934.9 million
- Baseball: $698.4 million
Parlays are counted separately.
Of course, with bettors itching for its return, seeing a significant jump in baseball betting handle would not be surprising.
The current NJ sports betting market
With baseball, basketball, and hockey sidelined, the NJ sports wagering market remains limited. Gamblers, however, are finding alternative options during these unprecedented times.
The SugarHouse Sportsbook team compiled some betting trends related to the current situation. In the Garden State, for instance, Sunday’s soccer wagering action was “competitively strong.”
The Belarus Premier League accounted for 32% of the wagering action.
Here is a more detailed breakdown:
Top 10 Sports Leagues by Amount Wagered Yesterday (PlaySugarHouse.com, NJ)
The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) will likely be a new addition to the list after holding its opening day earlier this week.
Korean Baseball paving the way for MLB’s return
Besides the NJ sports betting angle to the KBO, Major League Baseball executives could view the league as guidance toward finalizing a restart plan.
Those watching the games on ESPN, for instance, will notice a lack of fans in attendance. So when former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr homered for NC Dinos, he literarily received the silent treatment.
Missed this sweet swing.
Happy Aaron Altherr breakout season. pic.twitter.com/jQhhCTbLeE
— Jack Fritz (@JackFritzWIP) May 6, 2020
Notice players and umpires are wearing masks. Plus, the hugs, high fives, and spitting fans are accustomed to seeing while watching games are not allowed.
It seems natural for MLB teams to follow similar social distancing procedures.
Testing procedures and determining where the games will take place are a couple of the more significant issues that still need to be resolved.
KBO fills NJ sports betting void
While waiting for Major League Baseball to make their big announcement, the KBO can temporarily fill the void.
DraftKings Sportsbook is offering several bet types:
- Run lines
For those wondering which team is favored to win the league championship, the Doosan Bears (+350) are a slight favorite over the SK Wyverns (+450)
DK is offering an odds boost for Thursday.
The NC Dinos, Lotte Giants, and Kiwoom Heroes all to win are now paying +475 (from +425). With the time difference, the first pitch will be around 5:30 a.m. EST.
Call it a nice distraction until Major League Baseball officially announces its restart plans.