Rumor Has It MLB May Return in July; Until Then, NJ Sportsbooks Have Korean Baseball

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.

However, new Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi called into the 94WIP Morning Show on Tuesday. And he addressed the chatter surrounding the potential return date.

And this Tweet may have triggered the whole idea:

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.

Typically, the  NBA and NHL finish their respective playoffs in June, leaving the entire pro sports stage to baseball. That is until the NFL and college football starts.

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.

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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 (, 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.

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.

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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
  • Moneyline
  • Futures
  • Props

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 DinosLotte 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.

About the Author

Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.