Online Sportsbooks Forced To Get Creative With No Major Sports Being Played


Written By Kate Rowland on April 4, 2020Last Updated on April 3, 2023
sportsbooks bet on WWE WrestleMania


In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, all the major leagues, such as the NBA, NHL, MLB and PGA, are on hold while major sporting events, such as the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, have been canceled outright.

There’s not much action for sports bettors to place a wager on.

But don’t count sportsbooks out just yet. Oddsmakers are getting increasingly creative in their efforts to entice potential bettors in states with legalized online sports betting.

While the NBA discusses the feasibility of holding private basketball playoff games with no spectators present and the NHL ponders whether to postpone or cancel the remainder of this year’s regular hockey season and Stanley Cup playoffs, sports bettors seeking wagers can still find action on their mobile devices with their favorite online sportsbooks.


Sportsbooks highlighting NFL futures

Even though all the hoopla originally in the works for the NFL Draft, slated for April in Las Vegas, has been canceled, the draft itself is scheduled to proceed as planned – although probably through a virtual channel – and sportsbooks are banking on it.

FanDuel, DraftKings, Bet365 and 888Sport – among other online sportsbooks – offer odds on the NFL Draft, including No. 1 overall pick, first three picks in order, first player drafted by each NFL team, first wide receiver drafted overall and which team will draft Tua Tagovailoa.

If the draft doesn’t offer enough NFL action for you, there’s always free agency. For instance, FanDuel is offering odds on Cam Newton’s next team.

Bettors can also wager on the next NFL champion, season MVP and New England Patriots starting quarterback for the season opening game, as well as plenty of other football-related wagers.


A focus on unheralded sports

Other sports wagers that bettors can consider include MLB World Series champion, Belarusian soccer games and the Masters Tournament.

DraftKings online sportsbook in Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and New Hampshire is taking bets on table tennis’ Setka Cup, while Belarus Premier League soccer can be wagered on in the same states, as well as New Jersey and Iowa.

Various online sportsbooks in Nevada offer odds on Australian Rules Football and Rugby, Turkish Super LIG Soccer, MLB pennants and World Series futures bets.

A number of sportsbooks, including Bet365 in New Jersey, accept wagers on upcoming boxing matches. Bettors can wager on cricket and darts on Bet365, as well.


Betting Pools

FanDuel and DraftKings are ramping up their free-to-play betting pools on their DFS sites that cover wide-ranging topics from presidential debates to TV shows to professional wrestling.

For FanDuel fantasy contests, players create a lineup staying within a $100 budget and then receive points for various categories.

More than 25,000 people have entered FanDuel’s WWE WrestleMania contest, which has cash prizes totaling $5,000. Point-earning categories include signature move hit, putting someone through a table, foreign object used and top turnbuckle-move hit.

FanDuel competitor DraftKings has offered bonus betting pools on everything from the Oscars to presidential debates, including a recent Democratic debate with categories such as the first candidate to bring up the coronavirus and over/under odds on the number of tweets Donald Trump would post during the proceedings.

DraftKings pools expire anywhere from a few days to several months. On April 2, DraftKings offered free pools for subjects as wide as the next day’s weather to television shows (Survivor, Real Housewives of NY, Top Chef and Shark Tank) to MLB and NFL division winners.

DraftKings also is running a social media creative-selfie rally in which DraftKings donates a dollar to United Way for each #DKRally hashtag posted with a photograph up to $1 million.


eSports wagering

Both New Jersey and Nevada have received approval from their respective state gaming regulators to accept wagers on eSports or simulated virtual events.

Nevada approved wagering on the Counter-Strike ESL Pro League at all sportsbooks in the state. Wagers on simulated horse races are also accepted. Additional virtual events may be approved in the future.

Other leagues, such as NASCAR, are testing virtual simulations in place of in-person events, which may lead to wagering opportunities down the road.

DraftKings has experienced significant growth in its DFS eSports League of Legend pools while FanDuel’s NBA Sim Sports uses randomly generated stats from the 2019-20 season to entice basketball fans.

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Kate Rowland

Kate is an award-winning journalist who has written articles for websites and newspapers across the country. A former Las Vegas resident, she has written sports betting articles for sports handicappers and sports betting websites for more than a decade.

View all posts by Kate Rowland