More than two months have passed since college and professional sports shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and sidelined sports bettors are feeling the loss acutely.
Despite speculation that the sports world might not resume until 2021, as stay-at-home restrictions relax around the country, some leagues are making tentative plans to return while others are already active.
The NBA – the first major league in the US to shut down after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 in early March – is now discussing holding playoff games in Las Vegas’ empty stadiums.
Major League Soccer proposed resuming its season on June 8, bringing all of its 26 teams to shuttered resorts near Disney World in Orlando, FL.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was open to the idea, saying that he would lift restrictions to allow sports teams to utilize the state’s unused arenas, according to ESPN.
This is all good news for Oregon punters who would be thrilled to see the state’s Portland Trail Blazers and Portland Timbers return to action.
March statistics for Scoreboard, Oregon Lottery’s online sportsbook, shows basketball accounted for almost half of the month’s wagering activity, while soccer was second at 15%.
In addition, the NHL is currently considering a 24-team playoff tournament, which could trickle down to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHA.
Ice hockey accounted for the third-highest number of Scoreboard bets.
In other league news, Major League Baseball is considering an 82-game season that could start as early as the Fourth of July, according to ESPN.
Baseball games would be played in league stadiums that have received clearance from local and state officials.
The PGA plans to resume next month, although no fans will be allowed to attend the first four events.
NASCAR returned to the track last week, also without fans.
The NFL currently expects to start the regular season on time on Sept. 10.
No college football games until 2021?
Although Scoreboard does not accept wagers on collegiate events, NCAA football fans may not be allowed to attend games until next year.
College sports went into lockdown in mid-March with the cancellation of March Madness basketball tournaments, and there are no plans to return as yet.
According to ESPN, the NCAA will not mandate a uniform return for college sports, leaving that decision to individual university and state officials, instead.
In a May 8 press conference outlining the state’s reopening strategy, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said that large gatherings would not be allowed until at least October.
Both the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers are scheduled to host three home games in September.
A number of experts have expressed the opinion that sports leagues may be returning to action too soon.
Germany’s premier soccer league, Bundesliga, was expected to be the first major league to resume play this month, but plans were scrapped after 10 players tested positive for the coronavirus.
Likewise, Japan’s basketball league was scheduled to resume in April, but the season was delayed indefinitely after three players tested positive.
Other Scoreboard statistics for March
Scoreboard punters placed a total of 311,553 bets in March on 24 different sports, with an average wager amount of $28.91.
Standard pre-match wagers, bets placed on an event’s outcome before the start, accounted for 56% of Scoreboard’s action.
Live bets, wagers placed during a sporting event, accounted for the other 44%.
Nearly 155,000 wagers were placed on basketball games. Baseball accounted for 3,565 bets or 1% of Scoreboard’s total wagers.
Table tennis wagers accounted for 7%, MMA 5%, tennis 3% and football 2%.
Some of the more obscure sports wagers by Oregon bettors include 12 bets on bandy. The game is similar to ice hockey and uses a ball instead of a puck. It is considered to be Russia’s national game.
Cycling received 44 bets, while 152 wagers were made on snooker and pool, and 178 on sumo wrestling.