Sports gaming company DraftKings released a study earlier this month polling citizens on the upcoming return of sports. Unsurprisingly, a majority said they were ready to welcome back the major pro leagues.
With the NHL and NBA returning to action in neutral-site “bubbles” and baseball starting in fanless stadium, 78 percent of over 1,000 respondents to the survey said they were ok with spectator sports coming back without some of the traditional aspects of attendance.
A greater number said that they missed sports during the coronavirus-forced shutdowns a lot (56 percent) or a little (28 percent).
The Boston-based company released the findings last week. 1,000 self-identifying NJ sports betting fans, among other cities, were polled, along 250 who didn’t consider themselves sports fans. The survey focused on consumption habits from viewing and attending and did not ask about any wagering.
“With over half of respondents having reported missing sports during the resultant hiatus, fans across the country are inarguably eager for the return of their favorite leagues and teams, albeit with largely adjusted expectations as exemplified by our latest findings,” said Matt Kalish, co-founder and president, DraftKings North America, in a statement. “By deepening our understanding of the American fan through data and leveraging the technology of our platform, we are better able to adjust and serve the new experience of sports fans throughout the U.S.”
While 84 percent of respondents claimed they were concerned about COVID-19 before the leagues starting to shut down in mid-March, 56 percent said these stoppages led them to take the outbreak “more seriously”.
59 percent said the lack of games allowed them to focus on non-sports related television and movies, while 53 percent said they were able to spend more time with family and friends.
Without traditional North American fare, fans didn’t completely go hungry. Over one in four surveyed found new forms of competition to follow like esports (40 percent), international soccer (32 percent), and MMA (30 percent). 67 percent said they’ll continue to follow those new sports after the Big 4 return.
Most fans are ready for the return of sports but most think it’s too soon (39 percent) versus the right time (34 percent). The rise in cases in many states has been cause for alarm, with some athletes suggesting the timing is not right and a few opting not to play their respective seasons out of concerns for the chance of catching coronavirus.
As of now, games will be played in empty arenas and stadiums. As for the NFL, the league is allowing franchises to follow local guidance. Respondents were mixed about when they’d be comfortable attending games live.
Of the six options offered in the survey, the most popular was 4-6 months from now (24 percent), followed by until there’s a “cure” for COVID-19 (20 percent), and 0-3 months (19 percent). A majority of correspondents did agree that live attendance created concerns, like social distancing and other fans not wearing masks.
%After weeks of waiting and dormancy through what’s usually the most exciting time of the calendar year, the NHL agreed Tuesday to an expanded playoff format when hockey resumes this summer.
Yes, it’s complicated and a bit convoluted. However, a 24-team playoff means we get even more of the most thrilling postseason. Yeah, that’s a good thing, especially for NJ online sports betting.
NHL 2020 Playoff Plan
The top four teams in each conference will “finish regular-season play” with a group stage round-robin, based on regular-season rules and format. That will determine the top four seeds after the play-in round.
Those teams will face the four survivors of teams ranked fifth through 12th, who will play a best-of-five series to make the round of 16. No word if the league will do the traditional reseeding after the first round.
There are a lot of questions to yet be answered in terms of format, who plays where, etc. Of course, fans know that the season creeping into warmer months means ice quality becomes a factor. Add in the “hub cities” concept, and there’s no guarantee the fourth game in Las Vegas, Chicago, or even Edmonton will have the same sheet as the first game hours prior.
With the confirmation of the playoff format and the end of the regular season, the books brought back the Stanley Cup futures that have gone missing.
- Of course, the oddsmakers wanted to confirm the season would return before posting prices.
- If you’re holding a regular season prop bet, like team or player point totals, check with your book as some might void these plays.
NHL Stanley Cup Odds
- Most major books have re-established conference and Stanley Cup champion odds.
- Most of the prices, of course, are based on current seedings and regular-season finish.
For much of the year, the best team in hockey was the Boston Bruins. While the B’s couldn’t get it done last season at home against St. Louis, this is perhaps a stronger team and has earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference round-robin.
Most books have them as the top choice, ranging from +500 to +700.
With a 23.2 chance to win the cup, according to SportsClubStats.com projections, that favorite moniker seems fitting.
The only other team who’s top on some boards is Tampa Bay, Boston’s division rival. In the format, they could be the top seed and control the bracket with their deep lineup and excellent goaltending from Andrei Vasilevsky.
The Blues returned most of their Stanley Cup team and finished with the most points out West. However, most oddsmakers don’t have them as favorites to make the finals.
They’re available from +750 to +1100 at the major books.
Most books have put the shortest price on the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who will likely get a lot of action from their local supporters.
- Vegas is the favorite out of the West at three of the four major books, ranging from +700 to +850.
- They are also the Western Conference franchise with the best odds to raise the Cup, according to MoneyPuck.com, at 12%.
Sportsclubstats’s favorite out of the West is Colorado.
- The Avalanche have 15.5 odds to raise a third Cup in franchise history and edged out Vegas on Fanduel, earning the best price at +800.
- Expect the Avs to draw some handle, now that sports betting is legal in Colorado.
If any team benefited the most from the format change, it was the Philadelphia Flyers. A late surge, coupled with a poor road trip by cross-state rival Pittsburgh, pushed the Flyers into the top 4, and they could easily improve their seeding in the round-robin.
Moneypuck has Philly with the best odds to win the cup at 13.%.
Of the four major sports, this could be the toughest to forecast. Whoever advances out of the play-in series could dictate more about favorites’ odds than how the top four seeds fare in the round-robin.
This is a long, grueling playoff run where anything can happen. Ten years ago, the top four seeds lost in the first round in the East, and the conference was won by the seventh-seeding Flyers who staved off being down 3-0 in the semis. Watch the markets as things progress.