Every professional league has its own COVID-19 prevention measures. Consequently, some leagues have struggled more with coronavirus outbreaks than others. Major League Soccer has recently had more games delayed by the Colorado Rapids’ coronavirus outbreak. Canceled games and lead to lost betting lines, which impact Colorado sportsbooks’ bottom lines.
However, these losses can be avoided. The NBA and NHL fared far better during their seasons than the NFL and MLS. That’s because the NFL and MLS plans suffered from shortcomings that the NBA and NHL avoided. Ultimately, preventing COVID-19 outbreaks came down to how seriously leagues took player isolation.
What Doctors Recommend Leagues Do
Although they’re not risk-free, professional leagues can keep their staff and players safe while they work. However, each league has a medical advisory board. They don’t all offer the same robust health recommendations. So, players in some leagues are safer from the virus than others.
For example, the NHL and NFL have radically different coronavirus approaches. The NHL implemented two strict bubbles for its players: one for American teams and one for Canadian teams. Further, players, staff, and coaches had different access levels of access throughout the bubble. This further increased distance between players. Critically, these guidelines applied to the whole league. Each team was subject to the same coronavirus prevention guidelines. As a result, the NHL finished its season with zero coronavirus cases.
The NFL was quite different. Each club could create its own plan. They had their medical advisors and their coronavirus prevention policies. That was a bad start and led to a few teams having to quarantine. The NFL eventually escalated to fining players who didn’t follow the proper protocols. However, the Tennessee Titans made up most of the league’s new cases at the beginning of October. It turns out that 32 different levels of concern are inadequate for containing a contagious virus.
How Major League Soccer Coronavirus Protocols Compare
The Colorado Rapids’ recent outbreak has led to additional canceled games. The Rapids used to have a fantastic coronavirus prevention plan. Critically, it kept its teams in a bubble. It worked throughout training. The teams were isolated, so there was little risk of encountering an asymptomatic carrier.
But when the season began, MLS abandoned the bubble. They decided to allow fans in the stadiums as they were approved by local health officials. Well, it’s easy to control the movements of staff and players. But fans aren’t beholden to the MLS’ coronavirus restrictions. They’re starved of sports entertainment, and they want a live show. Fans still shouldn’t be attending live games without masks and social distancing. But if the leagues are going to open the floodgates, they should prepare for the deluge.
The Rapids’ Recent Outbreak
Before the Rapids outbreak, it had several games with a limited number of fans. Dicks Sporting Goods Stadium allowed 6% of the stadium’s capacity to attend Rapids games live. However, that still comes out to 1,165 people. Even if they’re spaced out, they still take their masks off to eat and drink. Enough proximity to friends could result in the virus spreading from the stands to the field.
That’s the possible explanation for how the Rapids became infected. The positive tests came out on Sept. 24 and several more were announced on October 3. If these cases came from a game, they could’ve come from away games on September 16 or 19. The Rapids played FC Dallas on the 16, where fans are allowed to attend. Other sports leagues have been able to play each other without incident. But MLS popped the bubble, and now they’re paying for it.
What Will The Rapids Odds Look Like In Colorado Sportsbooks?
There are a few things Colorado bettors could see when they look at Rapids odds in the wake of their game cancellations.
First, they’re probably going to finish the season. There have been no new infections the week since the first round of infections. So, the Rapids have a shot at resuming play soon. They seem committed to finishing the season. Even if they play fewer games, they could still make the playoff round. MLS is prepared to do a “points per game calculation” to make playoff determinations if some teams are short on games.
However, that means bettors will have to watch the Rapids’ game lines carefully. There are two likely outcomes for bets on the Rapids. Bettors could have their stakes refunded. But sportsbooks could also list games to be played at any time. Sportsbooks have offered futures bets on championships regardless of playtime. If Colorado sportsbooks were sure that a match between the Rapids and another team would happen, they could do that with game lines, too.
Good luck finding MLS futures bets, though. Colorado sportsbooks didn’t have MLS futures the night I wrote this article. It could be because of the uncertainty surrounding the league, but that seems unlikely. MLS hasn’t been the only bubble-less league with coronavirus cases.
However, this may be the beginning of a shift in pandemic-era sports betting. Sportsbooks may be offering lines shortly before games. They may be tired of refunding stakes and setting odds for games that don’t pan out. That would allow oddsmakers to focus on the most reliable games and maximize revenue from sure games. Given the recent uncertainty in MLS, this may be one of the most financially savvy moves.
The Colorado Rapids’ Uncertain Future
Major League Soccer had robust coronavirus prevention strategies during training. However, allowing fans to attend games popped the bubble, and allowed coronavirus cases to creep into the league. The Rapid’s recent outbreak likely came from a home game that allowed fans. But the restricted number of fans wasn’t enough to keep the virus out.
Now that the Colorado Rapids are getting ready to return to play, sportsbooks seem to be approaching MLS with renewed caution. There aren’t any futures odds in Colorado sportsbooks’ MLS sections. However, bettors can still find game lines on scheduled games. If MLS and other major leagues relax their coronavirus prevention too much, bettors may see gradual changes in how Colorado sportsbooks offer odds on all our favorite Colorado teams.