With Major Sports on Hold, Sportsbooks Get Creative

Colorado bettors can still look forward to May 1 for the launch of legal online sports betting. While the COVID-19 crisis has shut down Colorado’s retail casino industry through at least late April, mobile platforms like FanDuel SportsBook are set to roll out on the original expected launch date.

With most major sports leagues around the world shut down indefinitely, however, traditional betting options are sparse. At a time of year that usually presents U.S. bettors with plenty of opportunities, the NBA Playoffs, NHL Playoffs, Major League Baseball and all other U.S. sporting events are off the board.

Sportsbook brands like DraftKings Sportsbook and William Hill are finding ways to keep bettors in the game. In an unprecedented time of sports shutdowns, Colorado bettors can turn to events like esports, table tennis, Belarus soccer leagues and others unconventional betting opportunities come May 1.

What To Bet On During The Sports Shutdown

NFL Draft

Prop bets surrounding the NFL draft are likely to hit an all-time high in volume for 2020. The April 23 draft is one of the few sure things taking place in the uncertain U.S. sports scene, giving bettors a chance to bet on something familiar and happening soon.

DraftKings Sportsbook has an extensive lineup of available prop bets, including over/under draft position props for more than 30 players.

Other ways to bet include “Team to Draft Player” specials. The Miami Dolphins are currently at even money to draft Tua Tagovailoa, with the Los Angeles Chargers at +150. Hopeful Denver Broncos fans can put a bet on +10000 odds for the Broncos to draft Tua.

With almost endless props to choose from, the NFL Draft will no doubt be the event of choice for many U.S. bettors in April.

Esports

The world of esports still rolls on during the COVID-19 crisis. Esports betting was introduced to the legal sports betting market earlier this month, as the Nevada Gaming Control Board approved betting on several upcoming esports events.

Wagering on League of Legends, Overwatch League, Dota 2 and Counter Strike is now an option for Nevada bettors. Upcoming events on the board at William Hill include major tournaments in mid-April for all four of those games.

With nothing in the way to halt the world of competitive events, esports could be the wave of the future for sports bettors looking for action.

NASCAR iRacing

The introduction of NASCAR iRacing has given race fans something to look forward to while the real-life NASCAR circuit is on hold.

Betting on NASCAR iRacing is available on most of the legal online sportsbooks, and Colorado bettors should have plenty of ways to get into the action.

Fox Bet Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, William Hill and other legal sportsbooks have put NASCAR iRacing on the board. These races feature some of NASCAR’s biggest names competing against other on race simulators, which are often used for training in real-life races.

Television broadcasts for NASCAR iRacing have proven popular so far, and for sports bettors these events are another option, and the closest approximation of a U.S. sports league running in the near future.

Table Tennis

Perhaps the most surprising new betting market comes in the form of international table tennis.

William Hill officials told ESPN that table tennis is performing relatively well in U.S. markets. This success comes in spite of the fact competitive table tennis is a virtual unknown in the domestic sports betting industry.

Nonetheless, professional table tennis events in Russia, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic give bettors a real-life competitive sport to wager on. Colorado players still have a couple of weeks to research this emerging opportunity before the state’s sports betting industry goes live.

Belarus, Nicaraguan Soccer Leagues

Soccer still plays on in some parts of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, and U.S. sportsbooks are giving bettors the option to get in on some international football action.

The sport hasn’t slowed down in Belarus and giving bettors a plethora of daily options from the eastern European country. The Belarus Premier League and Belarus Cup take place throughout April.

The Nicaragua Premier League is running throughout the month as well. It might be challenging to find a way to watch games from these countries, but U.S. bettors have plenty of ways to wager nonetheless.

Other Events

William Hill offered betting on the recently completed chess match, the Banter Blitz Cup Final. Professional darts and handball events are also on the board at DraftKings Sportsbook, as well as the Chinese Taipei Basketball League

Futures bets for the NBA and NHL championships are still available, with the prospects of those leagues completing their seasons still up in the air. Major League Baseball and NFL futures markets still hold hope for bettors as well.

FanDuel attempted to introduce betting on the upcoming 2020 presidential election in West Virginia, but state legislators have nixed that idea for now.

In Colorado, playoff-bound seasons are on hold for the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies have yet to take the field. But bettors in the Centennial State should still have plenty to work with when May 1 comes around.

About the Author

Geoffrey Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad. Follow Geoff on Twitter at @GeoffFisk