Let’s look into the near future when things are close to normal and schedules of our favorite sports are merging over months that typically don’t happen.
We took a break in the spring and will be rewarded in the fall with more betting options than we can keep up with.
During a break from my new daily routines, I looked into my crystal ball and saw a few 2020-21 champions hoisting trophies. Here’s who I got:
It’ll be interesting to see what the NBA does with their regular season, but I’ll be for closing it out and starting the playoffs immediately. What more can anyone gain out of watching the Timberwolves (NBA worst -19.9 units ATS) or Pistons (-15.8) close out their season other than bettors winning when betting against them.
Let’s start fresh with a bang and get these playoffs rocking and if we must for the teams close to the eighth and final spot, have a play-in tournament in Las Vegas. Fans in attendance or not, it’s worth waiting for, and the build-up is multiplying each week without.
I’m most intrigued to see what’s going to happen in the West with LeBron James already in playoff mode and hungrier than ever after missing the postseason last season. He hasn’t mentioned extra motivation for Kobe Bryant or dedicated the season, but it has to be an underlying theme quietly in the Lakers’ locker room.
While the Clippers and Nuggets battle it out in seven thrilling games of the West semifinals, the Lakers (9/5 to win NBA Finals) are fresh off a sweep and well-rested waiting for the winner and move on to the finals where they beat the Bucks in six games.
I was hoping when the NHL returned that it dived right into the playoffs to give us high octane intensity right out of the gate, but I don’t think the NHL sees it that way. Expect the final few regular-season games to be played as practice for the playoff teams so the product isn’t muddied after such a long layoff.
While the homer in me will be rooting for the Golden Knights to scrape through a tough West gauntlet with hopes of one of their goalies getting hot, the Stanley Cup appears to go through Boston with the Bruins being the best team in the best conference with the best scorer (David Pastrnak 48 goals) and best goalie (Tuuka Rask 2.12 goals against avg).
Rest or rust? I’ll take the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup at 6-1 odds against the Oilers (20-1).
Since this is just me looking into the future, I can visualize anyone I want to win the College Football National Championship Game. But it would be irresponsible to suggest a team other than Alabama, Ohio State or Clemson will win it. Sure, Alabama will have around seven players drafted in the first round off the NFL Draft next month, but they’ll be back with QB Mac Jones getting some valuable time last season. All they do is reload, as do the Buckeyes and Clemson, both of whom return favored Heisman Trophy candidates at QB.
The excitement for me in college football will begin with backing a few teams early that may be rated lower than they should be. How about Minnesota with junior QB Tanner Morgan returning with his almost all of his offensive weapons from a Gophers squad that went 11-2. Oklahoma State brings back 18 players who have 10 starts or more, including soph. QB Spencer Sanders and junior RB Chuba Hubbard who rushed for 2,094 yards and 21 TDs last season. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last had Hubbard at 20-1 odds to win the Heisman. I’m looking forward to cashing some tickets regularly early on with those two teams.
The second half of 2020 looks to be jam-packed with big events and I haven’t even got to the NFL yet with Tom Brady starting his 21st season not in New England, but, of all places, Tampa Bay. William Hill already posted him as the fourth favorite to win MVP at 18-1 odds behind Patrick Mahomes (9-2), last season’s MVP Lamar Jackson (7-1), and Russell Willson (10-1).
The Bucs had the No. 1 rush defense to go along with the No. 1 passing offense last season. Brady is going to love Bruce Arians’ offense as Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, and Jameis Winston all have. The Bucs are 16-1 to win the Super Bowl, down from 50-1 before rumors of a Brady signing.
I can’t wait to ride this Brady roller coaster every week. No matter how he fares, it’s going to be one of the top stories with headlines like this: Brady makes first pass in Tampa camp. Brady throws first Bucs TD in the preseason. Brady sets sail in Tampa for his seventh Super Bowl ring.
Yes, more of it, please. I want to root for him and against him at the same time. I also can’t wait to see Broncos QB Drew Lock in his second season with a squad that the Chiefs will be chasing in the AFC West. The Chiefs are 4-1 favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champs while the Broncos haven’t moved off 50-1 at William Hill books.
The possible downfall of the Rams is the Cardinals gain in the NFC West with a Kliff Kingsbury offense rarely showing the same play twice all last season. How do you defend that? And now with DeAndre Hopkins? William Hill opened the Cards at 35-1 to win the NFC and they’re now down to 28-1.
The NFL Draft won’t have that much of an impact on odds to win the Super Bowl, so in late March I’m comfortable with taking the Ravens (+750) to regroup after a sour ending last season and beat Brady and the Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55, which will be played in Tampa Bay.
Yes, we’ve got something on the horizon to get us back to normalization. That’s what sports can do and it’s why even World Wars couldn’t halt baseball. The likely format changes in some of the leagues are going to be part of our reward for being patient and waiting when they’re back on TV and we’re betting again.