The U.S. is seeing the spread of the COVID-19 variant Omicron, which is impacting nearly every area of life, including college bowl games.
This season the NCAA sanctioned 42 bowl games, the most in history. There were enough bowl games scheduled to ensure that every college football team with a .500 record could play in one.
Bowl season culminates with the College Football Playoff semifinals Friday. Already, a few bowl games have been cancelled due to COVID-19 and health-related protocols. How might that impact your bets on these bowl games?
Which Bowl Games Have Been Cancelled?
But COVID-19 and Omicron virus outbreaks have impacted several teams. Protocols triggered when a team has positive tests or is exposed to the virus have led to these cancellations as of Wednesday, December 29:
- Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl (Boise State vs. Central Michigan)
- Wasabi Fenway Bowl (SMU vs. Virginia)
- Easypost Hawaiʻi Bowl (Hawaii vs. Memphis)
- San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl (N.C. State vs. UCLA)
- Military Bowl presented by Peraton (Boston College vs. East Carolina)
In addition, Central Michigan, who was scheduled to play in the Arizona Bowl, has shifted to play in the Sun Bowl, which lost the Miami Hurricanes when that team didn’t even fly to El Paso to prepare for the game. Also, the Gator Bowl lost Texas A&M to COVID, and the Aggies have been replaced by Rutgers, which steps in to face Wake Forest on Friday.
No Action If Bowl Game Cancelled
These sportsbooks have released their policies for cancelled bowl games, indicating all bets are refunded:
Consult the official policies of your sportsbooks for details.
Futures Bets Rules On College Football Playoff
Sportsbooks have different rules regarding futures bets on the CFP National Championship.
BetMGM rules on football futures state, “For all season-long match bets and division betting, all bets stand regardless of team re-location, or a change to a team name, season length or playoff format. … BetMGM/Borgata will rely on official results and statistics from the official governing body to settle all future wagers. BetMGM/Borgata will count any forfeited match as a game played where an official result was declared as a completed game for purposes of all future wagers.”
PlayUp’s rules are similar: “Future or outright wagers are considered action as long as a winner is officially announced by governing body, regardless of team relocation, team name change, league affiliation, playoff format, or season length.”
Johnny Avello, sportsbook director at DraftKings, said in a text message to Gaming Today, “If they declare a champ, we’ll pay.”
But SuperBook USA’s college football futures sheet states, “college football championship game must be played for action.”
Consult the sportsbook at which you placed your futures bet to determine if the wager still counts should a championship be awarded via forfeit.
National Championship Scenarios
Last week, anticipating the possibility of public health disruptions to the College Football Playoff, the CFP committee released policies related to possible scenarios.
Should one of the semifinal games (#1 Alabama vs. #4 Cincinnati or #2 Michigan vs. #3 Georgia) be cancelled and not be rescheduled because both teams were unable to field teams due to COVID, the other game will be considered the national championship. If one team cannot field a team for a semifinal game, the other will be declared the winner by forfeit and advance to the National Championship.
There’s even a policy in case three of the four teams are unable to play in the semifinals. For example, if Alabama and Cincinnati cannot play in their game due to COVID, and Georgia is also sidelined due to the same reason, then Michigan would be declared the national champion. The NCAA did not announce a plan to reschedule a semifinal game, seeing as how small the window is, and the complicated logistics of travel for college teams and their fans.
If the College Football Playoff National Championship, scheduled for January 10, cannot be played, there’s a scenario for that as well.
“If one team is able to play and the other is not and the game cannot be rescheduled or is rescheduled and cannot be played, then the team unable to play shall forfeit the game and the other team shall be declared CFP National Champion,” the CFP policy says.
The national title game could be rescheduled, as long as it is played no later than January 14.