The MLB season should have been in full swing by now. Instead, the players are working through independent preparations ahead of a reworked 2020 schedule, and baseball bettors can only get involved in MLB futures markets.
But things appear to be trending in the right direction after the league released plans to open in-person preseason training in mid-June, followed by Opening Day in July. It is a bold move (and comes sooner than what we have seen from the NBA and NFL), but one that comes with extensive proposed guidelines.
Reasons for optimism
While any kind of 2020 season would have a different feel than any other in league history, with a wide range of unprecedented measures in place to protect the players, the momentum is encouraging – and a full 162-game campaign may yet be possible if the initial stages of the plan go smoothly.
With the financial motivation there for all parties, look for more progress over the weeks ahead, even though there are numerous obstacles for MLB to clear – from testing to travel to rollout. Like most sports leagues pondering a return to action, empty stadiums are a no-brainer, and baseball at least benefits from having far less physical contact than basketball or soccer.
All eyes continue to be on South Korea, where the national baseball league – the KBO – has returned to the field. If the KBO suffers any setbacks, it could have major implications on MLB efforts in the tight timeframe leading up to July. In the meantime, it has at least provided some baseball action for bettors to monitor.
World Series odds
With all the uncertainty and the usual offseason, 2020 could be ripe for an upset champion. The bookmakers are finding it tough to look past the Los Angeles Dodgers (now featuring Mookie Betts) and New York Yankees, but there are plenty of other talented teams (and no shortage of subplots).
We will be back with all the key previews on the road to July, but here’s a quick reminder of the World Series favourites.
- Dodgers, 3/1
- Yankees, 3/1
- Houston Astros, 9/1
- Minnesota Twins, 15/1
- Atlanta Braves, 17/1
- New York Mets, 17/1