A couple of newsworthy topics this week include some MLB players opting out of playing this season, continued players testing positive for Corona Virus, and NFL eliminating 2 preseason games from the schedule.
MLB has seen 4 players opt of the 2020 season so far. The first one was RHP ARI Mike Leake. He has said the reasoning for his decision is personal between he and his family, but he said he took into consideration countless factors. 1B WSH Ryan Zimmerman. His reasoning was family related. His wife is high risk and they have a newborn plus 3 young children. RHP WSH Joe Ross had Tommy John surgery in 2017 and was poised to battle for the 5th starters spot in the WSH rotation this season. COL OF Ian Desmond is the 4th player to opt out. He has a pregnant wife but also voiced concerns over racial injustice in MLB. The MIN have 2 coaches that will sit out the season. As of now, these are the only officially known players or coaches There likely will be a couple more but nowhere near a landslide of players not playing. Health is the key and I hope everyone stays safe. I would also say that this list of players will not impact the results of any of the teams they represent. Each of these players are could even be considered as platoon guys so not even everyday starters. Hopefully, we will not see starters opt to sit out.
Every day we continue to hear of players testing positive for the Corona Virus. The reason for that is the players are now reporting to training facilities and undergoing a myriad of testing. Obviously, testing and tracing are important. There must be concern for certain teams and then bettors should be keenly aware of these issues as well. 16 players were tested and found to be positive of the 302 tested. It is more important to know who these players are and if there is a cluster affect for any one team. A cluster affect (meaning abnormal large amount) would hinder practices and depth on the roster. This puts a team in this situation at a disadvantage. Another issue to look for is the quality of the players effected. As stated above, the MLB has not an issue with regular players, but the NBA is not so lucky. An example is DEN Nikola Jokic. He their leading scorer and an MVP caliber player. The SAC Kings have at least 3 players (Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and Alex Len) who have tested positive. This is an example of a cluster affect. In both of these cases, DEN and SAC are now have a lesser chance of being successful when the season resumes.
In other news, the NFL announced a reduction of preseason games from 4 down to 2. They will eliminate Week #1 and Week #4 in hopes of reducing the spread of the virus. I know this is a temporary issue in that the pandemic has created this action, but I would like to see something like this be permanent. Watching 3rd and 4th round quarterbacks in these games just does not excite me that much. I think the real downer to these games (exhibitions) is the quality of play. The NFL is full of competition with scoring, yet these games rarely get totals posted over 4 and the games still mostly go under! Watching professional football teams score lees than 14 points with the quarterbacks who are lower listed on the roster or were a late 7th round selection, has me flipping the channels waiting to just see the score to see if I won a wager on the game. This kind of football is hard to watch so I am glad to see the games reduced. I hope this move gains momentum and carries over to the next few years.
This is the precursor week. It means that the teams are now reporting. We gamblers need to be cognizant of the Covid impact as a new piece of the puzzle we need to incorporate into our handicapping arsenal. The following weeks will be more important. Those weeks will tell us more about the development of the teams, if there are injuries, and if players are improved or have fallen off since the last time, we have seen them in action. The internet and specifically the local reporters covering the teams will be big for us to gain knowledge. We will need to do a lot of reading and researching. Make sure you verify to your best ability the validity of the information you are using. It will be a detriment to start off losing because you learned and listened to the wrong data! Let’s hope we get it right and we learn as much as we can to get that ever-elusive edge over the sportsbook. Be diligent and research your findings. Be prepared to launch what you have learned full steam into the 2020 season. Let’s get it!