COVID-19 Playing Havoc with Bettors, Handicappers and Sportsbooks

A detail of Covid-19 related signage prior at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota. Adam Bettcher/Getty Images/AFP

At this point, the term COVID-19 and all the variants have worn out their welcome both to our ears and our eyes. But for now, this remains a fact of our lives and in places, we would prefer this was not.

That’s not to say this isn’t important, of course it is, but we would like to have or hope that sports is our oasis or sanctuary away from reality. And in our case, as sports bettors, a place where we trust 18 to 40-year people (and Tom Brady) to do their jobs proficiently based on our analysis to win wagers on sporting events.

Let’s break down the various areas directly affected by the virus and what it has meant and possible solutions for all of us.

Sportsbooks Just Rolling With What They Know at the Time

Oddsmakers have their sources of information that are better than what most sports bettors find, but for the most part, a professional bettor has access to the same intel and sometimes more.

Sportsbooks that supply their betting odds to OddsTraders.com and places like it have gotten used to the cancellations and want to get this out as soon as possible, thus, avoiding taking bets for ‘No Action’.

If there is conjecture about a star player, particularly in basketball being out because of the virus, seemingly 75 percent of the time if a player looks like will be out, they will set the line with that in mind, figuring they can adjust. This is not that much different than an illness for the books.

READ MORE: How to Shop for the Best Lines

Where it’s harder for the linemakers is if three, five, or more players go into the protocol, depending on the sport and the range of individuals is from starters to bench players, that makes setting numbers much more difficult.

The advantage for the sportsbooks is they can set limits on wagers until they are comfortable with who’s playing and adjust to their best figure once they have their best information possible.

Handicappers Dealing With Frustration and Trying to Do Their Best

This writer can speak from first-hand experience on this. Believe me, when I say nobody feels sorry for someone selling picks and it is understandable with enough of the people that I’ve met over the years in this side of the business.

However, I’ve chosen my path and have friends like myself that are interested in doing the right thing and act accordingly to alter perceptions.

On this side of the business, many do preliminary work the night before for the daily sports to formulate opinions and check the lines in the morning before placing selections for sale.

Part of the daily routine for almost two years is looking for postponements or what players are not available because of the virus. If a line has moved three or more points on a side or total, the first thought is who is out.

READ MORE: Taking Advantage of Line Movement When Betting on Sports

Once a morning line is established, the handicapper creates a write-up for his customers to understand why he made his choice. Once a pick is up for sale and almost any sale is made, if something changes after that to force line movement, the capper is stuck with what they put out, good or bad.

A little-known fact, handicappers want to win for their clients and most are also bettors, having a personal stake in the outcome. Canceled big plays are the worst because of the time and effort involved because it’s no different than a salesperson having an order canceled for reasons beyond their control.

Though not every person this writer knows, more than half of handicappers are presently avoiding possible ‘virus’ games, tired of the uncertainty for their clients.

Sports Bettors Want the Best Action

This all trickles down to sports bettors doing their best to earn a profit. Here, most of those making football picks, basketball picks, or whatever picks, don’t have the time to search for all the available information. If a game is being played and the line doesn’t look way off, they are assuming who is on the team of their choice will participate.

READ MORE: Selectivity Makes Sports Bettors More Money Long Term

This thinking is causing losing wagers daily and in truth, it’s not the bettor’s complete fault, as they are doing the best they can with limited resources and time.

That’s why, the suggestion from this article is if you have been a victim more than you count, find out as best you can what teams or games have more severe virus implications and stay away from those contests.

It is never a bad idea to play fewer games and if you can limit contests to those where you can have an edge by all aspects being equal, that’s a potential benefit to you. 

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