It took what seemed like an eternity for MLB team owners and players to reach an agreement on how to get the 2020 season going and, finally, the games started last Thursday. As the second major sports league in the U.S. to see its players get back in uniform (MLS was the first), it was a reason for sports fans everywhere to rejoice. The sudden surge in happiness may be short-lived, thanks to a potential COVID-19 outbreak in baseball, but the weekend proved to be highly lucrative for fans, as well as sportsbooks. Online sports gambling operator Bodog saw a lot of success this past weekend, most of which was provided by MLB wagers.
MLB gamblers gave Bodog 55.97% of its action over the weekend, followed by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in a distant second with just 11.79%. Soccer was once again a strong performer, providing just over 15% of the wagers between MLS, Italy Serie A and the English Premier League. Also making the top ten were golf, with the 3M Open, table tennis, the NFL 2020 Sims league and basketball.
As far as individual events go, the 3M Open captured the most with 16.56%. Michael Thompson took the victory with a 4-under-67 performance that allowed him to win by two strokes ahead of Adam Long. It was his second PGA Tour victory and came seven years after his first. Thompson was one of the favorites to win, and had odds listed at +400 going into the contest.
The rest of the action among the top ten events all centered on MLB, with the exception of the UFC fight between Robert Whittaker and Darren Till. The game between the San Francisco Giants and the LA Dodgers attracted 22.22% of the wagers, with the New York Yankees-Washington Nationals game a close second at 12.15%. The Giants and the Dodgers played four games and split the wins down the middle. The Yankees won two of the three games to start the season strong, but were forced to call off their Monday night game against the Philadelphia Phillies because of a COVID-19 threat after the Phillies took on the Miami Marlins – 11 players and two staff members with the franchise have tested positive for the coronavirus.
When Whittaker and Till met in Abu Dhabi for the Main Event of UFC Fight Night this past Saturday, Whittaker was the favorite to win. Gamblers began to cringe, though, when Till dropped him during Round 1. That would be the closest Whittaker would get to losing, and he rallied in almost all remaining rounds to win by decision after Round 5.
It will be interesting to see how this week progresses for major sports. There is a lot of concern that MLB might have to call off a few games, but the NBA Bubble is about to get going on July 30. Right after, on August 1, NHL hockey will be back, as well, and sportsbooks – as well as sports fans – can only keep watching day by day to see how things play out.