Thursday, 9 July 2020

NFL Facemask Rule Update - Wear One

With the American Football seasons (College and pro) getting closer by the day, and the number of new cases in the US continuing to climb every day, the question of if and how the seasons will be played out continues to be uncertain.

At the College level, one Division 1 Conference (read this post for a primer on how College Football is structured) - the Ivy League - has said there will be no sports played by any of its members until at least 2021.

Most readers might not care too much, but College Football is the only sport that generates profits at most universities, and so the knock-on effect to other sports teams of losing a season is likely to be significant. 

As for the NFL, it's still not certain whether fans will be allowed to attend, but it seems certain that if they are, the number will be significantly reduced. The Green Bay Packers announced last week that face masks would be mandatory, and that the stadium's seating capacity would be significantly reduced, while the Baltimore Ravens announced yesterday that fewer than 20% of seats would be filled with the limit set to 14,000. 

Crowd noise used to be considered a key factor in the home advantage in the NFL, which behind the NBA, is the second strongest in US sports, but studies have proven this not to be the case. Last season, a record low 52% of regular season games were won by the Home side, which as readers will know, helped to boost the profits from the Small Road Dogs System.
Reduced crowds or empty stadiums will probably result in less value on the Road teams so this long-term cash generator may be in for a tough season, if indeed any season actually takes place.

The most common line for a Road team is +3 points, but strangely while this has been profitable long-term (55% ATS since the current league format was established in 2002), this specific line hasn't been profitable since 2014. 
Pre-season games are only five weeks away, and only a few days after the EFL Championship Play-off game, presumably at Wembley but with no fans allowed it seems like any neutral venue would suffice. 

Meanwhile the top two flights of English football click off their remaining games one at a time, as they do in Spain and Italy. The Championship relegation battle has been made a little more interesting with the possible 12 point deduction facing Wigan Athletic, but with matches against teams in 21st, 22nd and 23rd place to come (Charlton Athletic, Hull City and Barnsley) they can save themselves, although that might not be what the new owners want with rumours flying that they have had a sizable bet on the team being relegated.

From 200%:
In the video, a covertly videoed Rick Parry, the chair of the EFL, seems to be recorded saying that there is a rumour that this is happening because the owners of the club, who own casinos in the Philippines, have a large bet on Wigan being relegated at the end of this season. You can’t see a face in the video and it’s only a short clip so there’s no context given to the conversation that was being held, so for some time there was considerable conjecture that the video might have been faked, but the EFL did confirm in a statement last night that the person talking in the video was indeed Parry.
Wigan are currently third favourites and odds-on to go down. Barnsley looked doomed with their three other games being against Leeds United, Brentford and Nottingham Forest, currently in 2nd, 3rd and 5th places respectively.

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