It can be recalled that the NBA, NHL, MLS, and MLB announced last week that they are suspending their respective seasons indefinitely due to the global coronavirus outbreak. It all began when Rudy Gobert of the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus last Wednesday. What followed was a domino of events that has left us with virtually no more sporting events right now.

Last Sunday, we got an idea of when we might see Sports Leagues in the United States resumed action after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that they are recommending an eight-week cancelation or postponement of gatherings of 50 or more people in the United States.

With this latest development, let’s take a look at which sports league will be the first to resume play. According to the sportsbooks, Major League Baseball will be the first league to come back As of 03/19/20 from the online betting site MyBookie, these are the odds for which sports league will resume play first:

League Odds
MLB +180
NBA +200
NHL +210
MLS +375

Gobert Tests Positive

The National Basketball Association was the first league to suspend its games. During their initial announcement, the NBA said that it would be suspending action for at least 30 days. The 30-day hiatus will be used to discuss whether the league can resume play and how it can do so. Commissioner Adam Silver assured the fans that the league has every intention of continuing the season if and when it becomes safe for all concerned. On Tuesday, the NBA held a call with its Board of Governors and heard from former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy who discussed the coronavirus. During the meeting, league governors were said to be hopeful that the league can return to action by July 1st

Major League Soccer also declared a 30-day suspension last March 12 shortly after the NBA made its announcement. The mover came after the MLS postponed its March 21 games which were supposed to be played in Seattle and San Jose, California due to the spread of the virus in those communities. Insiders are saying that the league is looking at rescheduling the games later in the season rather than playing in closed stadiums. The MLS season was just two weeks old when the suspension was declared hence it has the added flexibility to adjust its schedule.

NHL and MLB Followed Too

The National Hockey League suspended its game beginning last Thursday. In a statement, the league said that it would be “no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time” following news that Rudy Gobert of the NBA tested positive for COVID-19. One of the NHL’s options is to schedule the Stanley Cup playoffs into early July. When it was stopped, the NHL still had 189 games and 3 ½ weeks left in its regular-season schedule. There have only been two seasons in NHL history when the Stanley Cup was not awarded and these were during the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918-19 and 2004-05 when there was a labor lockout.

Major League Baseball followed after the NBA, NHL, MLS and the NCAA. Spring Training had already started in Florida when the suspension was declared. The MLB season was scheduled to begin on March 26, 2020, with all 30 teams playing on opening day. In its announcement, the MLB said it would be delaying its opening by at least two weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The major leagues had not seen a postponement of its openers since 1995 when the season was shortened from 162 games to 144 following a 7 ½ month labor strike that also caused the cancelation of the 1994 World Series.

Who Will Be Back First?

I’m not sure why the oddsmakers have put MLB on top of the odds board. I think it has something to do with the fact that they play on open fields, can play without an audience, and that the players are positioned at a distance on the baseball field. I’m not sure. As far as the NHL is concerned, commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Monday that players can return to their off-season homes, even in Europe, while the league is in a pause. He also added that he was unsure if and when the league will return to action. Meanwhile, the MLS has been mum about the issue.

This isn’t something that can be easily predicted because there is no telling when this pandemic will end. But if you look at the four leagues in the odds board, I have faith that the NBA will be returning ahead of the others.

Sure the league already has seven players confirmed to have been infected by the COVID-19 virus but because they have tested possible teams and players already and the fact that the rest have started individual quarantine earlier, then they should be the first league that will be “cleansed”. The NBA has always been open to playing in closed venues so once the restrictions are lifted, I think they have the best chance of restarting their season.

I also believe that Adam Silver is the most decisive and intelligent professional sports commissioner in the United States. He was decisive in calling a sudden halt to a season but he’s also one of the most innovative commissioners who think out of the box. At +250, I’ll put my hard-earned money on Adam Silver and the NBA.

Prediction: NBA

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