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MLB, Marlins hope to manage coronavirus outbreak

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

July 27, 2020 10:34 PM

You get a sense that Major League Baseball is wary of potential disasters awaiting its delayed start of the 2020 season. Monday night, commissioner Rob Manfred said “I don’t put this in the nightmare category,” when describing the multi-player outbreak on the Miami Marlins over the first weekend of action.

What else could have been a nightmare scenario that quickly? What was MLB thinking could be worse than 11 players and two coaches one team testing positive 72 hours into its season?!

It’s true that the sport itself is reasonably well-protected from an immediate shutdown. Expanded rosters can provide replacements for inflected players. Workarounds can be implemented if one team has to stop playing or if it infects a second team and BOTH have to stop playing. And what is essentially a “three mini-league” scheduling format creates a firewall around each set of 10 teams. Heaven forbid, if the “East” has to shut down, the “Central” and “West” can continue. 

What’s worrisome for MLB’s restart, and hopes for upcoming college and pro football seasons, is that Miami’s mess may be the start of nationwide containment problems for team sports with large rosters playing outside of bubbles. 

So far, Major League Soccer, the NBA and the WNBA have sustained safety in bubbles. The NHL is hoping to do the same beginning this week. Outside of bubbles? If Miami Marlins’ players can catch the virus in Atlanta (practice games) or Philadelphia, then something similar can happen anywhere. Saturation is deepening in the Midwest (particularly Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri, host to six MLB teams). California and Texas have been epicenters for weeks. Seven MLB teams play in those two states. 

Through 2020, city after city and country after country has believed a small initial outbreak could be contained. That small outbreak paled in comparison to what was to come. This next week of travel and game action will shed more light on the league-wide ability to keep players and staff healthy. And THAT will tell us something about what’s ahead for football teams with even bigger rosters and more in-practice and in-game physical contact. 

Immediate scheduling impact:

  • Miami postponed home games set for Monday and Tuesday night vs. Baltimore. If remaining players test negative, it’s hoped that Wednesday and Thursday games at Baltimore will be played. 
  • Philadelphia postponed its Monday night game vs. the New York Yankees to make sure Phillies’ players were testing negative after Sunday’s exposure to the Marlins. Test results will determine Tuesday’s game status. 

Tuesday night’s Yankees-Phillies game is currently scheduled to be part of a nationally televised twinbill on FS1. 

MLB TV Schedule Tuesday

Yankees at Phillies FS1 (Happ vs. Arrieta) 6:05 p.m. ET

LA Dodgers at Houston FS1 (Buehler vs. Valdez) 9:10 p.m. ET

Please confirm likely starting pitchers before placing any MLB bets this week.


Just two spots left in the quarterfinals. They’re up for grabs Tuesday night in an ESPN doubleheader. Here are overnight odds in kickoff order (“odds to advance” are from a global composite). Kickoff times eastern.

Columbus vs. Minnesota (8 p.m., ESPN)

Odds to Advance: Columbus -170, Minnesota plus 150

Three-way: Columbus plus 110, Minnesota plus 230, draw plus 270

Goal Line: Columbus -0.25 goals (-122), Minnesota plus 0.25 goals (even)

Over/Under: 2.75 goals (Over -103, Under -119) 

This winner will face San Jose in the quarterfinals. The Earthquakes beat Real Salt Lake 5-2 Monday night. 

Portland vs. Cincinnati (10:30 p.m., ESPN)

Odds to Advance: Portland -300, Cincinnati 240

Three-way: Portland -141, Cincinnati plus 352, draw plus 308

Goal Line: Portland -0.75 goals (-112), Cincinnati plus 0.75 goals (-109)

Over/Under: 2.75 goals (Over -108, Under -114) 

This winner will play NYFC in the quarterfinals, a 3-1 victor over Toronto this past Sunday. 


Even during normal seasons, betting markets in the WNBA have a tendency to chase reality before eventually catching up. Given the first two days in the “wubble,” it make take even longer in a short neutral court sprint. 

Six games played Saturday and Sunday missed the closing point spread by an average of 12.6 points per game. Half the slate missed by more than 15 points! Washington, Minnesota, and Atlanta all covered by double digits in upset wins.

After an off-day Monday, the league is back in action Tuesday night with this slate…

Tuesday WNBA

Washington vs. Connecticut (7 p.m.)

Los Angeles vs. Chicago (8 p.m.)

Minnesota vs. Seattle (CBS Sports Network, 10 p.m.)

Early point spreads hadn’t been posted as of publication deadlines. Oddsmakers are dreading their early-season battle with sharps in this particular sport. 


What was supposed to be a virtual coin flip in Thursday night’s much-anticipated restart has turned into an affair the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to win against their city rival Clippers. Given player absences for the Clips, the Lakers are now -4.5 at BetMGM. Here’s a look at the latest Thursday and Friday spreads and totals. 

Thursday NBA

New Orleans -1.5 vs. Utah, 220.5 (TNT, 6:30 p.m.)

Lakers -4.5 vs Clippers, 216.5 (TNT, 9 p.m.)

Friday NBA

Orlando -6.5 vs. Brooklyn, 211 (2:30 p.m.)

Portland -1.5 vs. Memphis, 222 (NBA Network, 4 p.m.)

Phoenix -7.5 vs. Washington, 225.5 (4 p.m.)

Milwaukee -4.5 vs. Boston, 217 (ESPN, 6:30 p.m.)

Sacramento -2.5 vs. San Antonio, 215 (8 p.m.)

Houston -1 vs. Dallas, 226 (ESPN, 9 p.m.)

Weekend highlights include Clippers/Pelicans (Saturday, ESPN, 6 p.m.), Lakers/Raptors (Saturday, ESPN, 8:30 p.m.), and Bucks/Rockets (Sunday, ABC, 8:30 p.m.)

As long as the bubbles hold, sports betting schedules are about to get VERY busy. 

Other Stories of Interest

*Regular VSiN guest David Purdum reports on baseball’s opening weekend betting boom (ESPN)

*Regular VSiN guest Doug Kezirian on why to avoid NBA bubble favorites (ESPN)

*Minnesota Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman tests positive (NBC Sports)

*How cancer survivor Bruce Arians will coach Bucs during pandemic (Tampa

*Lingering damage to covid sufferers (CSPAN-Washington Journal)

*Hong Kong bans restaurant dining in wake of new wave of virus (NY Post)

*Las Vegas bars to remain closed under governor’s orders (Nevada Independent)

VSiN Clips/Tweets on Betting Restarts

*Mitch Moss, Pauly Howard, and Matt Youmans look at a team that can score the LA Dodgers in the NL West (Follow the Money)

*Gill Alexander looks at MLB in-game betting angles created by an extra-innings rule change (A Numbers Game)

*Captain Jack Andrews tells Gill how having a DH in the NL might be exploited by bettors (A Numbers Game)

*Gill and Andy MacNeil evaluate which NHL teams are favored by the 2020 restart format (A Numbers Game)

*VSiN’s 2020 NHL Hockey Guide, put together by Andy MacNeil, is out now

*Patrick Meagher and Michael Lombardi discuss the NFL trade that sent Jamal Adams from the Jets to the Seahawks (Lombardi Line)

*Tom Byrne and JVT look at Thursday’s Lakers/Clippers game (The Edge)

*JVT analyzes the Miami Heat’s strengths and weaknesses (The Edge)

See you Wednesday for our next report. 

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