April is normally a busy month for sports and supplies many opportunities for sports wagering via one or more of Australia’s online bookmakers.
In April of 2019, we wrote of the AFL being in full swing, with enough games completed to provide some sense of how the season would play out. Ditto the NRL.
Just about every major sports code in the world had games being played. Soccer, cricket, basketball, golf, motor racing, you name it.
April of 2020 is a different matter.
The NBA is closed for business. The MLB is delaying the start of the 2020 season. The NRL and AFL have both called time and it is difficult to envision the future where both codes may not resume this year.
A simple list of all the codes and events that have been postponed or cancelled outright would exceed the list we typically devote to informing punters of what to anticipate in the month ahead.
The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally altered the sports scene as the majority of the world has determined that large groups, such as those that attend sports and racing events, are to be avoided in every possible instance.
While for most, the Covid-19 virus presents little threat to life, the virus is capable of such rapid spread and is so contagious that there seemed little choice other than to shut almost everything down.
It would appear that while seasonal influenza might annually take more lives than Covid-19 will, there is at least some defense from the flu via inoculation.
Esports, at least those that can be played remotely, will continue, but without the packed arenas that are usually seen for the big events. There are plenty of markets to be found in this explosive code.
The other remaining beacon, for the moment at least, is Australian Thoroughbred racing.
Autumn racing carnivals in Sydney are carrying on for the moment, but the situation remains fluid and as of late, could be shut down pending the outcome of testing on a jockey who came into contact with a person who later tested positive for coronavirus.
Queensland has already cancelled its winter carnival.
If the other tracks can stay open, at least we will have racing.
April is a big month at Randwick in Sydney. There are 10 Group 1 races held there during April, along with plenty of Group 2 and Group 3 races.
There is good racing scheduled for Western Australia’s Ascot Racecourse, Morphettville in South Australia and a bit at Caulfield, but if ever there was a month where waiting until the last possible moment to plonk, April of 2020 is that month.
The same could be said to any punters who like to wager on the international racing markets. It looks, based on bookie websites that some racing is going ahead, but that could change and as has been the case with other codes, there is seldom much advance notice of a meeting abandonment.
Domestic and international greyhound racing seems to be business as usual, although we seldom pay much heed to the dogs.
Same with harness, but those punters who follow those two codes might still find some markets open and some races jumping.
It is surreal to visit a bookie website, and where the big codes are typically prominently displayed, to find normally more obscure markets taking centre stage.
On one site, we clicked on Australian Rules and saw only a notice informing us, “No events currently available, please check back shortly.”
When we clicked on the link for cricket, the only thing posted was Futures/Outrights and while the Ashes market is still open for wagering, the series does not start until November and no one can offer any assurance that it will actually be held.
With a little diligence and a lot of caution, April can be okay for punters who want to find markets on which to wager, but the primary focus right now should be on containing the spread of Covid-19, something that makes sports, racing and wagering pale by comparison.
Everyone stay safe. Hopefully, some normalcy may return by May, but we wouldn’t bet on it for any odds.