Despite the coronavirus-prompted postponement of the NBA season, future wagers and season-long bets are still action — for now.
Refunds on bets on teams to win the NBA championship and conference titles will not occur unless the season is canceled altogether. Season-long win totals and divisional-title wagers will void and merit refunds if the season is shortened from 82 games but will stand if all games are rescheduled.
That’s the standard protocol at Las Vegas sports books, though it’s important to double-check house rules or the information at the bottom of betting sheets at the casino where wagers were placed. Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk and oddsmaking at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, has drafted such fine print for nearly 30 years but can never remember it coming into play quite like this.
Sherman cited the “whenever played” rule to emphasize that no refunds would be made until the theoretical end of a shortened regular season or an official cancelation announcement. The procedure would apply to all teams, even ones that have already clinched their “over” or “under” season win totals.
Such teams include the Memphis Grizzlies, which has already eclipsed its preseason mark of 27.5 wins with a 32-33 record, and Golden State Warriors, guaranteed to fall below the 46.5 win-bar, with a current 15-50 record. Refunds, therefore, will either be a bad beat or stroke of luck for gamblers.
The NBA made the decision to suspend play Wednesday night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert reportedly tested positive for the virus. Utah’s game at Oklahoma City was called off right before its scheduled tip-off, as was a scheduled nightcap between the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans.
All wagers on those two contests, of course, will be refunded. Sports books hope those are the only bets where that will be necessary, but it all depends on how the NBA proceeds from here.