While the Coronavirus outbreak has had a huge impact on sports, there are parts of the world where COVID-19 has yet to fully reach. In those areas, some sport has continued and from a betting perspective, there are options for those who want to check them out.
From soccer to ice hockey and many in between, there are leagues and competitions still being played and here is our guide as to what is available.
Soccer Carries On
In Europe, there is much talk about the Belarusian Premier League which is the only division on the continent to continue through April. Many football fans have even adopted their own favourite team and started to follow the division with great interest.
Those who watch European football closely may well be familiar with BATE Borisov – a force in Belarusian soccer and a team who regularly compete in the Champions League. BATE are among the sides covered by sportsbooks including PowerPlay who has odds for matches in the league and the domestic cup.
Outside of Belarus, soccer is also taking place in Tajikistan and Nicaragua. The leagues are the main focus inside those countries and most of our recommended sportsbooks have them covered while Bet365 are among those who are quoting markets for the Nicaraguan youth league.
North American Favorites
Missing your NBA and NHL games? We all are and while the action from elsewhere may not be quite as thrilling, there are global markets for both basketball and hockey right now. In terms of the hoops, the sole representative from around the world at the moment is Taiwan. Some sportsbooks will list it as Chinese Taipei but students of geography will know that this is one and the same.
The Super Basketball League (SBL) is the big competition here and there is a good choice of markets. Not all of our recommended sportsbooks get behind this but there are options from 888Sport and bet365 who list a wide range of props for SBL matches.
For ice hockey, the first destination is Europe where Russian teams continue to play on the rink. Canadian fans may already be familiar with a country who provides one the biggest challenges at the World Championships and the Olympics.
Alongside those sides from Russia, a smaller selection of additional nations supply teams for the Kontinental Hockey League. The KHL is, for most fans, the biggest Ice Hockey division outside of the NHL and there are some good options from Sports Interaction and PowerPlay amongst other sportsbooks.
There is no American Football being played at the moment but we can head back to Nicaragua for some baseball. This is a popular sport in the country and along with domestic football, the Nicaraguan Professional Baseball League continues to press forward. This is a more niche option for the sportsbooks but players can check our list of recommendations for some markets.
It isn’t all about core sports and there are a number of events taking place where Coronavirus has had little impact. In recent days, there has been table tennis in the Ukraine and horse racing in Japan amongst many others. We’re clearly seeing where the remaining sport is taking place so we can switch our attention to those regions.
Russia also continues to provide markets and table tennis is another sport that carries on in the largest country in Europe. The Moscow ProLiga is active and once again, bet365 has an extensive set of result and prop bets available.
Volleyball is also represented and there are a number of countries still running their domestic leagues. Look out for competitions in Russia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
What an Exhibition
While most parts of the world cannot play sports in times of social distancing, some events are looking to provide innovative solutions. There have been proposed exhibition matches in certain sports and that could give fans some live action to look forward to. We’re already seeing an event called the PDC Darts at Home Exhibition which features some of the best throwers in the sport including Nathan Aspinall, Stephen Bunting and America’s Steve Beaton.
Staying with the world of darts, there has been talk of the great Phil Taylor coming out of retirement to take on his old rival Raymond Van Barneveld. Meanwhile, golf is promising to bring us a rematch between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson who took on their first personal battle in November 2018.
Nobody seems quite sure how this will work: Both sports are quite solitary and without the need for multiple players on a team, they could feasibly work around the question of social distancing. Alternatively, there is a possibility that both exhibition matches could take place at different venues with two sets of camera coverage working on each.
Those issues need to be resolved before anything takes place but Taylor v Van Barneveld and Woods v Mickelson could happen quite quickly once things have been agreed. Some sportsbooks even put up a tentative Tiger v Phil market at the start of April and while that came down fairly quickly, the operators will be swift to react once the dates and other details have been sorted.
Those are potential options for the future but while that fine tuning takes place, there are a number of sports still in progress that can provide betting markets against a quiet overall landscape.