Odds Say NFL Lockout Likely
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 2/8/2011
Will there be football next season? That’s the big question everyone’s asking now that the Super Bowl is over and done with. The collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and players expires March 3 and there’s still a wide gap in opinions to bridge.
As with most things in business, this is all about money. The league wants an 18-game regular season to boost revenues and it also wants a larger share of the revenue pie, which obviously the players have a problem with.
There will be plenty of lobbying by both sides on this issue in order to gain sympathy from the public. The owners will cry poor and argue that the players make too much money. The players will maintain that the NFL is wildly successful, so how can the owners be crying poor?
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So, what are the chances the two sides can get together and hammer out an agreement before a lockout? According to our odds makers at Bodog, not very good. If you think there will be a lockout on March 4, you’ll have to risk $300 to win $100. If you think a lockout will be avoided, a $100 bet will get you $200.
So far we’ve booked almost all the action on a lockout. Fans just don’t see how the owners and players will work something out in a month. Like most negotiations, this will be a game of chicken and no side will want to blink first. Besides, just because there’s a lockout on March 4 doesn’t mean that the 2011 season will be lost. The real deadline will come down to whenever it’s too late to play the first game. And there will be another deadline after that when it becomes too late to save the season.
With that in mind, we’ve made odds on how many games will be played next season. The favorite is 12 to 16 games at -150, followed by 9 to 12 (+175), 17 to 18 (+350) and 1 to 8 (+400).
I think the one thing that many fans might be mistaken about is that the owners would be insane to lock the players out. Yes, it would do some short-term damage to the league, but sports fans are a forgiving bunch. The last league to have a work stoppage was the NHL, which had to cancel the entire 2004-05 season before implanting a salary cap. Yes, it hurt the league’s image badly at the time, but the owners are undoubtedly better off today than they were before the lockout. There are still problem franchises but the healthy ones have never been healthier.
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