You don’t know what you’ve until it’s gone… the sentiment rings too true for sports fans and bettors. In a period that has seen live sport reduced to almost zero, one becomes excited and grateful for the return of any decent live sport, even if it isn’t one’s primary interest.
The hype and excitement around UFC 249 this past weekend is testament to the appreciation from fans and bettors. Finally, although maybe not a sport sharing the popularity of soccer globally or rugby locally, sports lovers had something competitive and high class to either watch or bet on.
And while I was disappointed in losing a small wager, calling Pettis to KO Cerrone, Saturday definitely didn’t disappoint in terms of quality viewing. The Gaethje triumph over Ferguson was brutal and hard fought, and delivered on all the pre-match hype as well as lining up with what most previews and predictions were saying. From a betting perspective, the quality of preview surrounding the UFC has really impressed me.
The early hours of Saturday morning were refreshing for a sports fan and bettor, such as myself, and luckily the live action is not halting completely as reports have now confirmed the return of both the Bundesliga and a domestically restructured New Zealand Super Rugby.
It was announced on Thursday by German Football League (Deutsche Fußball Liga), that the Bundesliga will return on the 16th of May, with the schedule picking up from match day 26. Pre-season, teams are set to be isolated in a hotel and players will then undergo at least two COVID-19 tests in the build-up to each match. The matches will resume in empty stadiums in a continuation of social distancing rules that outlaw big social gatherings. I’m excited to be able to return to feeling out soccer previews and wagering on the matches, even if the empty stadiums and social climate may bring a bit of a different dynamic to the games in the early stages
Returning too in empty stadiums will be the New Zealand Super Rugby sides from the 13th of June.
“The domestic competition will be called Super Rugby Aotearoa, involving the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders, allowing players four weeks to adequately prepare with contact training.
The competition will see the five Super Rugby clubs playing each other home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches every weekend at 5:05pm on Saturdays and 3:05pm on Sundays (New Zealand time).” – SA Rugby Magazine
This year’s Super Rugby, until it was bought to a premature end, was probably one of the hardest yet to predict. However, I showed decent returns, and I’m eager to get back to rugby as both a lover of the sport and someone who has enjoyed success this year when betting on it. Add to that the quality of the New Zealand conference. As enjoyable as the Sharks have been, and the Stormers at times this year, the New Zealanders have consistently been the most enjoyable sides to watch in Super Rugby.
While empty stadiums and restructured tournaments may not be normal, they indicate a return to and intent of normality. And though the sporting experience as a whole, across sports, will take a while to return, at least we are making movements towards being able to enjoy live action again.
Stay safe and remember to educate yourself before placing your bets! Now more than ever, you have the time to do so.