The English Premier League’s Project Restart will materialize for the public on June 17, and it might leave some of the teams in an uncomfortable position, but those are the consequences of having an unnatural break in the action. Of course, for BetAnySports customers, the wagering possibilities are real already (see below)
There are going to be clubs that have to play three games in seven days, because the quarters and semi-finals of the FA Cup are going to be played, and that has to be accommodated.
The EPL has approved “friendlies” for the teams, but of course, safety guidelines are going to have to be met as close-contact training has resumed. That includes keeping a proper physical distance, frequent testing for COVID-19, and a protocol that may require players to dress before matches so as not to create crowding in the locker room areas. There will also be travel limits – no team will travel more than 90 minutes, except in the case of Newcastle, which invariably has to go farther.
A measure that was just passed will allow teams to have nine substitute players on hand, up from seven, with the available substitutions in a match moving from three to five.
The testing is something that can keep a player out for a minimum of two weeks, in the event of a positive. That would mandate a 14-day absence, and some of that has to be served in isolation. After the fifth round of testing, there was one positive test result – from Tottenham, and that player will isolate. And on an overall basis, there have been just thirteen positive test results out of 5979 taken.
Here are the odds on the two June 17 English Premier League matches, as they are posted at BetAnySports – first, Arsenal at Manchester City:
Manchester City -266
Manchester City -1.5 (-105)
Arsenal +1.5 (-110)
Under 3.5 Goals -119
Over 3.5 Goals +104
And now Sheffield United at Aston Villa:
Sheffield Utd. +135
Aston Villa +222
Sheffield Utd. pick -146
Aston Villa pick +131
Under 2.5 Goals -121
Over 2.5 Goals +106
Not all the teams will have a “home field advantage,” as some of the matches have to be held at neutral locations. For example, Liverpool, which is so far ahead of the rest of the field that it needs only six points to clinch the title (for the 19th time, by the way), may have to do that when they play Newcastle. The concern on the part of EPL officials is that fans might be so celebratory about the end of Mike Ashley’s ownership tenure with the club (a deal with a Saudi group is imminent) that they may congregate outside the venue to the point where it is a safety hazard. Keep in mind that these games will be played “behind closed doors.”
In the event there is a delay at some point before the EPL season is slated to end (the target is July 25-26), due to an excess of positive tests or some other safety-related issue, that would probably cancel the balance of the campaign. In that particular instance, the standings would be determined by a formula based on points per game. The top would appear to be a foregone conclusion with Liverpool, but there are also the clubs that would be on course to be relegated, which is why there is a sizable constituency of teams that would like to eliminate that phase of things for this season. But it doesn’t look like they have enough support to get a measure passed.
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