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MLS 2020 Tournament Could Prove Huge for Bookmakers

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:
Jun/24/2020

Major League Soccer (MLS) is looking to capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic by offering a tournament that takes place within the confines of Orlando and will run from July 8 through August 11 (the Final).  Daily and futures odds will be available at BetOnline here.

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For the first time in the existence of Major League Soccer, Gambling911.com has earmarked it as a major event status.

"This means that more than 60 percent of all games played during the regular season, the group stage in this case, will feature previews and predictions," remarked Payton O'Brien, Senior Editor of Gambling911.  "The Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final will receive extensive coverage, similar to that of March Madness."

The Group Stage will run from July 8 through the 23rd with the top two clubs from each group and four best third place finishers advancing to the quarterfinals. 

The Round of 16 and quarterfinals will take place July 25 through August 1.

The Semi-Finals take place August 5 or 6.

The Final will be played on August 11 with the time to be announced.

All 26 MLS clubs will be participating with all matches to take place in a bubble located in Orlando, Florida. 

The winner earns a 2021 Concacaf Champions League spot.

The World Cup-like tournament could prove especially appealing to a sports-starved US audience that has never quite fully embraced soccer.

Teams had played just two games to start the season when the league suspended play March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While in Florida, players will be sequestered in a resort and be subject to a rigorous testing protocol. Each team will have three group matches, played over 16 consecutive days with multiple games a day. Games will be played in the morning and the evening to avoid the heat.  

Players will be tested for COVID-19 before they leave for Orlando and when they arrive, as well as during the competition. Staffs will also be tested.

Commissioner Don Garber noted on a conference call with reporters Wednesday that it will be impossible to test everyone who might come in contact with players, like hotel staffs.  

“We do need to manage social distancing. We will have that in place. We will need to manage facemasks and other PPE. For anybody that is involved in this project, we will have sanitizing and other things like temperature checks and the like for those that are involved in hotels and involved in housekeeping and the like. But those are not our employees,” Garber said. “We’re confident, having gone through this protocol, both with our own infectious disease doctor but also in sharing that with the MLSPA’s infectious disease adviser, and also with the state authorities.” 

The Orlando resort is likely to incorporate rigorous testing of employees in light of an uptick in coronavirus cases occurring in Orlando the later part of June.

Teams began arriving in Orlando on Wednesday (June 24).

- Alistair Prescott, Gambling911.com

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