There has never been an official forfeit in NFL history. It looked for a while like we might get one with the Tennessee Titans.
The NFL had threatened forfeiture of games if there were COVID-19 protocol violations. Reports said the Titans were having informal workouts after positive tests and the NFL saying they couldn’t gather. The NFL waited until Tuesday night to play, Tennessee was clear of any more positive tests, and they played (and beat) the Buffalo Bills. The NFL never said what would have happened if the game couldn’t be played, but a forfeiture was likely an option.
We’re not even a third of the way into this odd season, and there’s a chance we get a forfeiture or cancellation of a game this season. What happens to win total bets if games are canceled or forfeited? It’s not a question we’ve had to ask about the NFL before.
Forfeits wouldn’t count as wins
Per Elisa Richardson, head of communications and public relations at BetMGM, according to the house rules, teams must play all scheduled games for the bets in the season win total markets to be honored. NFL teams would have to get to 16 games, and if they don’t, season win total bets would be refunded. Even though a forfeiture would technically count as a win, it wouldn’t for your bet.
However, BetMGM is going to look at all future bets on a case-by-case basis, and Richardson said bettors wouldn’t be disadvantaged if there’s a cancellation that doesn’t affect the wager.
If a bet is already clinched despite the canceled game(s), it will be honored at BetMGM. For example, if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 11-4 and have a game canceled, bets on over 10 wins will be honored.
In other words, you don’t have to worry that your New York Jets under 6 wins ticket will be voided due to a canceled game.
Will future bets be affected this season?
There was a precedent in MLB. BetMGM had the disclaimer for MLB season win total bets this year: Must play 60 regular-season games for action. The St. Louis Cardinals, who were hit hard by a COVID-19 outbreak, played only 58 games.
However, the Cardinals’ win total was 32.5, and they went 30-28. St. Louis could not have reached 33 wins even if they played the final two games that were postponed. Under 32.5 bets were honored.
There is a lot of worry about what the shuffling in the NFL season will mean, for fantasy leagues or if the Super Bowl will be pushed back or how the NFL will try to get in all 256 regular-season games if there is a game canceled late in the season.
NFL future bets could be affected, too, depending on each case. It’s just another part of the topsy-turvy 2020 season.
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